While Andrew attended meetings for his district orientations, I had some time to explore Sioux Falls on my own. One afternoon I decided to check out the Great Plains Zoo, since I am a huge fan of zoos and Andrew really isn’t. It was a little weird to be a tourist on my own, but I grew to appreciate it as I could take all the time I wanted to watch certain animals.
It is quite easy to access the zoo, as it is just off of one of the main exits and then a quick turn down one other road. The price is a little steep for the size of the zoo, $12.75 for adults and $9.25 for youths, not counting tax. I paid around $15 a few years back to visit the zoo in Kansas City, and Kansas City was a much bigger zoo.
The zoo is split into four main sections: African Savannah near the back, Face to Face far in the center, Primates right out front, and the Asian Cat section to the side. The also have a sections dedicated to rare rhinos and a brand new fortress for the North American Bears.
The highlight of my time at the zoo was watching the snow monkeys, as there were several baby snow monkeys in the habitat. They were so adorable that I probably could have sat a their exhibit all afternoon, but knew I needed to move on. I did come back for one last visit at the end!
Before heading to the African Savannah, I visited this tiny Chinese Alligator and the Rheas.
I’m not sure if it’s because I visited in August after school had started, or for some other reason, but the African Savannah section was a bit of a let down. Many of the animals that were supposed to be in the exhibit were not out at all. But the African Gray Crowned Crane did give me a good show of his mating dance, which was pretty awesome to see!
After a bit of searching around various viewpoints for the Rare Rhino exhibit, I finally stumbled upon this big guy near the back!
My next stop was over to North America, where there was a large bison exhibit, and the new Black Bear Fortress. The bears were having lots of fun climbing.
Before making my way over to the great grizzly, I had some fun visiting both the Arctic and standard foxes. Most of the time when I visit zoos, I find the foxes are hiding in some log or hole, so it was nice to see them out and about.
The Grizzly Bears also gave me a great show and some great photo opportunities.
I didn’t have much luck spying a tiger, but I did get to take in a special exhibit of the Komodo Dragon that was there this summer. The zoo is supposed to have a train and concessions, but both appeared to be closed up during my visit. There also is a gift shop at the end that is hooked to the museum located on site as well. I’d seen enough just with the animals, so after browsing the gift shop I decided to head back to the hotel.
If you are looking for something fun to do in the Sioux Falls area, I recommend checking out the Great Plains Zoo, but I would not go out of my way to plan a trip there as there are many more zoos that offer more animals for a better price. However, I do think they’ve done the best they can with exhibits, given the small land area they have to work with.
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