The Topeka Zoo is small, and has seen better days. However, it is still a pleasant little zoo to spend a few hours at. It is home to the first domed rainforest, as well as the first tunnel through a gorilla exhibit. Like most small zoos, it has no super rare species, or amazing exhibit, but it is laid out very well, and has some beautiful grounds. Tropical Rainforest This small rainforest has been surpassed by much larger buildings at zoos such as Omaha and the Bronx. Outside is a small fishing cat cage, which also has a spacious indoor exhibit in a small, dark room (a Standing’s day gecko also has an exhibit in here). A small loop leads visitors around the building, as well a tall overlook of the exhibit. There are several nice exhibits for dwarf caimans, Asian small-clawed otters, rhinoceros iguana, nine-banded armadillo, and red-kneed tortoise/Malayan chevrotain. There are several interesting free-roaming animals, such as a two-toed sloth, Chinese muntjac, flying foxes, and even a tamandua. The large number of free-roaming birds includes blue-throated piping guan, gray-necked wood rail, crested wood partridge, white-faced whistling duck, ringed teal, yellow-billed cardinal, bali mynah, scarlet macaw, gray parrot, scarlet ibis, hammerkop, and white-crested laughing thrush. The small building is full of lush, mature foliage, as well as a pool and waterfall. I find it to be about as nicely done as possible for a building its size, and has a nice mixture of birds and small mammals. Black Bear Woods Black Bear Woods can be seen from an elevated boardwalk. Two enormous aviaries allow plenty of room for golden and bald eagles to fly. A pronghorn antelope can be seen from above, or from behind glass in a large, very grassy exhibit. An arctic fox lives in a densely planted enclosure in the center of the area. Two groups of two American black bears live in a large exhibit with plenty of trees and even a small pool. Like the pronghorn, the bears can be seen from above, or at ground level behind glass. It is the zoos best single species exhibit, and much better than many bear exhibits (grottos and pits) at huge zoos. Discovering Apes Discovering Apes is one of the first exhibits built at the Topeka Zoo. As you walk in, you can see the Sumatran orangutan exhibit at tree level from behind glass, it is the same quality of most indoor orangutan exhibit at large zoos across the country. Below the path is the indoor exhibit for leopard and African spurred tortoises. The orangutan room is sut up to feel like you are walking in a treehouse. A small room houses a tropical aquarium and terrariums for anoles and poison dart frogs. A tunnel leads between two average-sized gorilla exhibits. One exhibit can be seen from outside across a moat. Orangutans also have a fantastic, large outdoor yard with climbing structures. Animals & Man Animals and Man building serves as the indoor holding area for the zoos hippos, elephants (African and Asian), and giraffes. The giraffes have a large yard on one side of the building, while the hippos have a good and elephants have an average exhibit on the other side. Other exhibits in this building include Mexican beaded lizards, prehensile-tailed porcupines, African cape porcupines, prehensile-tailed skinks, Burmese pythons, and sugar gliders all in very large and tall glass fronted exhibits. Other Exhibits Small, circular cages around the zoo house black and white ruffed lemurs, scarlet macaws, red-tailed hawks, North American porcupines, Pallas cats, and a bobcat. Two sizeable ponds are home to waterfowl such as nenes, black-necked swans, trumpeter swans, bar-headed geese, swan geese, as well as wild mallards, wood ducks, and Canada geese. A small children’s zoo has 3 pens with domestic goats and sheep, as well as a playground. African spurred and leopard tortoises live in an exhibit near the giraffes in the summer. Lion’s Pride is a very nice exhibit for African lions, which can be seen from behind glass, in a cave, or through mesh. Nearby is a spacious Grant’s zebra exhibit. Spotted hyenas should be coming soon to this area. Jungle Cats is two (smallish) side-by-side exhibits for African black leopard and Sumatran tigers. Both exhibits are lushly planted, and the tigers have large pool to swim in. The exhibit is too small for my liking, but very nicely done. Kansas Carnivores is two side by side exhibits. The first is a small but nicely planted mountain lion exhibit. The second is for North American river otters. It is quite large, but the pool is rather small. Summary A nice little zoo, with some pleasant exhibits. They have 7 species of cats, as well as both elephant species. I would recommend it to anyone in the area. It would make a good day when combined with nearby David Traylor Zoo in Emporia, or Sunset Zoo in Manhattan.