I’m not sure why, but we always start in the same direction every time we go. Once you get through the main entrance area you will find Nikita, a more than 700 pound polar bear swimming in his 144,000 gallon pool. All the kids line up at the glass as the bear swims toward them, plants all four feet against the glass and pushes himself up out of the water and backwards where he repeats the process again. Nikita is one of the more recent additions to the park. Sharing the entrance area is a couple of playful otters that can usually be found lounging on the tops of the rocks in their habitat.
If you go to the left you will enter the Asia section of the park where usually you will find orangutans, red pandas, a few bird species, and two tigers. The tigers and red pandas were about the only available exhibits out due to the cool weather. I am partial to the Asian statues that are scattered through this section of the park.
If you take children there is the KidZone where you will find the Discovery Barn which is the home of macaws, Prevost’s squirrels, ring-tailed lemurs, and squirrel monkeys. The kids can take a quick slide to get to the lower level. Outside are the llama, alpaca, and fallow deer that the kids can feed and pet. An endangered species carousel sits within eyeshot of the main entrance. The Carousel Café sits right across from the carousel and is one of the better places to eat at the zoo in my opinion.
The Zebra Tram will take you to Africa where a well landscaped path will lead you through four representations of different regions of Africa. Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda are all represented through this portion of the park.
Botswana is where the elephants usually are located but due to the recent natural death of the oldest elephant in the zoo, the elephants were not on exhibit. Also located here are the lesser flamingos, Chilean flamingos, and a few swans.
The only thing we were able to see in Kenya was the cheetahs. The weather was too cool for most of the other animals to be out.
Tanzania is perhaps my favorite part of the zoo as this is where the African lions and crocodiles are found. For the first time I was able to photograph the lions actually interacting instead of lying on some rocks behind some really thick glass. Usually there are giraffe and several other animals around but again, the cold weather had many off display.
During the summer season the Lake Nakuru boat takes visitors on a slow paced tour around the lagoon, bringing you closer to the zebra, giraffe and ostriches that usually populate the peninsula in the lagoon.
In 2011 the Sky Safari was added to the Africa section; however it was closed down during our visit.
Although the colder weather had many of the animals put away there was still enough to make it work the trip. It also made for less of a crowd so we were able to see things better than we ever have when we go during the summer. I would recommend that if you are ever in Kansas City stop by the Kansas City Zoological Park and see what they have added and will be adding in the future.