Retirement Homes, Retirement Location, Lists of Retirement Location Homes, best retirement locations, top 10 retirement locations.
Home | Discussion Forum | Tell a Friend | Text Size | Search | Member Area
 Join Us
Gain immediate access to all our articles, features, how-to's, discussion group, archives plus. Click here for details.
 About this Site
About this Site
Sample Articles
Subscribe Today
Check Lists & Forms
Discussion Forum
Most Popular
Our Forums
Site Map
Article Index
Change User Info
Contact Us
Tell a Friend
Text Size
Your Account
Our Guarantee
Privacy Policy
Terms of Use

This site powered by MemberGate
home | Locations | 12 of 12 Types of Iowa Recreational . . .

12 of 12 Types of Iowa Recreational Facilities--Zoos
Ivan Gillis
Printer-Friendly Format

Iowa Zoos

Blank Park ZooDes Moines

Blank Park Zoo is a 25-acre zoological park on the south side of Des Moines, Iowa near historic Fort Des Moines. The zoo is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is the only accredited zoo in Iowa. The mission of the Blank Park Zoo is to inspire an appreciation of the natural world through conservation, education and recreation.

Discovery Center

The Discovery Center is an entirely enclosed area you encounter first when you enter the zoo and contains many different types of animal and plant life. The Discovery Center itself is broken down into separate sections to create a unique viewing experience:

Meredith Alpine Exhibit

The Meredith Alpine Exhibit is the entrance exhibit to the Discovery Center. This exhibit takes you into the Alpine biome and let's you get face to face with some furry animals including the zoo's red pandas.

The Cave

This exhibit contains most of the zoos nocturnal animals and some enclosed reptile exhibits. It is home to animals such as Madagascar hissing cockroachemperor scorpionEgyptian fruit batboa constrictor, and Cuvier's dwarf caiman.

Free Range Aviary

The Free Range Aviary is home tropical forest dwelling birds such as pink pigeonmountain peacock-pheasantringed tealsilver-eared mesiascarlet-chested parrotpheasant pigeonGouldian finchsunbitterncommon emerald doveVictoria crowned pigeonspeckled mousebird, and mountain bamboo partridge. Within the aviary are some enclosed animal exhibits that are home to animals such as scarlet macaws and golden-headed lion tamarins.

Aquarium of the Discovery Center

The Aquarium of the Discovery Center includes numerous aquatic environments from all around the world. A waterfall feature can also be seen above the Amazon River Pool. The Amazon River Pool includes tropical river fish such as tambaqui (Pacu), redtail catfish, and silver arowana. The coral reef exhibit is home to species of aquatic life that lives in coral reefs around the world including coralsea anemoneclown triggerfishfoureye butterflyfishclownfishschooling bannerfishyellow tang, and Achilles tang. The Pacific Northwest Aquarium is home to species that are native to the cold waters off British Columbia, including white-spotted rose anemonegiant sea starpurple sea starkelp greenling.

African Boardwalk

The African Boardwalk takes visitors on an elevated trail through the African Savannah where visitors see native wildlife including reticulated giraffegrey crowned cranelesser kuduAnkole-Watusi cattleostrichaddax, and helmeted guineafowl. This exhibit is currently being overhauled by the new African exhibit Jamaa Kwa: Africa, which opened in spring 2013.

David Kruidenier Australia Adventure

Completed in July 2011, this Australian-themed section of the zoo brings you into the great Australian outback, which includes an Australian themed barn, and many Australian animals including double-wattled cassowarylaughing kookaburrared-necked wallabycommon peafowl, and emu. The Australian aviary within this exhibit is home to birds such as rainbow lorikeetred lorycattle egretchestnut tealpalm cockatoowoodland kingfisherNicobar pigeon, and budgerigar.

Kids' Kingdom

In late June 2007, the zoo, The Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute, and hundreds of volunteers from around Des Moines built the new Kids' Kingdom playground. It includes 5,600 sq ft (520 m2) of slides, mazes, monkey bars, sand pits, fossil digs and more. Another fun new attraction is the mining sluice. This area also features many "contact animals" that visitors can feed. Animals in this area include Nigerian dwarf goatsllamasminiature donkeyszebuMeishan pigsBrahma chickenskoi fishtrumpeter swans, and dromedary camels.

Tom and Jo Ghrist Big Cat Complex

The zoo's cat exhibit opened in 1999 with snow leopardsAmur tigers, and African lions. Recently, this exhibit got a facelift with new interactive displays and new viewing area rocks.[when?]

Hub Harbor Pinniped Pavilion

The new seal/sea lion pool opened March 17, 2012 after a year of reconstruction to the old pool. The exhibit now features two high rise viewing areas, as well as an underwater viewing area where you can see the zoo's two California sea lions and three harbor seals. The newest residents to the pool are Ross & Meru who came to the Blank Park Zoo from British Columbia. They were rescued off the coast of Canada when they were just five days old, severely malnurished and dehydrated. It was then up to the Vancouver Marine Mammal Rescue Center to nurse them back to health. After careful examination, the center declared that they were non-releasable due to health disabilities. They were then found a permanent home at the zoo after the reconstruction of Hub Harbor; where they now reside.

Miscellaneous animal exhibits

In addition to animals in the major exhibits, the zoo includes many individual exhibits that are home to animals including bald eaglesNorth American river ottersblack-tailed prairie dogsAldabra giant tortoisering-tailed lemursMagellanic penguinscommon squirrel monkeysking vultureswhite-handed gibbonsJapanese macaques.

Educational animals

The zoo also uses live animals in its educational outreach programs. These animals include European polecatAmerican alligatorMadagascar hissing cockroachtiger salamanderornate box turtlegopher tortoiseSenegal parrotmarine toad, and red-tailed hawk.

Conservation initiatives

Starting in 1997, The Blank Park Zoo Conservation Committee has raised funds for a wide variety of worldwide conservation projects. The primary projects of the Committee must be international, must focus on protecting animals or their natural ecosystems, and must also have some tie to the Blank Park Zoo. Money is collected through various means such as children's face painting, special event raffles, and coin donation buckets.

In 2012, the Conservation Committee participates in these projects:

·       Species Survival Plan - programs set up for endangered species in captivity.

·       The International Snow Leopard Trust - to protect the natural habitat of snow leopards.

·       Greater Prairie Chicken Project - helping restore & sustain Iowa's population of native chickens.

·       Giraffe Conservation Foundation - helping to promote and support giraffe conservation initiatives.

·       The Great Ape Trust - aimed to rescue orangutans and bonobos in areas of deforestation and poaching.

·       Panamanian Golden Frogs - aimed to sponsor a program to release captive frogs into the wild.

Storybook Hill Children's ZooDubuque[


Other Sites of Interest


San Marcos Memories—disappearing North County San Diego, Ca


Lake San Marcos—Listing of Vendors and Other Items of Interest to LSM residents


Silly Service—38 years of Federal Civil Service Overview (A book in progress)



Printer-Friendly Format