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Great Plains Zoo!

Our Mission: Creating connection and protecting our natural world. 

The Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History is a leader in conservation, education, and discovery in Sioux Falls! The Zoo’s collection includes tigers, giraffe, rhinos, zebras, and an award-winning snow monkey exhibit.  

Privacy Policy

The information contained on this web site is provided as a service by The Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History, and it is not intended to provide legal advice or analysis. Users with questions about the law should seek the advice of counsel or should consult state and local authorities for variations, amendments, updates or any other changes or modifications in local and state law. Local laws may differ from State laws.

Disclaimer of Warranty

YOUR USE OF THIS SITE IS AT YOUR SOLE RISK. THE SITE IS PROVIDED ON AN “AS IS” AND “AS AVAILABLE” BASIS. WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO RESTRICT OR TERMINATE YOUR ACCESS TO THE SITE OR ANY FEATURE OR PART THEREOF AT ANY TIME. THE GREAT PLAINS ZOO & DELBRIDGE MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS ANY AND ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES AS TO THE ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN, INCLUDING ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE REGARDING SUCH SUBJECT MATTER. IF YOU DOWNLOAD ANY MATERIAL FROM THIS SITE, YOU DO SO AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION AND RISK. YOU WILL BE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE TO YOUR COMPUTER SYSTEM OR LOSS OF DATA THAT RESULTS FROM THE DOWNLOAD OF ANY SUCH MATERIAL. NO ADVICE OR INFORMATION, WHETHER ORAL OR WRITTEN, OBTAINED BY YOU FROM THE GREAT PLAINS ZOO & DELBRIDGE MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY OR THROUGH OR FROM THE SITE SHALL CREATE ANY WARRANTY OF ANY KIND. ANY ATTEMPT BY ANY PERSON TO DELIBERATELY DOWNLOAD, COPY, ALTER OR IN ANY WAY, DUPLICATE ANY CONTENT APPEARING ON THIS WEB SITE, OR TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS WEB SITE, IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS AND SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, THE GREAT PLAINS ZOO & DELBRIDGE MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.

Limitation of Liability

TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED UNDER APPLICABLE LAW, YOU UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT NEITHER THE GREAT PLAINS ZOO & DELBRIDGE MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY NOR OR ANY OF ITS SUBSIDIARIES OR THIRD PARTY CONTENT PROVIDERS SHALL BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, PUNITIVE OR ANY OTHER DAMAGES RELATING TO OR RESULTING FROM YOUR USE OR INABILITY TO USE THIS SITE OR ANY OTHER SITE YOU ACCESS THROUGH A LINK FROM THIS SITE OR FROM ANY ACTIONS WE TAKE OR FAIL TO TAKE AS A RESULT OF ELECTRONIC MAIL MESSAGES YOU SEND US. THESE INCLUDE DAMAGES FOR ERRORS, OMISSIONS, INTERRUPTIONS, DEFECTS, DELAYS, COMPUTER VIRUSES, YOUR LOSS OF PROFITS, LOSS OF DATA, UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS TO AND ALTERATION OF YOUR TRANSMISSIONS AND DATA, AND OTHER TANGIBLE AND INTANGIBLE LOSSES. THIS LIMITATION APPLIES REGARDLESS OF WHETHER DAMAGES ARE CLAIMED UNDER THE TERMS OF A CONTRACT OR DUE TO NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER WE OR OUR REPRESENTATIVES HAVE BEEN NEGLIGENT OR ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.

Site Policy

This site is operated by The Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History. Throughout the site, the terms “greatplainszoo.org,” “GPZDM,?? “we,” “us,” and “our” refer to The Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History. When you use this site, you agree to the terms of service that follow. If you do not agree to these terms, please immediately cease use of this site.

Visitor Privacy

We are committed to protecting the privacy of visitors to this site. Accordingly, at this site we do not collect personally identifying information from users unless they provide it to us voluntarily and knowingly. When you visit our site, your browser automatically sends us an IP (Internet Protocol) address and certain other information (including the type of browser you use). We may use this IP address and other information to give you access to the site and otherwise administer the site. In certain parts of the site, we may ask you to provide us with your name or other information so that we can provide you with information you request. You are under no obligation to provide us with this information, but without it, we may not be able to provide you the service you request. The site also includes certain features that allow you to communicate with us by electronic mail or otherwise. If you choose to use our “Contact Us” feature, you will provide us your e-mail address and other information we may deem necessary in order to reply to your electronic mail message. You are responsible, if you choose to use these communication features, for providing personally identifying information to us with your e-mail message (such as your name or street address). When you provide any personally identifying information to us, you communicate that you are knowingly and voluntarily providing us the information. We will not use such information for marketing purposes, but we may respond to the electronic mail messages you send us and use such information for any other business purpose. We try to make sure that the personally identifying information you provide us remains private. We will not sell, rent, trade or otherwise disclose the personally identifying information you provide to anyone outside of the GPZDM, its affiliates, successors and our contractors providing services to us (but in that case information is disclosed only for purposes of providing those services) unless we are required by law or have a good faith basis for believing that you are in violation of these policies or federal, state or local laws. Please be aware, however, that it may be possible for others to read messages that you send over the Internet, so do not send by e-mail any information that you would like to keep confidential. You also should be aware that we collect certain usage information about our site, such as the number and frequency of visitors to certain parts of the site. This data is used only in the aggregate and does not include any personally identifying information. When you use the site, you consent to the transmission of your personally identifying information to us and to its use as described herein.

Other Information You Submit

If you use the communication features of this site to provide us with information other than personally identifying information, including suggestions about the site, product and advertising ideas, and any other such information, that information will belong to us and may be used, reproduced, modified, distributed and disclosed by us in any manner we choose, without paying compensation to you.

Links

This site includes links to other sites, some of them operated by affiliates of the GPZDM and some of them operated by other third parties. These links are provided as a convenience to you and as an additional avenue of access to the information contained therein. We have not reviewed all of the information on other sites and we are not responsible for the content of any other sites or any products or services that may be offered through other sites. Third party sites may contain information with which the GPZDM does or does not agree. Inclusion of links to other sites should not be viewed as an endorsement of the content of linked sites. Different terms and conditions may apply to your use of any linked sites.

Use of Material From This Site

This site (including all its contents) is the property of the GPZDM or its licensors and is protected by copyright, trademark, and other laws of the United States and other countries. We authorize you to browse through the site and print and download copies of material on the site for your personal, non-commercial use only, unless it is expressly stated otherwise, so long as you do not remove any copyright or other notices that appear on the material you print or download. You agree that you will not otherwise copy, display or transmit any material on the site in any manner or medium. You also agree not to modify, sell, broadcast or distribute any material on the site, including by uploading the material or otherwise making the material available online.

Trademarks

This site features trademarks and service marks and other logos that are the property of or are licensed to the GPZDM. The site may also include trademarks or service marks of third parties. All these trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners, and you agree not to use or display them in any manner without the prior written permission of the applicable trademark or service mark owner.

Jurisdiction

This site is operated in the United States. The laws of the South Dakota govern these terms and conditions and your use of the site, and you irrevocably consent to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts located in South Dakota for any action to enforce these terms and conditions. We recognize that it is possible for you to obtain access to this site from any jurisdiction in the world, but we have no practical ability to prevent such access. This site has been designed to comply with the laws of South Dakota and of the United States. If any material on this site, or your use of the site, is contrary to the laws of the place where you are when you access it, the site is not intended for you, and we ask you not to use the site. You are responsible for informing yourself of the laws of your jurisdiction and complying with them.

Change of Service

We reserve the right, at our complete discretion, to change these terms and conditions at any time by posting revised Terms on the site. It is your responsibility to check periodically for any changes we may make to these terms and conditions. Your continued use of this site following the posting of changes to these terms or other policies means you accept the changes.

ZooCamp Policy
 

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Registration cancellations must be made IN WRITING at least two weeks prior to the date of the event. Upon receipt of the cancellation, 75% of the fee will be returned. No refunds will be made two weeks prior to the event or after it has begun.

Authority to Photograph/Video

By registering a child up for ZooCamp classes, it is agreed you hereby give permission for the registered participant to be photographed and/or videotaped for future publications, promotional materials, or educational materials as appropriate.

Consent

By registering a child for ZooCamp, you hereby give consent for the registered participant to take part in GPZDM’s activity. It is agreed that you understand that he/she may touch zoo animals and, although closely supervised, there is risk of injury from animal contact. You agree you understand the risks inherent in these activities, and declare that you will not hold the GPZDM or its instructors, volunteers, or employees, the City of Sioux Falls, or the Department of Parks and Recreation responsible for any injury which may be suffered by the participant arising out of or in any way connected with this activity.

Community Partnerships

We rely on our corporate sponsors to help keep our Zoo a vital and integral part of our community, and a source of great pride for the entire Midwest region. These contributions help assist us in providing educational support for a variety of youth programming, supporting conservation of animals and their habitats, and enhancing the community we serve.


Supporting Partners
 

Sanford Health

In 2009, the Great Plains Zoo launched the nationally recognized ZooTV as part of an innovative partnership with Sanford Health.

This relationship allows the Zoo to conduct its mission of connecting kids with animals in even bigger and better ways – through ZooTV and ZooExpress. These programs reflect a $571,000 gift by Sanford to the Zoo over five years. When most people think of the Zoo, they think about taking the kids to see amazing animals. The Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History in Sioux Falls, SD is constantly thinking of how it can bring the Zoo to kids.

Hy-Vee

In 2009, the Great Plains Zoo received a $250,000 gift from Hy-Vee to transform the former Children’s Zoo into the colorful and engaging Hy-Vee Face-to-Face Farm. This dynamic area now features five times the number of animals, goat bridges, camel rides, fun signage, and 15-foot themed 3-D archways. In 2014, Hy-Vee extended their sponsorship of the Hy-Vee Face-to-Face Farm another four years. The $100,000 gift will move forward enhancements to the Farm, including a new roof for the Barn.

 

Sammons Financial Group

In 2015, a $100,000 gift from Sammons Financial Group expanded the Zoo’s educational footprint across eastern South Dakota. Thanks to funding from Sammons, the ZooMobile will reach 96 poverty-level schools in 42 school districts over three school years. As part of the partnership, the Zoo also unveiled a colorful ZooMobile vehicle that will travel across the state as part of the program.

ZooMobile programs are 45-minute educational encounters led by a Zoo Educator and several animal ambassadors. Students learn about animals and their habitats, and have the opportunity to meet and get up close to learn about the Zoo’s education animals. All ZooMobile programs meet state and national science standards.

Avera Health

Dedicated to the environment and education of others, Avera partnered with the Great Plains Zoo to create a new pollinator habitat on the zoo campus. This endeavor encourages the successful breeding and releasing of the Dakota skipper, an endangered butterfly species. Lush native vegetation surrounds the habitat to heal the mind, body and spirit. Avera hopes visitors enjoy learning about the beautiful and delicate nature of our regional ecosystem for years to come.

Annual Corporate Sponsors

Argus Leader Media 
Chesterman Company
GreatLIFE

Exhibit Sign Sponsors

POET

About Us

As an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Great Plains Zoo strives to fulfill four major objectives:  Education, Conservation, Recreation and Discovery.

 

The Zoo came from humble beginnings as a private collection in the 1880’s owned by Senator Richard F. Pettigrew, who housed a few specimens of animals for viewing in the local parks around Sioux Falls.  In 1930, the Sioux Falls Parks systems assumed responsibility for zoo development and added additional specimens for permanent display in Sherman Park, just south of the zoo’s present location.

 

In 1957, the Zoological Society of Sioux Falls (ZSSF) was established as a non-profit corporation by a group of zoo supporters and organized by Howard Chernoff, associate publisher of the Sioux Falls newspaper The Argus Leader.  Its goal was to develop and implement plans for a modern 32-acre zoo to be operated by the Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation Department, with the ZSSF serving in an advisory and supportive capacity.  The ZSSF, the Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation Department and several zoological consultants worked together for 3 years to design a new zoo and raise funds for construction. The Great Plains Zoo opened June 30, 1963 to provide education and recreation for the community.

 

The Great Plains Zoo continued growing and in 1984 the Delbridge Museum of Natural History opened.  In 1985, the operation of the Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History (GPZ) was assumed by the ZSSF and the City retaining ownership of the buildings and grounds.  The change was based on the belief that private sector funding would increase if the City was not solely funding the zoo and museum, and the ZSSF would be better qualified to provide the necessary expertise to operate and manage a modern Zoological Park and Museum of Natural History.

 

In 1991 the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited the GPZ.  Now, the Zoo's collection has grown to of hundreds of live animals from around the world exhibited in natural habitats emphasizing conservation and education.  The Zoo has continued to renovate several of the older exhibits and created new larger habitats for the animals including: Asian Cats, Rare Rhinos of Africa, the award-winning Snow Monkey exhibit and Fortress of the Bears. GPZ’s current capital campaign is to bring the roar of the Lions back to Sioux Falls with an expansion to the African exhibit. 

 

The Zoo is also a regional education leader, reaching up to 40,000 adults and children each year with interactive ZooMobiles and hands-on programming at the Zoo for infants through early high schoolers, including STEM and nature-inspired classes.  
 

Zoological Society of Sioux Falls Board of Directors
 

  • Jeanelle Lust - Chair 
  • Joseph Glasford - Vice-Chair
  • Tracy Dahl-Webb - Secretary 
  • George Mollner - Treasurer 
  • Jeff Hugunin - Past Chair
  • Don Kearney - Ex Officio 
  • Pam Bonrud
  • Melanie Carpenter
  • Margaret Carmody
  • Amanda Chaon
  • Rosio Duarte
  • Jeannie Iannello
  • Sarah Schulte
  • Sheri Fischer
  • Darin Hage
  • Sandy King
  • Carol McGrath
  • Mckenzy Raterman
  • Katie Sumey

Seasonal Guest Experience Team Members

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Swing Zookeeper

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Seasonal Zookeeper

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Animal Behavior Intern

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Animal Care Internship-Paid

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Guest Experiences Supervisor

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Facilities Manager

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Director of Facilities & Campus Projects

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Seasonal Maintenance Worker

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Education Specialist

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Human Resources Manager

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Senior Director of Animal Care

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Zookeeper (Africa)

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Director of Development

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General Curator

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Director of Animal Programs

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Facilities Specialist

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Animal Care Manager

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Deputy Director

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Human Resources Specialist

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Communications Manager

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Development Manager

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Seasonal Educator

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President/CEO

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Veterinarian

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Seasonal Zoomobile Specialist

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Seasonal Animal Care Assistant

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Environmental Services Specialist

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Administrative Assistant

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Director of Public Relations & Engagement

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Zookeeper

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Primate Keeper

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Seasonal Event Specialist

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Marketing Social Media Internship-Paid

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Veterinarian

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Director of Finance

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Maintenance Technician

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Animal Care Area Supervisor

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Senior Zookeeper

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Marketing Events Internship-Paid

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Seasonal Attractions Team Lead

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Seasonal Attractions Team Members

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Directions

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Zoo Map

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Dino-Roars!

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Activities and Shows

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What's Happening

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Facility Rentals

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Food & Fun

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Field Trips

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Group Visits

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Guest Amenities

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Kids' Clinic

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Birthday Parties

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Delbridge Museum of Natural History

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Donate

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Become a Member

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Dining and Shopping

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Canvas & Conservation

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Yoga at the Zoo

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ZooCub Classes

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Animals

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Up-Close Encounters

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ZooCamps

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Saturday Science Club

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Educational Programs

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Zoo Camp Outs

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After Dark Adventure

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Zoo Play Days

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Distance Learning

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Birding Walks

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ZooMobile

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Science Safari

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Junior Zookeeper

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Nature Play Club

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Education Center

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Exhibits

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Zoo For All Charity/Fundraiser Form

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Zoo For All Non Profit Agency Form

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Zoo For All Family/Individual Form

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Zoo For All Special Circumstances Form

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Code of Conduct

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Vote

Wanting to submit a name for Hy-Vee's Name the Baby Contest, but not ready to venture into the grocery store yet? We've got you covered. Submit names for both of our Nigerian Dwarf Goats and you could win a Zoo prize pack AND be the one to officially name our goats! 

Use the form below and stay tuned the week of July 25 as we announce the winner!

Thank you to Hy-Vee for hosting this contest each year and getting the public involved in their Zoo! 

Woo at the Zoo: Mating, Dating & Copulating

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Egg-stravaganza

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Party for the Planet

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Rhinopalooza

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Zippity Zoo Day

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Hy-Vee Day at the Zoo

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Expedition ZooFalls

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Flutterfest

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Bacon and Brew at the Zoo

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ZooBoo

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Santa at the Zoo

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Creative Creatures Art Show

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Teddy Bear Clinic

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Lionslion habitat

Building Our Community Pride

Bringing Lions Back to the Great Plains Zoo

Perhaps no place on earth captures our imaginations like Africa – the animals inspire a love of nature, the environment, and the world around us. This multi-phase $5 million campaign will improve the visitor experience and provide top-notch animal care. Join us in "Building Our Community Pride." Donate today!

Imagine sitting down to lunch in the Zoo’s temperature-controlled Maasai Market Café and watching a Lion stalk across rocky terrain while you enjoy your meal. Glass viewing windows allow you to watch these magnificent animals roll, play, and chase each other only feet away from the renovated café.

About the Lion Habitat
This idyllic experience is only a few years away thanks to a $5 million capital campaign that will create: 

  • an African kopje (a small rocky hill) habitat and yard;
  • a holding and viewing building;
  • zookeeper/Lion training demonstration area; 
  • renovations to the Café to enhance the animal viewing experience; and
  • enhanced seating and views into animal habitats.

The complex will offer a natural setting with multiple charismatic Big Cat species. The exhibit will enable visitors to see a pride of up to 10 Lions and cubs. It will also provide a breeding facility for important species that researchers believe could be extinct in the wild in as few as 30 years. View an aerial rendering of the new Lion habitat.

Get Involved: 
If you or your business is interested in supporting the Lion habitat campaign, please call 605.367.8313, ext. 142, or email our Development Department.

Give Now
 

Fortress of the Bears

The Great Plain’s Zoo’s “Fortress of the Bears” exhibit, featuring four Brown Bear cubs, opened in June 2018. The project renovated and expanded one of the Zoo’s oldest and most popular exhibits to provide enhanced viewing and educational opportunities for the Zoo’s more 300,000 annual visitors. Visitors love seeing the lively Brown Bear cubs play and interact with each other in their new pond, lush meadow and bear canyon. A training demonstration window also gives visitors the chance to view behavioral training by zookeepers. Guests can watch up close as zookeepers get the Bears to present a paw or open their mouth as part of a health routine exam.

Not only does the exhibit add enriching habitats for the Zoo’s Bears, Fortress of the Bears creates interactive opportunities for the whole family, including a playground and a field research station for children. Visitors also are able to enjoy regularly scheduled activities like Zookeeper Chats and training demonstrations. 

Meet Our Four Brown Bear Cubs

Juneau and Sitka

Say “hello” to Juneau and Sitka, two of the four Bears that call Fortress of the Bears “home." These playful sisters were rescued after they were orphaned near Yellowstone National Park. The Great Plains Zoo collaborated with the Palm Beach Zoo and Indianapolis Zoo to provide them with exceptional care before they arrived at their new exhibit. Zookeepers say that Sitka is known as a “bone thief” and likes to steal her sister Juneau’s treats! See Juneau, Sitka, and the rest of the Fortress of the Bear residents at their exhibit.

Katmai and Kodiak

Meet Katmai and Kodiak! This brother-sister duo was rescued after being found orphaned in Cold Bay, Alaska, last year. The Great Plains Zoo worked with government officials and other zoos to get them to their new home in the Fortress of the Bears. Katmai and Kodiak love to wrestle and play, and you’ll often hear Katmai getting vocal around food. She loves meat, fish, bones and honey! See all four Brown Bear cubs up-close in their exhibit, Fortress of the Bears!


 

Working to Save WildlifeWorking to Save Wildlife

Conservation is a cornerstone of the Great Plains Zoo’s (GPZ) mission. Alongside the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), we work to save animals from extinction every day.

From rounding up for conservation when you purchase your ticket to participating in boots-on-the-ground field work, GPZ is focused on conservation efforts that move the dial toward species preservation - right at home and across the globe! 

Learn a little bit about GPZ's conservation efforts below!

 

Snow Leopard 

GPZ is proud to embark on a conservation program to protect snow leopards in Nepal. Currently in its development stage, we will soon send GPZ staff to Nepal to work with conservation biologist Dr. Jeff Muntifering and local Nepalese partners.

Staff will assist in developing a community-based approach to conservation to monitor wild snow leopard populations and to increase positive relationships between farmers and snow leopards. GPZ’s hope is to strengthen community involvement in conservation through local ranger and educational programs. We are excited to get this project off the ground and into the mountains!

 

Dakota Skipper

Great Plains Zoo has been working in collaboration with the Minnesota Zoo's Prairie Butterfly Conservation Program to help save a declining species of butterfly native to the prairie lands found in the Upper Midwest, the Dakota Skipper.

The Dakota Skipper is a small, but mighty, pollinator whose population has majorly decreased in recent years due to habitat loss. Together with the Minnesota Zoo and the Butterfly House and Aquarium in Sioux Falls, the Great Plains Zoo is working to create a habitat right here on zoo grounds to help rebuild the Dakota Skipper population.

This is a conservation project that focuses on an important, local species of pollinator. Pollinators are vital to the world. A pollinator is responsible for bringing us about 1 out of every 3 bites of food, along with maintaining ecosystems and habitats for many animals (including humans) all over the world.

 

SAFE

The Great Plains Zoo (GPZ) is proud to be a Protector member of the Founders Circle of AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction.

As an AZA accredited zoo, GPZ is partnering with AZA and other AZA institute members for three SAFE programs. We are SAFE partners for the Eastern Black Rhinoceros, as well as Monarch butterflies. We are also very proud of being one of the founding members of the Lion SAFE program, as we work in close contact with AZA throughout our Building Our Community Pride campaign to bring lions to GPZ. The goal of the program is to collaborate with other AZA facilities to focus on conservation efforts for these animals, as we move the dial to save species in need.

SAFE aims to:

  • Protect threatened animals
  • Build on established recovery plans and history of commitment
  • Prioritize collaboration among AZA institutions
  • Implement strategic conservation and stakeholder engagement activities
  • Measure and report on conservation progress

 

Raptor Rehab

The Great Plains Zoo (GPZ) has a raptor rehab program. As a permitted raptor rehab facility, birds come to GPZ for many reasons through Game, Fish, and Parks and other partners.

GPZ receives wounded or abandoned raptors and equips them with the skills needed to survive in the wild. This includes teaching the birds how to fly, if they are unable, and teaching them to hunt, so they can  thrive upon release.

Each raptor is examined, and from there, the GPZ Animal Care team determines which level of rehabilitation they will need. Some birds need a warm place to stay and food until a wound heals, while others need a full education on how to survive in the wild.

Select GPZ staff participate in the Raptor Rehab program, giving our team the chance to participate in conservation efforts right in our backyard.  

Note: While it is understandable to see a baby bird and want to help, please do not take it upon yourself to take the bird. It is likely that the mother is somewhere nearby. We do our best to rehab these birds, but the mother is always the best option.

If you come across an injured bird, contact Game, Fish, and Parks

 

Black Rhino

Great Plains Zoo (GPZ) Conservation Biologist Dr. Jeff Muntifering has worked with the critically endangered black rhino in Namibia for 20 years. He is instrumental in developing and expanding a highly successful community-based rhino conservation initiative, resulting in the dramatic reduction in rhino poaching due to the desire to illegally collect and sell rhino horn on the black market. 

By working with organizations like GPZ and Save the Rhino Trust (SRT), Dr. Muntifering and his Namibian colleagues have created a diverse and innovative rhino conservation model focusing on engaging and empowering local people in rhino conservation. At the core of this model are the community Rhino Rangers, appointed by and accountable to their local Conservancy. 

SRT, with over 40 years of experience monitoring the region’s wild black rhino, transfer skills and provide a suite of incentives to the Rhino Rangers that increases the quality and quantity of patrolling. Once the Rhino Rangers become proficient at monitoring, their skills are integrated with unique rhino tracking tourism activities that have become world renowned and provides an additional financing mechanism for rhino protection. 

There is also a strong education component, often led by the Rhino Rangers themselves. This reaches the broader community, and is geared toward instilling pride in and compassion for rhinos, as well as bolstering gratitude towards the rangers. In Namibia, local people attach value to saving rhinos, instead of killing them. It's no wonder that Namibia has become the stronghold for the black rhino.

GPZ is no stranger to black rhino conservation having supported efforts for years. This new initiative greatly expands upon that commitment by actively conserving these amazing species in the wild by supporting a proven successful model at a critical time. GPZ is committed to doing what we can to keep black rhinos from extinction by supporting the work of Dr. Muntifering and becoming a leader in global conservation efforts.

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Volunteer

The Great Plains Zoo invites you to become a part of its volunteer program! The purpose of our adult volunteer program is to support the education and conservation efforts of the Great Plains Zoo.

We are currently looking for volunteers to fill one of three roles at the Great Plains Zoo. Applicants are asked to identify which role (or roles) they would like to fill at the time of their application.

Docents engage Zoo guests by interpreting at animal exhibits and presenting animal artifacts throughout the Zoo. Training on how to interact with our guests as well as animal information is provided. We ask that Docents commit to a regular schedule and contribute a minimum of one hour per week or four hours per month.

Farm Attendants monitor guest and animal interactions in the Hy-Vee Face-to-Face Farm.  We ask that Farm Attendants commit to a regular schedule and contribute a minimum of one hour per week.

Diet Preparation Assistants work in our diet kitchen and assist the keepers in the preparation of animal diets. Diet Assistants must commit to a regular schedule and a minimum of 4 hours a month. Diet Assistants must provide proof of a negative TB test annually and proof of a COVID-19 vaccination.  (Limited opportunities available.)

*To join the Zoo’s Adult Volunteer Program you must be at least 18 years old and must undergo a background check.  Complete the form below to apply.

*Please note that the only opportunities for volunteers to work directly with our animals are through our Junior ZooKeeper program (for teens ages 12-18).

 

Interested in helping with Special Events, like ZooBoo or Zippity Zoo Day?  One-time volunteer opportunities are available for adults ages 18 and up, and for ages 12 and up if accompanied by an adult.  For more information, please email Volunteers@GPZoo.org or call (605) 367-8313 x233. 

 

Looking for a one-time opportunity for your group to volunteer?  Seasonal projects are available for corporate groups, church groups, youth groups, and other community groups.  Groups may include students as young as 12 if accompanied by adults.  Contact Leigh at LSpencer@GPZoo.org for more information!

 

Already a volunteer? Click here to access your Volgistics profile and schedule.

 

If you have any questions or need more information about volunteering at the Great Plains Zoo, please email Volunteers@GPZoo.org or call (605) 367-8313 x233.  To apply, complete the form below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Donation Requests

  • Love this zoo! Great place to get a walk in and the animals are everywhere! The museum/indoor part is very educational too. Has a lot of shade for when it's hot out. Very clean. Friendly staff.

    Taylor F.
  • We love to visit the zoo. They have great outdoor exhibits and lots to do inside as well. Great for kids and adults.

    Robin A.
  • Lots of great exhibits and animals to see! Fun gift shop and learning center.

    Stephanie N.
  • The museum gives you a break from the sun on hot summer days and has a great selection of animal exhibits from around the world.  The zoo keeps growing and adding new animal habitats or improving existing ones.  Membership offers reciprocal benefits to other zoos around the country.

    Bill T.
Admission