Whether it’s your first visit or your hundredth visit, there is always something new to explore or do at Lee Richardson Zoo.

Looking to discover new facts about our zoo residents or the folks that care for them? Then a Keeper Talk would be a fun activity for you. Keeper Talks provide inquisitive guests the opportunity to talk with the people who care for the animals that call Lee Richardson Zoo home. The first Keeper Talk each day is at 10 a.m. at Cat Canyon, and starting at 10:15 a.m., you'll get a chance to view a training session at the training wall with the big cats. These training sessions demonstrate how animals can work with their keepers to participate in their own health care.

If cats aren’t your interest, Keeper Talks occur throughout the day at other locations, as well. At 10:30 a.m., you can meet up with a keeper and an Ambassador Animal, usually only visible during educational programs, in the Nature Play Space. Otters more your speed? Then slide on over to the Kansas Waters habitat at noon for a keeper talk on the only aquatic mammal at Lee Richardson Zoo. Even if you’ve joined a Keeper Talk before, each one is unique, and you always have the chance of discovering something new.

If you’re looking to get closer to some of our zoo residents, then consider participating in an Animal Encounter. Encounters take place seasonally, weather and animals permitting. We are ready for guests to join us for the 2018 Animal Encounter season on both Saturdays and Sundays. Giraffe Encounters provide you the chance to purchase appropriate food to feed to one of our giraffes at $2 for one encounter or $5 for three from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Keep an eye on our website, leerichardsonzoo.org, or Facebook page for when times shift to 11 a.m. to noon, when weather becomes warmer and the giraffes prefer the cooler earlier time.

Looking to meet one of the heavyweights at the zoo? The Rhino Encounter is perfect for you. From 2:30 to 3 p.m., you can purchase appropriate food to feed to a black rhino for $5 for one encounter or $10 for three. These unique experiences are facilitated by staff or trained volunteers to ensure that both guests and animals stay safe while meeting up close. Proceeds from the purchase of encounters support the cost of caring for our amazing zoo residents and conservation efforts.

You can also discover a new perspective from the seat of a Safari Cycle as you pedal your way through Lee Richardson Zoo. Safari Cycles are available for rent from the Safari Shoppe at the walk-in entrance of the zoo. Single bench Safari Cycles are available at $20 an hour. These cycles hold up to three adults on the bench and two small children in the front basket seats. Need a little more room? You can rent the double bench cycle for $30 an hour. This medium-sized cycle will hold up to six adults on the benches and two small children in the front basket seats. That’s still not big enough? No worries, you can rent the triple bench cycle for $40 an hour. The largest cycle will hold up to nine adults on the benches and two small children in the front basket seats. Safari Cycles are a fun and unique way to explore the zoo as a group. Your group will start by biking through the drive-in entrance of the zoo and then following the roadway through the zoo. There are even special locations to secure the cycles along the way to allow your group to explore further on foot.

We even have great opportunities for our littlest guests to explore the zoo in a fun way. If you have little tykes who love animals, then Story Time at the zoo is perfect for you and your kids to explore. Every Monday at 10:30 a.m. in the Finnup Center for Conservation Education, pre-k children and their caregivers are welcome to join us for Story Time. At Story Time, we’ll read a book connected to nature, meet an Ambassador Animal or explore some biofacts, like horns or feathers, and make a fun craft. Story Time runs all year, unless the Finnup Center for Conservation Education is closed in observance of a holiday. Even our littlest guests can have an opportunity to discover a wild time at Lee Richardson Zoo.


Catie Policastro is an education specialist for Lee Richardson Zoo.