Zoos are a great way to let your kids see real-life wild animals. More than enjoying the sights, they can learn about the creatures, their habitats, and the roles they play in nature. Adults will also find this a pleasurable educational and recreational activity.
If you’re in the Upper Midwest region of the US or are planning to visit the place, you should include the best zoos in North Dakota. The state boasts of four wildlife parks that are home to various local and wild animals.
Cities that Have a Zoo in North Dakota
Chahinkapa Zoo – Wahpeton
As the first zoo in North Dakota, Chahinkapa Zoo isn’t just a wildlife park—it’s also a historic site. It’s a 29-acre zoo that features over 200 animals representing 70 species from 6 continents. The organization aims to provide high-quality animal care and serve as a wildlife rehabilitation center.
Chahinkapa Zoo is situated at 1004 RJ Hughes Drive, Wahpeton, ND. The admission price for adults aged 13 and up is $14.75, while kids aged three to 12 can enter for $10.75. Children who are two years old and under can enter the zoo for free. Senior citizens aged 62 and up also get a discounted price of $13.75, along with active military personnel. It’s best to check their website to confirm their operating hours for the day you’ll be visiting the zoo.
Notable animals in the Chahinkapa Zoo are the orangutans, white rhinos, grizzly bears, zebras, bison, kangaroos, cheetahs, gibbons, alligators, and honey badgers. Special events include wild game shows, zoo members’ picnics, and Halloween at the zoo. Aside from visiting the wild animals, you and your family can join educational classes, camp in the campground, and go on the Prairie Rose Carousel. You can also schedule a school field trip to the Chahinkapa Zoo, which will only cost $8 per student. Teachers also won’t be charged for admission.
Dakota Zoo – Bismarck
Dakota Zoo is considered one of the biggest and best zoos in North Dakota, with a 90-acre space. Its mission is to instill and inspire a better understanding and appreciation for animals and nature. It’s home to 600 animals, birds, reptiles, and fish representing 125 species.
The zoo is located at 602 Riverside Park Road, Bismarck, ND. The admission fee for adults aged 13 and up is $12, while seniors aged 60 and above can enjoy a discounted price of $10. Children from two to 12 can get in for $8, and babies under two years old can enter for free. For summer (late April to September), the zoo is open from 10 AM to 6 PM daily. For winter (October to late April), they’re only open from 1 PM to 5 PM from Friday to Sunday.
Exotic animals you can expect to visit at Dakota Zoo are the Bengal tiger, cotton-top tamarin, black-footed ferret, Goeldi’s monkey, ruffed lemur, Przewalski’s horse, and snow leopard, among others. You also have the option to adopt an animal and sponsor their care as they live in the zoo. The organization also offers educational programs, such as animal close-ups, art with the animals, and field trips. You can also go on a Family Zoo Snooze Campover or enroll for Junior or Adult Zookeeper Camp.
Red River Zoo – Fargo
Red River Zoo has a unique setup. They feature exotic and native animals from all over the globe with similar climates to the Red River Valley. They focus on caring for and breeding the world’s rarest cold climate species.
The zoo is located at 4255 23rd Ave S, Fargo, ND. Admission rates are $11.25 for adults and $10.25 for senior citizens aged 60 and up. Children aged two to 14 can enter for $8.75, while children under two years old can get in for free. Zoo members also enter for free. Carousel rides have a flat rate of $3.
As mentioned, the Red River Zoo specializes in caring for cold-climate animals. This includes the Sichuan takin, Jacob sheep, grey wolf, Pallas cat, and red panda. It’s also home to the tiger salamander, Desert Blonde tarantula, Hooded merganser, Harris’ hawk, and Eurasian lynx, among others. You can enroll for special animal encounters, specifically with the resident porcupines and red pandas. They also have educational programs, such as the Junior Zookeeper Leadership program, Critter Camp, and Explorer Camp.
Roosevelt Park Zoo – Minot
Roosevelt Park Zoo is the first animal exhibition that featured the American bison. It’s home to 135 animals representing 68 species. It’s also considered one of the oldest zoos in North Dakota.
The establishment is located at 1219 Burdick Expressway East Minot, ND. The admission fee for adults is $10, while active military personnel and seniors aged 60 and up can get a discounted price of $9. College students can also get in for $9 as long as they present their school ID. Children aged three to 12 years old can enter for $6.50, while kids two and under can get in for free. For May and September, the zoo is open from 10 AM to 6 PM. For June, July, and August, the organization extended its closing time to 8 PM.
Aside from the American bison, you can also visit the African lion, Amur leopard, Bactrian camel, Japanese serow, North American otter, Plains zebra, Siamang gibbon, and Scottish Highland cattle in the zoo. They also have birds, like the African black-footed penguin, Southern ground hornbill, Blue-bellied roller, Eastern screech owl, and laughing kookaburra, among others.
The zoo features a summer camp where children can learn about the different animals. There are also tot classes for different subjects, like the Frozen Tundra and Animal Senses.
Guide To Visiting Zoos in North Dakota
When visiting zoos in North Dakota, here are some tips to remember:
Consider going during weekdays to avoid crowds. If you go when there are fewer people, you and your kids can view the animals. It’s also best to arrive early to make the most of your excursion.
Purchase tickets online as much as you can. This way, you avoid lining up on the day and spend more time visiting the animals.
Create a must-see list. Engage your kids by checking the zoo’s websites together and making a list of the animals that they want to see.
Bring your own food. Pack some snacks to stave off hunger. Don’t forget your water bottles, too. Food and drinks in the zoo can add to the overall cost of your trip.
Zoos in North Dakota Recap
The Chahinkapa Zoo is the first zoo in the state where you can find white rhinos. Dakota Zoo, on the other hand, is the biggest zoo, where you can view a wide array of species. Red River Zoo is also a must-visit for its specialty in breeding rare cold-climate animals, particularly the red panda. Last but not least, Roosevelt Park Zoo is where you should head if you are excited to meet the great American bison and other wild animals.
Each zoo visit is a unique experience for you and your kids. If you’re from the area or plan to visit, you should head to the four best zoos in North Dakota for a fun and educational experience.