Located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History includes approximately 45 acres of zoo exhibits and a building dedicated to preserving natural history, which is known as the Delbridge Museum. More Things to Do in Sioux Falls


From the 1880s to the 1930s, Richard F. Pettigrew, a South Dakota Senator, displayed a small number of animals throughout the local parks in Sioux Falls. In the 1930s, the Sioux Fall Parks System gained control of the animals and moved them from their scattered homes to one park, which was Sherman Park. Almost twenty years later, the Zoological Society of Sioux Falls was created. Ultimately, this Society became known as the Great Plains Zoo, which opened in the summer of 1963.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s the Zoo made a lot of changes. Two of the biggest additions to the Great Plains Zoo during this time was the new Children’s Zoo and the Delbridge Museum of Natural History. Although the Great Plains Zoo seemed to prosper throughout the late 1900s, the Zoo ran into trouble around 2005. In order to bring the Zoo back to life and success, the Zoo hired their first CEO and president, Elizabeth Whealy. Fortunately, Whealy was able to exponentially improve the Great Plains Zoo. Since the Zoo’s conflict in 2005, the overall annual attendance for the Zoo has exponentially increased.

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There are two main areas within the Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History: the Zoo and the Museum. First, let’s take a look at the attractions within the Great Plains Zoo:

North America displays animals that call North America home. Some of the animals visitors can see within this exhibit include Bison and various types of bears.

African Savannah transports visitors from Sioux Falls to an African savannah. Visitors will be able to gain exclusive looks into the lives of native animals in Africa, such as Reticulated Giraffes.

Primates allows visitors to see a variety of primates jumping from one complex to another. Some of the primates include Squirrel Monkeys and Siamang Gibbons.

Flamingo Aviary is a gorgeous display of various animals, specifically Chilean Flamingos.

Animal Families is an exhibit that houses most of the animal families within the Great Plains Zoo, such as their lion family.

Asian Cats gives visitors a panoramic experience of various Asian cats, such as snow leopards.

Birds, Bugs & Amphibians is an exhibit that is home to a variety of bugs, amphibians, and birds. Visitors will be able to get an exclusive look at these animals and learn interesting information about them.

HyVee Face to Face Farm used to be known as the Children’s Zoo. This exhibit allows visitors to truly get up close and personal with the various animals that call this exhibit home. Visitors have the opportunity to feed and pet all of the animals, and even ride some of the some of the animals, such as the camel.

Education Animals are a special selection of animals that are housed in different areas than the other exhibit animals. These animals are used for education purposes and are used to interacting with various people.

Endangered Animals gives visitors an exclusive look into some of the rarest and most endangered animals throughout the world. The Great Plains Zoo takes care of 24 endangered species.

The other area of attractions at the Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History is the Museum. The Delbridge Museum of Natural History includes:

· Over 150 preserved animals that are mounted on the walls.

· Information and signage that correspond with the mounted animals.

· Interactive areas where visitors can play.

· The ZooVie Theater, which allows visitors to see themselves on the big screen dancing and playing with animals.

· A virtual exhibit where visitors can imagine themselves exploring on a river or in a meadow.

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Since the Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History promotes and stresses the importance of education, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Zoo offers a variety of educational opportunities for people of all ages. The educational opportunities at the Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History include Junior Zookeeper, camps, classes, and clubs.

One of the most popular educational activities at the Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History is Junior Zookeeper. Through this program, teenagers aged 12 to 18 are given the opportunity to accompany some of the Zoo’s most trained and trusted zookeepers. This program is perfect for teenagers who are interested in natural science and considering a career in a zoo or another area of natural science.

805 S Kiwanis Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57104, Phone: 605-367-8313

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