|Location||Manhattan, Kansas, USA|
|No. of animals||330+|
|No. of species||105|
The zoo exists to “inspire conservation of the natural world” by engaging and inspiring over 100,000 annual visitors to actively embrace conservation. The zoo's vision is to create an educational atmosphere where people can learn about the natural wonders of the surrounding world and their personal role in its preservation.
In 1929, the city of Manhattan purchased land called Sunset Cemetery. Part of the land was unusable to bury people in because of too rocky soil. This area then became Sunset Zoo. Until 1934, the zoo was not chartered as a park; but there were animals at the zoo as early as 1930. The zoo, however, holds 1933 as the founding year.
The zoological park has served the community for over 70 years, providing a cultural and educational examination of the natural world. Dr. E.J. Frick, zoo founder and former head of surgery and medicine at the Kansas State University School of Veterinary Medicine, volunteered to acquire, provide care for, and display animals for 43 years. The city obtained its original funding from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) for the initial construction of animal exhibits, buildings and walkways. Much of this original native limestone work has been preserved, serving as educational examples of zoo and social history, and remains part of the zoo’s Master Plan.
In 1980, citizens of Manhattan encouraged the City Commission to build a modern zoo. This led to the development of a Zoo Master Plan and city approval to charge a small admission fee. All revenue generated from admissions is used for new construction, renovations, improvements, and maintenance. This additional source of income allowed Sunset Zoo to increase its level of commitment to animal care, education, and conservation. Sunset Zoo applied for, and received, accreditation by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) in 1989. The zoo continues its commitment to upholding those high standards, and has maintained accreditation ever since.