Endangered rhinos, natural history top our visit to Sioux Falls zoo

Sioux Falls
Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History

Sioux Falls is home to a small, but nice zoo. The Great Plains Zoo  is paired with a natural history museum to give visitors an interesting look at animal life. The zoo occupies about 45 acres. The Delbridge Museum offers a look at about 150 mounted animals from around the world.

The Sioux Falls zoo had a couple of exhibits that fascinated us. The first was a Komodo dragon. The giant lizard had its own shelter. He was an active creature. We followed as he moved along a narrow path near the viewing window. He eventually turned down a route away from us, but he was fun to see up close.

Sioux Falls
The Komodo dragon has an impressive display

The zoo is home to two endangered black rhinos. Imara and Jubba are the pair at the zoo. Worldwide, there are only about 5,000 left. So, it’s important for rhinos like the Sioux Falls duo to mate and continue the species. Though they appear greyish in color, the term black refers to a hooked-lipped appearance. White rhinos tend to be square-lipped.

Sioux Falls
Sioux Falls is home to endangered rhinos

The Sioux Falls zoo is laid out in a nice circular path. It’s easy to move from one exhibit to another. You also ensure you get to at least look at an exhibit as you stroll through.

Some primates near the entrance caught a lot of people’s attention. They were swinging aggressively from the top of their cage and calling out fairly loudly. They were an active duo.

Sioux Falls
The primates exhibit was fun to watch

We watched a family of Snow monkeys search for food and play with a baby. It was cute when the mother appeared to be teaching the youngster how to search for something to eat.

Sioux Falls
Snow monkey mom teaching her baby about food

We checked out a small crocodile sunning itself next to a tree. It was from China.

Sioux Falls
Chinese crocodile

As we checked out the cat complex, an Amur Tiger was quite vocal. This type of tiger was nearly extinct at one time, with less than 40 left in the world. While conservation efforts have focused on keeping the species alive, poaching and habitat loss continues to threaten the estimated 400 tigers left in the wild.

Sioux Falls

While looking for the other cats in the area, we did come upon a snow leopard taking a nap. He looked very comfortable.

Sioux Falls
Snow leopard grabbing some zzzz’s

In the middle of the zoo is a small penguin exhibit. Who doesn’t like a penguin? They are so cute and always dressed for any occasion.

Sioux Falls
Penguins in South Dakota? Yep.

A group of flamingos mingled in a pond as we were leaving the zoo. They were just taking in the sunshine and warm early autumn temperatures.

Sioux Falls
We enjoyed the flamingo exhibit

The Delbridge Museum of Natural History is a must-see exhibit. You actually walk through it as you exit the zoo. But, you only see a small portion there. You need to walk the entire museum. It has some excellent displays.

You’ll see displays featuring animals specific to a region or climate. You can see lions and tigers hunting prey.

Sioux Falls
Delbridge Museum has a grand collection of animal exhbits

You can also see animals from the American plains, such as bison, coyotes and prairie dogs.

Sioux Falls
Plains animals

I liked seeing a water buffalo. The odds are I’ll never see one in real life, but to see them in a museum setting is a decent alternative.

Sioux Falls
Water buffalo

The Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History are a great pair in sharing the stories of wild animals and conservation efforts. We suggest checking them out when in Sioux Falls. In addition, the zoo honors reciprocal admission for other zoos. Since we are members of the Omaha zoo, we received a 50 percent discount for our admission. Not shabby.

For more information on the zoo and museum, please visit www.greatzoo.org or www.visitsiouxfalls.com.