I’m a huge fan of wildlife! Though I visit zoos and animal refuge centers across the country, I was thrilled to find Tanganyika Wildlife, a hands-on animal lover’s dream attraction only minutes from Wichita, Kansas.
For those of you who don’t know, Wichita was my favorite US travel destination in 2017. I’m always sharing my love for the city to everyone I meet. I was so excited that I got to visit Wichita for a second time this year. I didn’t think I could love it any more than I already did, but then I found Tanganyika Wildlife Park.
Please have a look at my perfect day visiting Tanganyika Wildlife Park, exploring amazing animals.
About Tanganyika Wildlife Park
To say this 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 of the animals you will see at Tanganyika Wildlife Park include:
- Red River hogs
- Pygmy hippos
- Honey badgers
- Southern black rhino
- Snow leopards
- Red pandas
- African penguins
- 2-Toed sloth
- Ring-tailed lemurs
- White tigers
- Dwarf screaming hairy armadillos
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 himself even 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
At Tanganyika, a typical day consists of selecting the animal encounter/adventures that you wish to participate in. Prices are tiered based on how many experiences you want to partake in, or can fit into your day.
General admission tickets are available, as well as season passes, but I would recommend the encounter tickets. For those purchasing the season pass, check out the Frequent Feeder option that you can add for only $25, which gives you five passes with each visit to, of course, feed the animals. These animals include guinea pigs, bunnies, lorikeets, a pygmy hippo, ring-tail lemurs, giraffe, and African tortoise. Children two and under are 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. I give the Tanganyika a big thumbs up for this bonus feature.
Another type of offering at the park is the behind-the-scenes experiences. You can choose between swimming with penguins, interacting with sloths, feeding giraffes, and painting with an animal, plus more. Each requires an additional fee, but if you can afford the splurge, they are incredibly unique.
My Perfect Park Day
My day at Tanganyika started at the Behind-the-Scenes sloth exhibit. I was ushered into a warm building with encounter experts as well as two friends. We were able to feed and touch the sloth, an animal I’m familiar with since some of my friends in Panama have them. Chewy (Chewbacca) was adorable, the cutest sloth I’ve ever seen. He was friendly and seemed to love his home at Tanganyika. We also interacted with 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. Visitors are quite safe as he is behind metal bars of sorts, but it is a very 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.
Enjoy lunch or snacks at the onsite restaurants or from Kangabrew Coffee, located on the Tanganyika Wildlife Park property. We always appreciate park food, plus it is convenient.
An impressive gift shop is found at the front of the park with clothing, souvenirs, snacks, and plenty of wildlife knick-knacks. We loved the cute stuffed animals, available in nearly every style. Animal art (which is getting to be quite popular) is a great enrichment activity for the animals and a perfect souvenir for you to take home with you.
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 plethora of animals, and you can, too. Other fun activities include Wine & Yoga night for adults, summer safaris and camp programs, and seasonal favorites such as Pumpkins at the Park. Schools and scout groups are also welcome. It is not surprising that Tanganyika is a popular wedding venue, as well.
Don’t miss the baby section of the park, which varies from season to season.
Fun fact: Whenever you see Jack Hanna with his big cats, chances are they are on loan from Tanganyika. Their fantastic array of beautiful animals have been featured on The Today Show, Late Night with David Letterman, Fox & Friends, The Talk, National Geographic, Good Morning America, Anderson Cooper 360°, and many others. These cuties are TV stars!
Have A Fantastic Time!
From leashed porcupines walking around the park to a memorable Indian rhino feeding, Tanganyika will take your breath away. 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.
Need a hotel while you are visiting the park? We had an exceptional stay at Marriott’s Spring Hill Suites by the airport. This casual all-suite hotel has incredibly comfortable furniture, modern conveniences, free parking and Wifi, and an indoor pool/fitness center. Bonus, free breakfast is included.
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.