From Zoo to You

Lee Richardson Zoo is open year-round. One of the perks of living in Southwest Kansas is getting to experience all four seasons throughout the year. The running joke is that sometimes we experience winter, spring, summer, and fall all in the same week, or even the same day! With over 100 different species calling the zoo home, there’s always something to see no matter what season it is. Now that autumn has officially arrived, zoo guests may notice some seasonal changes during their next visit.


Guests will want to make sure to head towards the new habitat areas! Primate Forest – Lemurs! which is located between the Marie Osterbuhr Aviary and the alpaca habitat. Here you can visit three different species of lemurs, red-ruffed, black and white ruffed, and ring-tailed. You may find the lemurs basking out in the sun in their outdoor habitat or playing in their indoor day rooms during colder weather.


After visiting the lemurs, stop by our flock of Chilean flamingos at their new habitat located near the zoo’s drive through exit. If you don’t see the flamingos outside in the pond, stop by their barn to peek in on them enjoying their new indoor pool!


Zoo staff are mindful of each animal’s needs, and make sure animals native to warmer climates have the proper resources they need during cooler months. You may notice extra nesting material or heating elements on your next visit. If more extreme weather conditions are forecasted, some animals may be in their indoor shelters. All the animals in our care always have access to the appropriate food, water, shelter, and space.


During the last cold snap, the zoo’s tropical birds were moved out of their outdoor flight areas to a private area of zoo where they vacation in temperature-controlled enclosure during the warmer months. When warmer temperatures are consistent next spring, the birds will return for public viewing.


Just as some animals are adapted to warmer temperatures, others are better suited for life in cooler climates. In fact, just as many people prefer to be outside during cooler temperatures, so do many of our animal residents. During an autumn visit, you might notice some behaviors you may not have seen before during warmer months.


This is a great reason to visit the zoo throughout the year, your favorite animal might even surprise you with something new! An animal’s appearance may change with the season as well. Animals that live in colder climates can grow thicker fur coats; great examples of this adaptation can be seen with the Bactrian camels as well as the bison.


The Lee Richardson Zoo is open nearly every single day of the year, rain or shine, except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and a few special event days. Currently, the zoo is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the drive-through closing at 4 p.m. Zoo fans can always check our website for updates or zoo news at www.leerichardsonzoo.org, by visiting our Facebook Page, e-mailing us at zoo.education@gardencityks.us, or giving us a call at 620-276-1250.


Emily Sexson is the conservation education manager at Lee Richardson Zoo.