Catch up with the latest news at LRZ with articles, press releases, and other fun updates

written and created by Zoo Staff.

The Lee Richardson Zoo is currently open daily from 8AM to 5PM with the drive through closing at 4PM.


The Finnup Center for Conservation Education will be open Monday through Friday from 8AM to 5PM.

Guests may notice a few changes during their next visit.  The zoo will have two entry gates open at the archway main entrance to allow separate paths of entry and exit. 

Beginning at the entrance, and throughout the zoo’s pathways, guests will find yellow paw prints on the sidewalk spaced six feet apart as a reminder to practice social distancing from other zoo guests. 

Guests are encouraged to avoid large groups, wear masks, and to wash their hands after using high touch areas such as pop machines, water fountains, playground equipment, and interactive displays. 


The Marie Osterbuhr Aviary will remain temporarily closed. 


Thank you for your support of Lee Richardson Zoo, we look forward to having you back safely. 

LRZ is Open!

ABC's with an Animal Twist

By Kristi Newland, Zoo Director

To start off the new year with some stress-free fun,

here’s an animal version of the ABCs that we’ve done.


A is for Alpaca with their fleece so fluffy and warm.

B is for Binturong whose young may smell like popcorn.

C is for Camel, one hump or two.

D is for Dragonflies so colorful to me and to you.

E is for bald Eagle.  Conservation helped their population rebound.

F is for black-footed Ferrets, one of the most endangered animals around.

G is for Giraffe, each with a pattern of their own.

H is for Honeybee: queen, worker, or drone.

I is for Impala, an antelope that can jump ten feet high.

J is for Jaguar, the cat with the most powerful bite, oh my.

K is for Koala that eats eucalyptus leaves.

L is for Lemurs that live in Madagascar in trees.

M is for Monkeys; their tails show they’re not apes.

N is for Nautilus, a cephalopod with a shell spiral-shape.

O is for Octopus, an invertebrate that’s smart.

P is for Piranha, whose triangular teeth are sharp.

Q is for Quoll, to whom foxes and cane toads are hurdles.

R is for Reptiles, which includes lizards, snakes, and turtles.

S is for Sloth; they move slow and have curved claws.

T is for Takin; their size and strength give you pause.

U is for Umbrellabird that migrates up the mountains and down.

V is for Vulture; there are many different species world ‘round.

W is for Walrus, a large marine mammal with tusks that are white.

X is for Xerus, a small African ground squirrel that’s striped.

Y is for Yak wild in China, Nepal, and Tibet.

Z is for Zorilla; they look like odd skunks, you bet.


Now that we’ve done our animal ABCs, step outside, look around, come to the zoo, and see what you see. 

(By the way, only some of the animals mentioned above reside at Lee Richardson Zoo.)

L is for Lemurs!
Photo: Emily S.  Communication Specialist

Winter Fun

By Julianne Werts, Education Coordinator

In preparation for the holidays, many people deck their halls with bows of holly, lights, and other ornaments. We do things a little differently here for the animals. Instead, we deck the Zoo with lots of browse as we wait for the winter critters to rouse!

                Browse is what we call branches and leaves that we offer to the animals as part of their diet. Many of our herbivorous animals enjoy munching on sticks and tearing the leaves off of branches, much like their wild counterparts would. Much of the browse we source is from local trees and bushes around the Zoo and Garden City. We are always very careful about what browse we offer though, as some plants can be toxic to animals. Each individual has a specific diet with a variety of browse, fruits or veggies, grains, and whatever else they need to stay healthy.

                We have a number of “winter critters” living here at the Zoo as well! If you visit our North American Plains area, you can see a few of them. You might notice that the bison don their winter coats. As the temperatures get colder, their fur grows in thicker to keep them warm. This is common for many animals that live in areas where parts of the year are warm, while other times are cold. As we move into spring and summer, you will see them start to shed this thicker fur, so they don’t get too hot as the temperatures rise.

                Some of the other winter critters you can find here at the Zoo live in the Wild Asia area. If you come here on colder days, you might be able to see the red pandas exploring or the takins roaming in their yard. Both of these species are from mountainous areas of Asia. Temperatures in these areas can reach well below freezing, so they are well built to survive in the cold. They are also both excellent climbers, but in very different ways. Red pandas spend most of their time up in trees eating bamboo. Their long tails help keep them balanced as they climb. The takins are more mountain climbers! They are related to sheep, and their hooves help them keep steady footing on the rocky sections of the mountains where they live. They even have the ability to stand straight up on their hind legs to help them reach for food!

                We hope that you will visit us around the holidays this year. While the weather might be chilly, there is still plenty of fun to be had here at the Zoo! Maybe you’ll spot the browse that feeds the animals, or the winter coats that help keep them warm. Until then, we wish you a very happy holiday season from your friends at the Lee Richardson Zoo!

Bison covered in snow.
Photo: Emily S.  Communication Specialist

312 E Finnup Drive

Garden City, KS 67846

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