Show All Answers
No, Sunset Zoo cannot assist with removing wild, hurt, or abandoned animals. If you live within Manhattan, KS limits contact Manhattan's Animal Control at RCPD by calling 785-537-2112, and press 0 for dispatch. For help with an injured animal, call Kansas State University Veterinary School at 785-532-5690.
With any animal we want to make sure we are able to provide the highest level of care. When making a decision to exhibit a species, the resources must be available to build an exhibit that reflects the animal’s wild habitat, as well having staff to properly care for the new animals. The zoo currently only uses about half of the land it has available and is always exploring ways to expand.
Many AZA zoos and aquariums have multi-species habitats that house different species that would naturally co-exist in the wild. The maned wolf and giant anteater could be found living in the same area and are not natural predators of one another. At Sunset Zoo, our animals are perfectly happy living alongside one another.
It depends on the animal and how safe it would be for the animal care staff. With some of our more dangerous animals like the tiger, chimpanzees, or hyenas, animal care staff will never go into exhibit while animal is present and free roaming the exhibit. All animal exhibits include several spaces where animal care staff can care for the animals in a safe and secure space completely separate from the animal. These exhibits allow staff to shift the animals between several spaces so keepers can go into the space to clean or work on the exhibit. There are some animals where keepers can occupy the same space safely, such as the flamingos and prairie dogs.
In 1933 the City of Manhattan purchased a tract of land called Sunset Cemetery. Portions of this land were deemed unusable because the soil was too rocky for cemetery plots and this area became Sunset Zoo featuring up-close view of animals around the world.
In 2012, the Zoo opened the first phase of the John Woodard Memorial Gibbons Exhibit and the Nature Exploration Center, an entryway and education facility. In 2013, with the help of Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, the Zoo renovated and expanded an on-grounds veterinary clinic. In 2014, the Zoo opened the second phase of the gibbons exhibit, revitalizing a historic limestone exhibit and guest viewing plaza. In 2022, Sunset Zoo unveiled Expedition Asia featuring brand new exhibits for amur leopards, sloth bears, and Malayan tigers.
Learn more about Sunset Zoo's Master Plan.
The Nature Exploration Center is a facility housing the administrative office, multi-purpose classrooms, and the Wild Wonders Room. When the Nature Exploration Center rotunda is open, guests can view reptiles in octo-viewers and assorted reptiles, amphibians, and mammals in the Wild Wonders Room. The Nature Exploration Center also houses Sunset Zoo's education animals utilized for education programs on and off grounds.
Yes, Sunset Zoo offers a variety of rental opportunities including spaces in the Nature Exploration Center with multi-purpose classrooms, Expedition Asia overlook pavilion, and the historic limestone covered pavilion for your next party, celebration, rehearsal, or wedding. Contact SunsetZoo@cityofmhk.com for details or call 785-587-2737 for a consultation.
Sunset Zoo offers several volunteer opportunities for teens and adults. Visit the Sunset Zoo's website to complete an online volunteer application and a zoo staff member will be in touch. For more information, visit the volunteer page.
Click here to see open positions at Sunset Zoo. You will be directed to the City of Manhattan's Job Opportunities page with detailed job descriptions available. There are a variety of opportunities in the zoo community. To learn more about these careers, visit the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' website. Also, you can volunteer at your local zoo, the opportunities are endless and the experience will be invaluable in your job search.
Membership to Sunset Zoo is a great value! A year-round membership through the Friends of Sunset Zoo includes free zoo admission for a year plus discounted admission to over 150 zoos around the United States. There are many other great benefits and a variety of membership levels depending on your needs. Additionally, membership dollars provide crucial support to the zoo in the areas of animal care, conservation, and professional development for staff. Visit the membership page to learn more.
Sunset Zoo is open year-round April to October 9:30am to 5:00pm and November to March 12:00pm to 5:00pm. Sunset Zoo exhibits begin closing at 4:30pm daily. Sunset Zoo is closed on Thanksgiving, day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas day, New Year's day, and Employee Training Days. Visit www.SunsetZoo.com for more information.
Sunset Zoo is open year-round April to October 9:30am to 5:00pm and November to March 12:00pm to 5:00pm. During the colder months, some birds will not be viewable or on exhibit. Most of the animals enjoy the cold and snow and will always have access to behind the scenes dens with access to warm spots, food, and water.
Any time is a good time but if you want the best chance of seeing the animals active it is typically best to visit right when we open, particularly in the warmer months. At this time, the animals are headed out into their public exhibits and grabbing something to eat. By mid-afternoon (after 4:30pm) the animals are ready for a nap, much like us!
Sunset Zoo closes daily at 5:00pm. Exhibits begin closing at 4:30pm. We set our hours based on Kansas weather and when guests have the best possible chance to view the animal collection.
Sunset Zoo's gift shop is open April to October 9:30am to 5:00pm daily and November to March 12:00pm to 5:00pm daily. Visit the Guest Services page for up to date Expedition Café concession business hours.
We do not offer military discounts on daily admission to the Zoo, however the Friends of Sunset Zoo does offer a $5 off discount on select annual memberships. Additionally, we host Military Appreciation Day each November, offering free admission to active military, retired military, gold-star members, and their families.
We do not offer senior discounts on daily admission to the Zoo, however we do offer senior level Friends of Sunset Zoo Memberships.
Wheelchairs and electric wheelchairs are not available for rent. Zoo guests are encouraged to bring their wheelchairs, electric wheelchairs, wagons, and strollers to the park.
Outside animals and pets are not permitted into Sunset Zoo.
The following items are not allowed on Sunset Zoo grounds: bicycles, skateboards, scooters, in-line skates, sports equipment, balloons, radio/music devices, glass containers, hoverboards, drones, street licensed/gas powered mobility devices, pets, grills, alcohol, other items may apply. Visit the Rules & Regulations page to learn more.
Please do not feed Sunset Zoo's animal residents. All the zoo animals are on high-quality diets to ensure a happy, long, healthy life. When animals are fed outside food they can become very sick and require medical attention. Feeding opportunities are available during summer months with select reptiles. Personal up-close feedings are available for guinea pigs, red pandas, and sloth bears, visit Animal Encounters page for details, booking, and pricing.
Sunset Zoo permits outside food and drink. The following food and drink related items are prohibited: glass containers, alcohol, and grills. Picnic tables are located at the covered pavilion and around Expedition Café concession stand. Handicap-accessible picnic tables are located near Expedition Café concession stand. Guests are permitted to enjoy the limestone seating at the outdoor Chautauqua Amphitheater. Expedition Cafe also features tasty treats including sandwich baskets, snacks, frozen dessert, and more!
Sunset Zoo offers push wagons, single strollers, and double strollers for rent. Visit the Guest Services page for pricing and details.
See Something, Say Something! Sunset Zoo staff are present daily throughout the park during regular business hours, but may not see everything you see or hear. If you notice a distressed animal or a guest(s) exhibiting inappropriate behavior towards an animal resident, property, or other guest(s), REPORT IT by calling guest services at 785-587-2737.
Sunset Zoo being close proximity to the Fort Riley base, guests can expect to hear loud booms and experience shaking buildings. This is normal activity and will cease momentarly.
Riley County Emergency Management and Riley County Police Department Dispatch Center test the outdoor warning sirens the first Monday of each month at 10:30am. With one siren located along the large water tower at the end of the zoo parking lot, it can be loud and startling. Do not panic. If this was a real emergency instruction will follow the sirens notifying residents of a weather emergeency. We encourage guess with sensory issues to arrive after the scheduled tests. Sign up for Riley County Emergency notifications here.
Sunset Zoo offers group rates for 20 people or more, as well as School and Non-Profit group visit rates with 2 week advance notice required. Visit the Group and School Admission page for details.
Sunset Zoo Education Department offers a variety of classes and programs to provide groups, families, and individual an in-person and virtual experience of the natural world. Visit the Education Page for more details.
Sunset Zoo welcomes breastfeeding and nursing mothers. We do not have a mothers room, but we are happy to accommodate zoo guests with a private, comfortable, climate-controlled area in our Nature Exploration Center for breastfeeding, nursing, or other private needs. Please stop by the guest services building or call guest services at 785-587-2737 for details.
Sunset Zoo is now 100% digital for Friends of Sunset Zoo memberships! This allows members to use their phone as a membership card, help us reduce our plastic footprint and fuel our conservation efforts.