Large zoos are a fun all-day adventure. But there are times that you don’t have all day. Or perhaps you have little ones in tow who can’t yet handle a full day outing. You hate to pay the full price for a major zoo, deal with the hassle of a large parking lot, and leave after a few hours. Here are six Midwest zoos that are great for short visits.
Two years ago I visited Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo during a press trip. Even through the zoo hadn’t opened for the season yet, I could tell from what was available to see during my visit that it was an outstanding zoo for children and adults alike. Therefore, when I made a return visit to Fort Wayne, Indiana, this year I wanted to go back to the zoo and see it in mid-season. I had planned to spend an hour or so in the zoo but ended up staying over three hours—and that’s without children. With about 1,000 animals, beautiful landscaping and five rides, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is, by far, the nicest non-major zoo I have visited.
When I first heard the name, I thought the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo might be a small petting zoo. But a petting zoo couldn’t be 40 acres in size with over 1,000 animals, including lions, tigers, zebras, and giraffes. It wouldn’t attract more than half a million people each year, and it certainly wouldn’t be rated “Indiana’s #1 Gotta-Do Summer Attraction.” I quickly discovered the zoo isn’t just for kids. It’s as fun for adults as for children.