Hours: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Admission: $12 Adults, $7 Child. The Zoo will be closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. The Zoo will close at 1:30 pm on December 18
Celebrating The Vision With Your Support
Connecting… Captivating… Inspiring…
Fifty years ago there was a vision to captivate the hearts and minds of Iowans leaving them feeling inspired and connected to the animal world in a way they had never felt before. This December, Blank Park Zoo celebrates the 50th anniversary of the very first plans to build Iowa’s first, and still, only Zoo.
What may be the most noteworthy thing to commemorate is the vision that leaders and citizens embraced as they sat down to plan, strategize and build: a vision to provide one-of-a-kind experiences that capture the hearts of young and old alike, connect them to the natural world, and inspire them to take part in caring for our planet.
As this year comes to an end, we look back and want to thank our generous members, donors and friends for their continued support of Blank Park Zoo. It is because of you that the long standing vision of Iowa’s only Zoo still remains.
Let’s take a look back at the highlights of the last 50 years!
1963: With the help of civic leaders and passionate citizens, the City of Des Moines signs an agreement to build a children’s zoo on December 23.
1966: The Des Moines Children’s Zoo opens on May 8.
1986: The all-new, 22-acre Blank Park Zoo opens May 17. Now featuring a zoogeographic theme with spacious, naturally landscaped outdoor environments for animals and people, it is no longer just a “children’s zoo.”
2001: The Myron and Jackie Blank Discovery Center opens, featuring indoor exhibits – a vision for a year-round visitor experience is adopted making Blank Park Zoo a “zoo for all seasons.”
2003: A new era in the history of Blank Park Zoo is reached when operations and management are transferred from the City of Des Moines to the Blank Park Zoo Foundation. Expansion plans begin.
2013: The largest capital expansion to date opens on May 4 with Gateway to Africa. Attendance, education programs and events are at an all-time high.