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A Wildlife Wonderland: Exploring Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, IA

Nestled on the south side of Des Moines, Iowa, Blank Park Zoo offers a captivating experience for animal lovers and families. This accredited zoo, covering 49 acres, provides visitors with the opportunity to see a diverse array of animals from around the world, participate in engaging educational programs, and support conservation efforts. Let’s delve into what makes Blank Park Zoo a must-visit destination in Des Moines. West Des Moines, IA be seen at this link.

A Rich History:

Blank Park Zoo has a storied history that dates back to its opening in 1966. Initially a small children’s zoo, it has grown significantly over the decades, evolving into a major zoological park. The zoo was named in honor of A.H. Blank, a philanthropist who played a crucial role in its establishment. Today, it is a beloved institution, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. Information about Fostering Fun and Learning: Exploring the Des Moines Children’s Museum in West Des Moines, IA can be found here. 

Diverse Animal Exhibits:

One of the main attractions of Blank Park Zoo is its diverse collection of animal exhibits. The zoo is home to over 1,400 animals representing more than 100 species. Highlights include the African exhibit, which features majestic creatures like lions, giraffes, and rhinos, providing a glimpse into the savannas of Africa. The Australian Adventure showcases kangaroos, wallabies, and emus, while the Discovery Center houses reptiles, amphibians, and tropical birds.

Interactive Experiences:

Blank Park Zoo offers a range of interactive experiences that allow visitors to get up close and personal with the animals. The Zoo Buddies program, for instance, lets children and adults interact with and learn about specific animals through special activities and behind-the-scenes tours. The giraffe feeding experience is a popular attraction, giving visitors the chance to hand-feed these gentle giants and learn about their behavior and habitat.

Educational Programs:

Education is a cornerstone of Blank Park Zoo’s mission. The zoo provides a variety of educational programs aimed at children, families, and schools. Zoo camps, safari clubs, and animal-themed workshops are designed to inspire a love for wildlife and conservation. The zoo also offers educational outreach programs that bring the wonders of the animal kingdom to local schools and community groups.

Conservation Efforts:

Blank Park Zoo is deeply committed to wildlife conservation. The zoo participates in numerous conservation programs and initiatives both locally and globally. It is actively involved in the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which focuses on breeding endangered species to ensure their survival. The zoo also supports habitat preservation projects and wildlife rescue operations, contributing to the protection of animals in the wild.

Special Events and Activities:

Throughout the year, Blank Park Zoo hosts a variety of special events and activities that cater to all ages. Events like Night Eyes, a Halloween-themed event, and Wild Lights, a spectacular lantern festival, add a festive flair to the zoo experience. Additionally, the zoo organizes educational talks, animal demonstrations, and seasonal celebrations that provide entertainment and learning opportunities for visitors.

Visitor Amenities:

Blank Park Zoo is designed with visitor comfort in mind. The zoo features well-maintained pathways, picnic areas, and a zoo train that offers a scenic tour of the park. Dining options include the Safari Grill, which serves a variety of meals and snacks, and the Treetop Café, offering a unique dining experience overlooking the zoo. The zoo also has a gift shop stocked with souvenirs and educational materials.


Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa, is a vibrant and dynamic destination that offers something for everyone. From its diverse animal exhibits and interactive experiences to its educational programs and conservation efforts, the zoo provides a comprehensive and enriching experience for all visitors. Whether you’re a local resident or a tourist, a trip to Blank Park Zoo promises an unforgettable adventure filled with discovery, learning, and fun.

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