Best Family Entertainment
The Topeka Zoo has made several additions and changes over the past few years so it can continue to provide a fun and quality experience for visitors.
Director Brendan Wiley said the zoo, which is home to more than 200 individual animals and more than a dozen colonies of insects, has always had a reputation of being a leader in its field.
“We come from a history that was extremely innovative, leading-edge and routinely accomplished firsts in this industry,” he said. “I think that if there’s been something we’ve accomplished in the last five to seven years, it’s restoring the pride that this community has for its zoo.”
The zoo, 635 S.W. Gage Blvd., is bringing back the docent program to provide educational opportunities throughout the 32-acre park. Guided tours are in the beginning stage and expected to grow.
Coming soon is Camp Cowabunga, a safari camp experience with elephants, African painted dogs, birds and possibly small antelope. A gallery of artifacts brought back from various safaris in Africa also will be installed. The addition is expected to open next summer.
“It’s an incredible compliment,” Wiley said of the “Best of” designation. “But even more than that, I think it shows how important the zoo is to our community.”
First runner-up: Gage Park
Second runner-up: Kansas Children’s Discovery Center