Sunday, July 8, 2012

Tanganyika Wildlife Park

West of Wichita, in the town of Goddard, lies Tanganyika, a small wildlife park that gives you experiences you can’t get at most zoos.  It's been voted the "Best Place to take the Family" in Wichita two years running, and it's easy to see why.  Here you can touch and feed and walk among animals from multiple continents.  Our family used a groupon to get in, because otherwise for 7 people it would be out of our price range.  Even so, it was expensive because to feed the animals you have to buy tokens at $1 each.  Some animals cost 5 tokens to feed- but honestly, how often will you EVER get to feed and pet a rhinoceros?

The only disadvantage was it was hot.  Our roadtrip was in the middle of the recent heatwave, and it was over 105 - Not joking or exaggerating.  There was only one place in the park with a/c, and that was the entrance/exit/giftshop (which we went back to a couple times just to cool off), though there was a spray mister at the far end.  If I had one piece of advice for this place it would be to put in some more drinking fountains.  Oh, and better signs from the highway.  Needless to say, most of the animals were not in show-time mode, but the handlers made extra efforts to make it special for the visitors who braved the day.

This is Diabolo, the famous honey badger.  It's hot, but he don't care.

The giraffe pavilion.

One token gets you a single lettuce leaf to feed the giraffes.  It's expensive, but it also prevents the animals from being overfed.

Here Mike is about to get a smooch on the ear.

"Can't believe I gotta bend over to reach my food."

This rhino didn't want to move, even when the sun moved his shade.  I couldn't blame him.

These Colobus Monkeys were funny.  The little white baby was so human-like.  Mommomomomomomom, can I have some of that?  No I changed my mind I want that.  Momomomomomomom.  And what was probably his big brother was also very human-sibling-like.  Want this?  Want this?  Yeah?  Well, I'M gonna eat it- nyah!

This is Henry.

Henry did NOT want to get up from his mud puddle for feeding time.  But his handler coaxed him up with treats.

"Alright, you got me up.  You'd better stuff my face."

It's a good thing my kids are so good at throwing things at heads.

Once he had sufficiently slobbered his treats enough to bend down and enjoy his sweet mushy mouthful, the kids could pet his nose and horn.

Several times we would be approached by wandering handlers, mostly with reptiles for the kids to pet and learn about. Above is a bearded dragon.

I think I can guess what the snow leopards were fantasizing about...

Is there anything cuter than playful white tiger cubs?  No. Frickin'. Way.

These guys came pretty close, though.

Sometimes it pays to have a genetic mutation that allows you to reflect heat.

They have the lemurs on an island, and for feeding, temperature, and rest considerations, they rotate a couple groups throughout the day.  These were the males.

The only touching allowed with the lemurs was what they initiated.  A single craisin could initiate a lot.

Another handler with a "friend of jack."

It's either keep this guy shaded or apply sunscreen every 30 minutes.

These guys were actually from Southern Africa, so they were used to heat.  Probably not like this, though.  You could tell their pool was cooled.  Just standing near it was 5 degrees less.

The kangaroos were definitely used to the heat.  And the petting.  Or maybe it was just the heat that made them endure the petting so well.

Ever seen a tortoise feeding frenzy on a frozen block of fruit?  It got violent!

A featherless boa.

Bunnies huddled in what they figured was the shadiest spot in the pen.  They were also rotated indoors every couple hours to keep them from getting overheated.

Llama llama llama.

 The alphabet always ends with zebra!

No outside food is allowed in the park for animal safety, but there is a full service outdoor concession stand and shaded pavilion.   There's also a playground my kids gave a big thumbs-up, even though it was too hot to spend more than 5 minutes on.  I've only posted pictures of about 1/3 of the animals they have.

Want to go?  Tell them we sent ya!

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