Looking to have an animal adventure right in central Iowa? The Blank Park Zoo offer 22 acres of wildlife, animals and attractions and fun for all ages.
While I’m a Des Moines native originally, now that my family and I live several hours away, we don’t make it in to the Blank Park Zoo as often as we used to. It had been a couple years since we had been, and during our recent visit we were really pleasantly surprised by the improvements and updates they have made. While there is still lots of construction (watch their website for updates) everything is clean and neat and there’s been some great improvements to the park in recent years.
While not as large as the zoos in Omaha, St. Louis, or other major cities, the Blank Park Zoo is a nice small zoo when you’re looking for a couple hour activity a little closer to home. Many of the exhibits have recently been remodeled and are totally kid friendly and able to accommodate crowds and still have room for everyone to see. Our favorites were the Australian area where you could get up close and personal with many of the animals, the petting zoo, riding the train and feeding the giraffes. The staff is friendly and the kids thought it was cool that they had a few animals out in the park that they could pet and visit with.
The Blank Park Zoo is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.. Regular admission are $11/adult , $9/senior and $6/child. Children 2 and under are free. A Blank Park Zoo Family Membership is $89 annually and is worth considering if you’ll be going more than a couple times a year. Become a member and you’ll also get free or reduced-rate admission at over 160 zoos from around the country. Group discount rates are available by calling (515) 285-4722 and they also do special events including weddings and birthday parties.
How to Save When You Get There:
- Watch for Groupon deals, especially in the early spring. They’ve had offers on season passes and individual tickets.
- There is also a $1 off admission ticket here.
- If you’re going to go a couple times over the course of a year, consider a membership. You’ll get in for unlimited visits and also get free and reduced price admission to other zoos around the country.
What to See and Do:
- A few of the attractions do have a small additional charge. I’d recommend the train and feeding the giraffes which was a huge hit with my kids. Watch for a feeding schedule when you come into the park. Camel rides are also available.
- For the safety of the animals, no outside food or drink is allowed in the Zoo, but picnic grounds are available at Blank Park, just north of the parking lot.
- All exhibits are currently open except Pacific Reef (former jellyfish exhibit). Due to Rhino construction, giraffe will be on exhibit onSaturday & Sunday, but may be off exhibit on weekdays if construction is causing excessive noise or disturbance that may scare the animals (call 515-974-2501 to find out if giraffe will be on exhibit on a particular day).
- During warm weather (80 degrees and above), the snow leopards have access to their air conditioned holding and cannot be seen. Weather, minor maintenance or animal health issues may cause a change from day to day, so if you are coming to see a specific animal, call 515-974-2501 in advance to verify it is on exhibit.
For more information on the Blank Park Zoo visit www.blankparkzoo.com.
Disclosure: Our family visited this attraction at our own expense and no compensation was received for this review and all opinions expressed are our own. However we did use coupons and scored a great deal!