Kansas City Zoo

#10 in Best Things To Do in Kansas City
Kansas City Zoo picture
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Key Info

6800 Zoo Dr, Kansas City, MO 64132


Zoos and Aquariums Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
  • 3.0Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

The Kansas City Zoo opened in 1909 with a modest collection of animals: four lions, three monkeys, a fox, a wolf, a badger, a lynx, an eagle and some other birds. Since then, it has expanded to become one of the most respected zoos in the country, with exhibits ranging from the $15 million Helzberg Penguin Plaza to the interactive Stingray Bay to a chimpanzee habitat praised by Jane Goodall herself. Guests can also enjoy daily sea lion shows, zookeeper chats and elephant painting demonstrations, as well as safari boat rides across the zoo’s African Plains and overnight campouts in various exhibits for kids ages 6 and older. 

Recent visitors were impressed by the cleanliness of the zoo and the amount of exhibits throughout the property, but they warned that you should wear comfortable shoes. The 202-acre park requires a lot of walking, and you shouldn’t expect to see everything during your visit. Past zoogoers also recommend packing your own snacks and lunches if you plan to stay for most of the day, as the food in the park can be a bit expensive. 

The Kansas City Zoo is open from either 8 or 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays and either 8 or 9:30 a.m. to 4 or 5 p.m. on weekends (depending on the season). The zoo is closed three days a year: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission for visitors is free for kids ages 2 and younger; $13 for ages 3 to 11; $16 for ages 12 and older; and $15 for senior citizens. Tickets can be purchased online ahead of time, and a portion of the proceeds goes toward animal conservation programs. Visit the Kansas City Zoo website to learn more.

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Time to Spend
#1 Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art appeals to many kinds of visitors, such as little kids who appreciate the giant badminton birdie installations (four 18-foot shuttlecocks, to be exact) on the 22-acre lawn, or adults who enjoy the play of light in Caravaggio's "Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness." The art museum's permanent collection spans thousands of years, includes more than 35,000 pieces and features art from Europe, Asia and America. The museum also displays interesting architectural pieces like centuries-old furniture and stained glass windows, in addition to more modern paintings, prints and drawings, sculptures and photography. What's more, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art showcases different exhibitions every year across a variety of mediums; check the site for upcoming exhibits during your visit.

Visitors are consistently impressed with this museum, saying they could spend hours perusing the interesting art. Recent travelers called out the massive sculpture park for its host of unique installations and said the grounds were delightful to stroll on a nice day. Many said they also appreciated that there was no fee to browse this museum's extensive collection of works.

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Courtesy of Visit KC
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