Tanganyika Wildlife Park is an interactive zoo that opened to the public in 2008. Through all those years, I have only been there once but for a wedding…… of two people, not animals.
So I have never experienced Tanganyika to its fullest but have heard so many opinions on the Wildlife Park from friends. The opinions have ranged from really fun to overpriced to not as fun; just all over the board. I figured it was time to go formulate an opinion for myself.
Tanganyika Wildlife Park is located at 1000 S Hawkins Ln in Goddard, KS.
|Tanganyika Wildlife Park|
Their park hours are as follows:
March 12th – 20th: Daily from 10:30 am to 5pm
Also open March 25th, 26th, & 27th
April, Sept, October & 1st Weekend of November
Friday, Saturday & Sunday 10:30am – 5:00pm
May through Labor Day
Daily 9:00am – 5:00pm
Be sure to Like them on Facebook to check for any updates on weather closing and/or discounts.
Adult admission is $16.99, Children ages 3-11 are $11.99, 2 and under are free, Seniors ages 60-89 are $14.99, Seniors 90 and up are free.
There are discounts available: 15% off with a military ID. If you Recycle, there’s a buy one get one free coupon for kids entry at the RecyleBank. I’m sure there are others out there as well.
Thanks to a co-worker who gave me a heads up on the RecyleBank coupon, I was able to take two of my nieces, Bella and Cylee, for the price of one over the weekend.
As I mentioned earlier this is an interactive zoo, there are hands-on exhibits where you can feed certain animals, pet them, or simply visit them. These exhibits do cost extra with tokens. Some experiences like riding a camel is 5 tokens (the equivalent of $5 since each token is a dollar). There are other exhibits like feeding the Giraffes, Rhinos, Hippos, etc.
In my opinion, it makes NO sense to avoid the interactive exhibits especially if you’re with kids. Tanganyika offers passes so you don’t have to deal with buying tokens. You can buy a $15 Value Pass that allows you to see all the exhibits and feed each animal a certain number of times and one visit per premium exhibit or spend $25 for an All Access Pass for unlimited feedings and one visit per premium exhibit.
I purchased two Value Passes for the girls since I knew they would constantly hassle me for tokens to partake in all the feedings because they think money is just pouring from my pockets.
So with the coupon, my entry for two kids and myself along with two Value Passes was just under $70. Yes, that made for an expensive day compared to a visit to the Sedgwick County Zoo but I had to keep in mind that Tanganyika Wildlife Park is a privately funded entity. They get no support from the city. So it’s basically like our public schools but worse!
Upon paying and getting bracelets for the girls, we were on our way for an interactive morning of fun!
After feeding the Giraffes, we went to wait in line for the Rhino feeding which was a Premium Exhibit.
The girls were a little scared of the Rhino. They are definitely an odd looking creature once you get really close up to it.
While both of the girls fed the Rhino, only one of them pet the nose. She said, “It was a really weird feeling, like rubbery.” My other niece said, “Ewwww Gross!!!”
Do keep in mind there is a schedule to certain feedings like the Hippo and Rhino. When you arrive, the people at the ticket counter will give you that schedule. Those feedings usually run 30 minutes. You will want to get to each line early because those lines can get along and you never know how the animals will react. When we were in line, the Rhino got tired of eating and started walking around so we had to wait for her to come back.
Next up on our visit was the Parrots.
You’re given these little cups with food that looks like green salsa to feed the Parrots. The Parrots were really high up so I had to pick each girl up to feed them. There were some that were having none of it while others just sipped away. Be careful though cause if those Parrots get your fingers, it will hurt!
After the Parrots, we were off to visit the Bunnies and Tortoises. The Value Pass gave the girls a total of four feedings to both animals. The Bunnies got carrots while the Tortoises got lettuce. The food was placed on a clothespin which you held to feed the animals. With the Bunnies, you got to go into their little playpen and feed and pet the bunnies. It was a similar experience with the Tortoises. You were told you could only pet their shells and avoid their faces. This was important because we saw a little girl try to touch the Tortoises face and get bit.
Admittedly, this was one of the girls favorite experiences. Bella just loved the Bunnies while Cylee loved the Tortoises. I was really amazed by the Tortoises; those things moved much quicker than I thought.
Following those feeds, we took a quick break. For those looking to save a little money, you can bring in your own food and drink; no bottles though. They have benches and tables scattered throughout the park to sit and dine. If you don’t bring your own food, they do have places to buy meals, snacks, and drinks.
Post snacks, we were right by the Camel Ride and got in line. This was also a premium exhibit. Since I didn’t have a Value Pass, I had to pay $5 to ride the Camels with the girls because they thought it would be funny for me to hop along. No pun intended but it was a bumpy ride. It’s a small short couple minute ride but now the girls can go back to school and tell their friends they got to ride a camel. I can’t wait to go back to work to do the same………………
Close by the Camel Rides were the Kangaroos which Bella couldn’t stop asking about all morning.
There were plenty of Kangaroos at the exhibit. Some were just chilling along the fence, some were really big and close to my height if they stood upright. We were told we could go behind the Kangaroo and pet them from behind.
Cylee wanted to know if they could go inside their pouch, I told her I didn’t have enough money to pay for that premium experience.
After walking by and visiting the Goats, we quickly stopped by to visit the Penguins and then headed off to Lemur Island.
Due to law changes, Lemur Island has changed. You’re no longer allowed to touch them; you can only feed them. Also since they were training the Lemurs, we weren’t allowed to take any pictures. Only the lady on staff was allowed to but with the Value Pass, you got a free picture as a keepsake.
The Hippo feeding was later in the day. By that point it was three hours into our day and the girls were getting exhausted.
Along with all the exhibits we saw, there were also porcupines, cheetahs, monkeys and a plethora of other animals I couldn’t even name if I saw them again.
We stopped by the Giraffe feeding one last time since it was right by the exit.
Of course the exit was through a gift shop, so I got to deal with the, “Can we buy that Uncle Eddy?” questions.
All in all, everybody had a great time at Tanganyika. Most of what I heard from my friends was true in the fact that it can be a pay to play type of deal. But I justified it because you’re really helping fund the whole zoo. Plus who am I to deny the girls a chance to get all interactive with the animals? I wouldn’t have had the heart to say no to them.
While we love the Sedgwick County Zoo, we also loved our time at Tanganyika Wildlife Park. For us, it’s probably those once a year type of things to do.
Cylee’s biggest gripe was “It’s soooo far away.” If it’s one thing Wichitans dislike, it’s a long drive. We packed overnight bags and sleeping bags just in case we didn’t make it back to the east side of Wichita in a decent hour. Some friends that lived out West also offered us a place to stay if needed; I have such generous friends. Still well worth the drive and the whole tank of gas it took.
If you have any concerns about going to Tanganyika, don’t. It’s a great time and worth the visit especially if you’ve never been.
The girls give it four thumbs up between them!
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