Exploring the Dakota Zoo in Bismarck, ND

The Dakota Zoo, nestled in the heart of Bismarck, North Dakota, is a cherished local attraction that offers an engaging and educational experience for visitors of all ages. Since its opening in 1961, the zoo has grown significantly, now housing over 600 animals across 125 species. Learn more here.

A Rich History

Founded by Marc and Betty Christianson, the Dakota Zoo began as a private collection of animals and gradually expanded into a public zoo. Today, it spans 90 acres along the scenic banks of the Missouri River, attracting over 100,000 visitors annually. The zoo’s mission is to promote the conservation and appreciation of wildlife through education and recreation. Learn more about Exploring Kiwanis Park in Bismarck, ND.

Diverse Animal Exhibits

The Dakota Zoo is home to a wide variety of animals, including native and exotic species. Visitors can observe North American animals such as bison, bears, and mountain lions, as well as exotic species like snow leopards, lemurs, and red pandas. The zoo’s primate collection, featuring gibbons and spider monkeys, is particularly popular.

Educational Programs

Education is a cornerstone of the Dakota Zoo’s mission. The zoo offers numerous educational programs and interactive exhibits aimed at fostering a deeper understanding of wildlife and conservation. Programs include guided tours, animal encounters, and educational camps for children. These initiatives help to engage the community and inspire future generations to care for the environment.

Conservation Efforts

The Dakota Zoo is committed to wildlife conservation and participates in various conservation programs and breeding initiatives. The zoo works closely with organizations such as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to support global efforts in preserving endangered species. By raising awareness and educating the public, the Dakota Zoo plays a vital role in the conservation movement.

Visiting Information

The Dakota Zoo is open year-round, with seasonal hours varying. Visitors can enjoy well-maintained walking paths, picnic areas, and a gift shop. The zoo also offers rental options for strollers, wheelchairs, and scooters, ensuring accessibility for all guests. Special events, such as Boo at the Zoo and Zoo Boo, provide unique experiences that draw visitors from near and far.


The Dakota Zoo in Bismarck, ND, is more than just a place to see animals; it’s a community hub for education, conservation, and family fun. Whether you’re a resident or a tourist, a visit to the Dakota Zoo promises a memorable and enriching experience that highlights the beauty and importance of wildlife.

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