Home to over 400 specimens of more than 100 species, the Tautphaus Park Zoo provides an opportunity for local residents and guests alike to learn about wildlife and the natural world in an exciting and fun environment. The zoo, located between Boulevard and Rollendet, is a seven-acre oasis filled with animals from around the world. Owned and operated by the city of Idaho Falls, the zoo has been a unique recreational setting in the community since 1935.
Zoo highlights include exhibits depicting the natural environments of animals from North and South America, Africa, Asia and Australia plus a children’s zoo housing domestic animals for little ones to touch or meet up close. Visitor favorites include Penguin Cove, home to a colony of African penguins and the Primate Discovery Center exhibiting eight different species including lemurs, monkeys and gibbons.
Many exhibit areas like the Land Down Under and Asian Adventure not only display animals native to that region but immerse the guest into the culture and landscape of a continent or country. A wurley or aboriginal hut provides a shady spot for visitors to watch the wallabies, black swans and emus.
A variety of Asian plants including bamboo create hiding places for the endangered red panda and snow leopard. Asian Adventure, which opened in 2005 and 2006, also displays sloth bears, an Amur Tiger, red-crowned cranes and Bactrian camels.
The zoo was accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in 1998 which verifies that the zoo maintains the highest standards in animal care, exhibition, education and conservation. With over 2,500 licensed animal exhibitors in the United States, the Tautphaus Park Zoo is one of only 212 facilities that meet the AZA standards.
The zoo proudly participates in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for 37 different species of threatened or endangered animals. SSP’s are conservation programs managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums with the goal of preserving endangered animals for future generations through captive breeding programs. Through these programs the zoo has successfully raised an African lion, seven cotton-topped tamarin monkeys, five snow leopards and 10 African penguins.
A variety of educational programs for all ages are offered throughout the year. Overnight safaris allow campers to pitch a tent and spend the night listening to the sometimes eerie sounds of the midnight zoo. Zoo school classes and week-long camps for school children cover topics such as endangered species, habitat preservation and zoo design. You can even take a peek behind the scenes during a scheduled program. Zoo education volunteers provide tours and outreach presentations to a variety of children's groups and nursing homes.
The zoo presents several signature events. Two of the most popular are Earth Day (an all-day community event to foster appreciation and good stewardship of our planet) and Boo at the Zoo is (the facility's huge end-of-season fundraising event filled with lights, pumpkins, tricks, treats, contests and more.
For more information call 612-8552 or visit www.idahofallsidaho.gov.