12 of 12 Types of Iowa Recreational Facilities--Zoos
Blank Park Zoo, Des 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.
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.
This exhibit contains most of the zoos nocturnal animals and some enclosed reptile exhibits. It is home to animals such as Madagascar hissing cockroach, emperor scorpion, Egyptian fruit bat, boa constrictor, and Cuvier's dwarf caiman.
Free Range Aviary
The Free Range Aviary is home tropical forest dwelling birds such as pink pigeon, mountain peacock-pheasant, ringed teal, silver-eared mesia, scarlet-chested parrot, pheasant pigeon, Gouldian finch, sunbittern, common emerald dove, Victoria crowned pigeon, speckled 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 coral, sea anemone, clown triggerfish, foureye butterflyfish, clownfish, schooling bannerfish, yellow 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 anemone, giant sea star, purple sea star, kelp greenling.
The African Boardwalk takes visitors on an elevated trail through the African Savannah where visitors see native wildlife including reticulated giraffe, grey crowned crane, lesser kudu, Ankole-Watusi cattle, ostrich, addax, 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 cassowary, laughing kookaburra, red-necked wallaby, common peafowl, and emu. The Australian aviary within this exhibit is home to birds such as rainbow lorikeet, red lory, cattle egret, chestnut teal, palm cockatoo, woodland kingfisher, Nicobar pigeon, and budgerigar.
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 goats, llamas, miniature donkeys, zebu, Meishan pigs, Brahma chickens, koi fish, trumpeter swans, and dromedary camels.
Tom and Jo Ghrist Big Cat Complex
The zoo's cat exhibit opened in 1999 with snow leopards, Amur 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 eagles, North American river otters, black-tailed prairie dogs, Aldabra giant tortoise, ring-tailed lemurs, Magellanic penguins, common squirrel monkeys, king vultures, white-handed gibbons, Japanese macaques.
The zoo also uses live animals in its educational outreach programs. These animals include European polecat, American alligator, Madagascar hissing cockroach, tiger salamander, ornate box turtle, gopher tortoise, Senegal parrot, marine toad, and red-tailed hawk.
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 Zoo, Dubuque[
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)