(UPDATED JUNE 2022) Being a huge fan of animals and wildlife, I’ve found over the past ten years that our country has amazing animal attractions. While I may not promote zoos and attractions of that nature from other countries due to negligent animal practices, I have had great experiences with the ones offered in the United States. As much as I love Kansas, I was over the moon at finding one of the coolest ones, Tanganyika, minutes from Wichita, Kansas. Here is how to have a fantastic day at Tanganyika Wildlife Park, with some unique animals and one-of-a-kind exclusive experiences to help.
About Tanganyika Wildlife Park
To say that Tanganyika Wildlife Park is a zoo would be a stretch. Instead, Tanganyika offers animal exhibits that bring you up close and personal with a carefully curated collection of impressive creatures. Some animals you will see at Tanganyika Wildlife Park include honey badgers, otters, lorikeets, bongo, mandrills, pygmy hippos, Southern black rhino, and African penguins. I think this was my first time seeing dwarf screaming hairy armadillos, which intrigued me by the name alone.
Tanganyika Wildlife Park is the brainchild of Jim Fouts, whose son Matt currently runs the family-owned zoo. Jim was heavily involved in exotic animal and big cat breeding before starting the zoo in 2008.
Walt Disney tried to sway Jim to help with his new Animal Kingdom theme park some twenty years ago. Guess what? He did! Animals are often traded, too, between Tanganyika and other world-class establishments around the country, which I found very interesting.
You can read more about their story on the website.
Encounters and Experiences Tickets
At Tanganyika, a typical day consists of selecting the animal encounter/adventures you wish to participate in. Prices are based on how many experiences you want to partake in or can fit into your day.
Single Day passes (or unlimited passes) are available, but I recommend the Best Day Bundle option to get the most out of your visit. For those interested in a season pass (available for all seasons), check out the Gold Pass option that gives you no feeding reservations required, early entry to the park, unlimited animal feedings, and Undercover Keepers Experiences. Check online for deep discounts.
Animals included for the feeding stations include lemurs, hippo, and rhino. ese animals include guinea pigs, bunnies, lorikeets, a pygmy hippo, ring-tail lemurs, giraffe, and African tortoise. Children two and under are free.
The park is open through the summer from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM, and fall (Sept. 7-Nov. 14) 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Admission for children under 3 is free.
The most popular encounter at Tanganyika Wildlife Park is the lemur feedings. Lemurs sit around their private island while guests, led one group at a time, offer them food. Park employees will capture your photo feeding the lemur and give you an access code to download your picture at no charge. Thumbs up for this bonus feature.
Another offering at the park is the Wildly Different Experiences. You can choose between swimming with penguins, interacting with sloths, feeding giraffes, painting with an animal, and more. Each requires an additional fee, but they are incredibly unique if you can afford the splurge.
A few monthly experiences to look forward to include prairie dog, otter, penguin, and red-ruffed lemur meet and greets. Behind the Scenes activities include an origins tour, giraffe and friends, and swimming with the penguins.
My Perfect Park Day
My day at Tanganyika started at the Behind-the-Scenes sloth exhibit with two friends. We were ushered into a warm building with encounter experts so we could feed and touch the sloth. My husband and I have houses in Panama, and one of our friends is an animal rescuer. She has several sloths that have been placed there by government officials because their moms were killed and they were unable to take care of themselves. I’m used to holding and feeding sloths, but never figured I would get to it in the US.
Chewy (Chewbacca) was adorable and the cutest sloth I had ever seen. He was friendly and seemed to love his home at Tanganyika. We also interacted with a hairy, playful, and wild armadillo.
Next, came feeding lettuce leaves to African tortoises and bunnies. When it was time to feed the Giraffes, I freaked out–their 12+ inch tongues literally wrapped around my hand to get the food out. Slobber aside; it was a cool experience! Giraffes are eating machines.
The 4,000-pound Indian rhino, Stacks, was my favorite animal encounter. We took turns tossing some food pellets into his mouth, though I missed more than he caught. Stacks isn’t forced to come up and eat from visitors, but if he chooses to, then it is your lucky day. I was also able to grab a quick pat on his head, something I never thought to be a possibility in a zoo. I was also able to grab a quick pat on his head, something I never thought to be a possibility in a zoo. Visitors are pretty safe as he is behind metal bars, but it is a personal experience. His skin was prickly and felt much different than I imagined.
Other Areas of Interest
Tanganyika Wildlife Park has fun animal trading badges. They easily clip to your clothing or purse/backpack, or you can purchase a lanyard to decorate them with.
Eat lunch or snacks at Luna’s Canteen, serving sandwiches, fries, snacks, chicken, and nachos. Kids meals are available, as well. Slushies, smoothies, sodas, and gourmet coffees will keep you well hydrated. Over at the Thirsty Sloth, enjoy local beer and a few frozen alcoholic beverages, such as sangria and margaritas. A third option is to bring your own food, which is a great offering from a park this size, but keep in mind no alcohol or glass bottles are allowed.
Take home souvenirs and zoo items (stuffed animals, bracelets, t-shirts, etc.) from the onsite gift shop. There is also an impressive selection of wildlife knick-knacks and even animal art, made by animals of Tanganyika as part of enrichment activities.
If you need to rent a wheelchair, stroller, electric scooter, or wagon, Tanganyika Wildlife Park has them, too.
Special Events & Happenings at Tanganyika
Are you looking for a special place to have a birthday party? My kids would have LOVED celebrating with a the cool arsenal of animals at Tanganyika, and you can, too. Fun activities include Wine & Yoga night for adults, summer safaris, and camp programs. School and scout groups are welcome. It is not surprising that Tanganyika is a popular wedding venue, as well.
Have A Fantastic Time!
From leashed porcupines walking around the park to a memorable Indian rhino feeding, a visit to Tanganyika is sure to please.
You’ll be glad to know that Tanganyika Wildlife Park is the only Kansas zoo award the coveted Humane Certified certification, a statement that makes me happy to support them.
Thanks to the Visit Wichita for hosting my visit to Tanganyika Wildlife Park. As with all of my posts, opinions and reviews are 100% mine and unbiased.
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