Tanganyika Wildlife Park is gearing up for a big season, as construction is currently underway on the first exhibit of an expansion that will add 20 new exhibits and attractions to the park.
In what is likely the largest expansion the park has seen, Tanganyika will expand to a house a new children’s zoo, that will offer a variety of new features.
The expansion begins with a new exhibit for penguins and otters which is currently under construction.
“The penguin exhibit that people might have seen if they came before was an outdoor exhibit. We’ve basically enclosed the entire exhibit so that the penguins won’t be at risk for malaria from mosquitos, or bird flu, which was a threat last year,” Tanganyika’s Assistant Director Matt Fouts said. The new, screened-in exhibit will offer more protection for the animals while maintaining the original open-air concept.
The exhibit’s structure isn’t all that’s been upgraded. Tanganyika improves the whole penguin experience by adding a new walk-through concept. The exhibit will feature an elevated platform that allows guest to walk over the penguins and right out to their pond.
Right next door, a new home for the Asian small-clawed otters is also under construction. The small otters will have a few ponds to swim in and a slide to play on.
“It’s gonna be an amazing new exhibit,” Fouts said.
Phase one of the park’s expansion includes this exhibit and the addition of a splash park in the near future. Phase two will bring a much bigger education building, a bigger nursery, stage shows, more ambassador animals, more indoor viewing areas and more interactive exhibits.
The penguin and otter exhibit is expected to be complete by May 1.
“There’s a lot to do in two months, but as long as the weather cooperates we should hopefully be able to meet that goal,” Fouts said. “It’s gonna be a pretty amazing project.”
Tanganyika Wildlife Park will kick off the 2016 season with an annual grand opening on Saturday, March 12. The park opens for the season just in time for spring break, and will be open daily from 10:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. from March 12 through 20. After this date, the park will resume its usual seasonal hours of 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays only.
Tanganyika Wildlife Park offers a variety of unique interactive experiences, such as giraffe feeding Austrailian parrot feeding, a walk through kangaroo exhibit. And more. The current children’s zoo allows guests to feed bunnies, tortoises and guinea pigs. Tanganyika is also home to one of the only lemur feeding islands in the country.
Tanganyika has been operating in the Wichita area for 30 years, though it began as a breeding facility. It wasn’t until 2008 that the park was founded and the doors were opened to the public. Since it’s opening, Tanganyika has added five to six new exhibits every year, and highlights 85 species for its 2016 season.
“We’re the third largest zoo in the state when it comes to collection, including mammals,” Fouts said.