Cedar Cove, a non-profit organization located in Louisburg, Kansas, is dedicated to rescuing and caring for endangered big cats, including tigers, lions, leopards and more. Photo courtesy Cedar Cove.
You don't have to go on a wild goose chase to find great local places to see, touch and learn about animals. You can find animals of all kinds from habitats all over the world—including farms, safaris, oceans, and more — right in your own backyard! Take a walk on the wild side and visit one of these top destinations with your young animal lover.
Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area and Nature Center This 1,071-acre conservation area is mostly made up of forests, but it also encompasses restored prairies and woodlands, ponds, creeks, hiking trails, viewing decks and bridges. It offers an indoor wildlife viewing room, a 3,000-gallon aquarium, butterfly and hummingbird gardens, and more. The Nature Center is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. The conservation area is open daily from 7 a.m.-8 p.m.
Cedar Cove Feline Sanctuary and Educational Center You don't have to travel far to see exotic big cats up close. Cedar Cove, a non-profit organization located in Louisburg, Kansas, is dedicated to rescuing and caring for endangered big cats, including tigers, lions, leopards and more. Please allow an hour for your visit, as an educated guide will take you on a tour and teach you about each animal. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and children ages 4-12, and free for children ages 3 and under. Cedar Cove is open Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Weekday private tours are by appointment only.
Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead Deanna Rose provides the charm of the farm in a city setting. The 12-acre farmstead has farm animals; birds of prey; flower, vegetable, and butterfly gardens; a fishing pond; numerous playgrounds; a mining camp; pony rides; and horse-drawn wagon rides. Be sure to bring quarters so children can bottle- or hand-feed animals. The farm is open April 1-Oct. 31. Admission is $2 per person, or free for Friends of the Farmstead members (free general admission is also offered 2-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday). Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Lakeside Nature Center Learn about local wildlife at Lakeside Nature Center, including birds of prey, snakes, rabbits, turtles and more. This large, free nature center located in Swope Park is owned and managed by KC Parks. Pack a picnic and explore both indoors and outside, as the center also features nature trails. Lakeside offers wildlife classes, special programs, conservation activities and birthday parties.
Sea Life Kansas City Aquarium Kansas City may be hours away from the ocean, but you don't even have to leave the city to see marine life up close! Sea Life, a 28,000-square-foot indoor aquarium located in Crown Center, lets you see see thousands of sea creatures, including sharks, octopuses, rays, seahorses, turtles and jellyfish. Admission at the door is $20 for adults, $16 for children, and free for age 2 and under. Ticket discounts are available when purchased online.
Kansas City Zoo Kansas City Zoo is home to more than 1,300 animals and is open year-round. The zoo is separated into five areas: Africa, Australia, KidZone, Tiger Trail, and The Valley. There are many ways to travel around the zoo, including by foot, by train, by boat, by trams, or by the African Sky Safari. The zoo is open weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Daily admission is $14.50 for adults ages 12 and older, $13.50 for seniors ages 55 and older, $11.50 for children ages 3-11, and free for ages 2 and under. Discounts are available for residents of Jackson and Clay counties.
Tina Klugman moved to Kansas City after graduating from the University of Central Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2001. Klugman soon fell in love with the city, and enjoys exploring it with her husband, son and twin daughters. Now a resident of Overland Park, Klugman is a frequent contributor to several Kansas City-based magazines.
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