Tanganyika Wildlife Park

Forget We Bought A Zoo!  This family built one from the ground up.  Learn more about the fascinating origins of Tanganyika and how we built a world-class collection of animals.

Our Origin Story

It all started for Jim Fouts as a boy when his grandfather gave him a San Diego Zoo guide book. Jim became fascinated with animals at a young age and would ultimately get his start in the animal world as a keeper in1972 at the Sedgwick County Zoo (SCZ). He was hired as a night keeper at the farms overseeing chickens, goats, and cows.

Shortly after Jim had started at the SCZ, Jim dreamed of having his own collection of animals. He settled on rare doves and pheasants because they were beautiful and frankly easier to aquire than rhinos or okapis. Working at SCZ was helping him gain animal experience, but he would need to expand his network if he was going to find the birds he desired. So, he began to attend Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) conferences and bird association conferences where he met many new people.

After 5 ½ years of working at the zoo and expanding his network of professional zoo contacts, Jim chose to devote his time to breeding birds. Shortly after leaving, a colleague had mentioned an import company that needed someone with animal experience to care for animals that were being shipped from Bolivia. Jim traveled to Bolivia where he lived for two years caring for animals that were in quarantine and being prepared to ship. During that time, he learned the import process and established new sources for rare birds. 

Jim Fouts on Safari in Africa
Sherri Fouts with Lenny the Leopard Cub
Matt Fouts, Tanganyika's Director

Having conquered South America at 28 years old, Jim set his sights on Africa. After a few successful trips to Africa, Jim and his wife, Sherri purchased USDA Quarantine Facility in California. Their initial success in Africa led to more orders from major zoos across the country. As a result, they started importing birds from all over the world. 

In just 10 years, Jim had become one of the country’s leading importers for rare birds. He was the “go to” person for most of the top zoos in the country. But he still had bigger dreams. He wanted to build a world-class breeding facility in the United States.

In 1985, they bought five acres in Goddard, built their first barn and the home of Tanganyika was established. By 1987, they built a second building for tigers. Jim acquired a pure white female named, Shubra, and a male named, Benny, who was the last live mascot for the Cincinnati Bengals football team. Two years later, Benny and Shubra had their first pair of kittens and Tanganyika established itself as a breeding facility which to this day is extremely important in the zoo world.

In 2000, they started doing guided tours through their backyard. The first version of the guided tour would take about an hour and guests would see seven species of animals. They offered giraffe feeding and lemur feeding through the fence, and that is when they realized just how much they could strengthen the connection between people and the natural world through interactive experiences.

By 2004, over 4,000 people were visiting the park despite having very few amenities and no parking lot. At that time, Jim and Sherri, along with their son, Matt, decided to expand. However, they knew for it to be successful, it would have to be a world-class facility. They took a portion of the 51 acres and constructed a zoo from the ground up. Some of you may have seen the movie We Bought A Zoo with Matt Damon, well they BUILT a zoo from the ground up!

Over the past eight years, we have grown into the third largest animal collection in Kansas, and one of the largest attractions in the state.

On August 2 of 2008 Tanganyika Wildlife Park officially opened with 15 exhibits and three interactive areas. Over the past eight years, we have grown into the third largest animal collection in Kansas, and one of the largest attractions in the state. We have over 40 exhibits featuring 10 interactive stations, over 400 animals and 37 successful breeding programs. 

Our family-owned facility right here in Goddard, KS continues to be a world leader in breeding rare and endangered species. 

The Fouts family has built one of the largest, family-owned zoos in the country from nothing. They didn’t receive any government funds or grants to build it. They did it with hard work, dedication and passion to be stewards for animals in their care and in the wild. They did it with the support of visitors like you.

See What People Are Saying About Us!

Tanganyika Wildlife Park
4.8
Based on 1646 reviews
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Alison Ostertag
Alison Ostertag
17:53 29 Jun 21
This was a perfect place for a Girls Weekend Get Away (especially when 3 of your girls are under the age of 5!) We were impressed with the cleanliness of the grounds. The animals seemed happy and well taken care of. The bathrooms were exceptionally clean. I appreciated that we were able to bring in our own food and drinks!We enjoyed feeding the animals! The only thing I would’ve done differently is that I would have purchased the unlimited feeding pass.read more
Michelle Ross
Michelle Ross
15:54 20 Jun 21
This park is beautiful! The animals are clearly happy and well taken care of. All of the staff is very friendly. Loved that they take digital images sent right to your phone so you capture all the fun experiences. My kids had a blast. We live 3.5 hours away but I think this is a trip we will make every summer now.read more
Rachel Smith
Rachel Smith
16:24 07 Jun 21
The Tanganyika Wildlife Park was amazing for our entire family. We had a birthday party there and the party room was perfect size and a great place to cool down. I would definitely recommend a birthday party there. The facility is very clean and the animals are active throughout the day. The petting zoo and animal feedings were so fun. The Lemurs were by far our favorite. We can’t wait for our next trip back!read more
Lori Graves
Lori Graves
18:11 03 Jun 21
My grandson had a birthday party there recently and we were very satisfied with the whole experience. Everyone had a great time!The place was clean and well kept.It was raining so we had the birthday party indoors. The staff was very helpful and even offered to help with cleaning after the party was over.It was stress free.We are looking forward to having his next birthday party at Tanganyika Park next year. I would definitely recommend Tanganyika Park to anyone looking for a place for gathering for any occasion.read more
Lesli G
Lesli G
01:32 02 Jun 21
This was our first visit, but we will definitely be back! We loved being able to feed and touch the animals! The smaller size of the zoo makes it easy to navigate, but there is not a shortage of animals to see. The facilities are well maintained and clean. The animals are well cared for and friendly. The staff are knowledgeable, helpful and friendly. Very impressive. A fun day for adults and children alike. Looking forward to many more visits!read more
Robin Chavet
Robin Chavet
01:43 31 May 21
The entire staff was amazing! They are so kind and answer all your questions. We couldn’t believe how nice the habitats were kept. The animals were active, interactive, no one was pacing, and they were all so close and impressive. Many opportunities to interact with the animals, feed, and touch some. Don’t miss the birds-one of the best kept secrets. Grounds are well maintained. Over all just an outstanding and educational opportunity. We love the information posted about the animal. I am not a fan of zoos. This is a different experience and the animals seemed happy and healthy. If you are in the area – don’t miss it. If we would have stayed another day or two, we would have bought season tickets. One day is not enough. Enjoy!read more
Kris Bush
Kris Bush
22:11 20 May 21
A must see for any animal fan. The staff is so friendly and informative. They are more then willing to share information on the animals. The place was very well maintain, from the animal exhibits to the grounds. The park is very lovely, nice walkways and plenty of bench to just relax and listen to the sounds of the park.We drove all the way from Minnesota to visit this park and we said we WILL be coming back!Thank you Tanganyika Wildlife Park for a wonderful timeread more
Janet Ewy
Janet Ewy
13:02 12 May 21
I highly recommend the Origins Behind the Scenes tour! The experience truly exceeding any and all of our expectations. It is fascinating to learn the history of the park and how it has grown and evolved over the years. I don’t want to give away the secrets of this tour, so I’ll just say that you don’t want to miss it!!read more
Marissa Stucky
Marissa Stucky
21:10 09 May 21
I did not know what to expect when I signed up for the Mandrill painting experience, hoping for an amazing interaction for my 3 year old son. We were not disappointed! We got to hold the canvas outside of the cage while the trainers influenced Dimitri to make his artistic mark which we got to take home to enjoy. We also got plenty of pictures to remember the unique experience.read more
Breanna Henry
Breanna Henry
15:48 07 May 21
Our school took our third graders here for a field trip. We had a really good time and the kids loved it! They enjoyed getting to feed the animals and Erinn did an awesome job during the education program. She made the kids laugh and also taught them a lot about myths and legends of certain animals. We will definitely be looking to come back in future years!read more
Melissa Steven
Melissa Steven
13:47 13 Apr 21
If you want to go somewhere unlike any other place you’ve been, Tanganyika is a must! The wildly different experiences are amazing. You can feed Rhinos, Pygmy Hippos, Giraffes, & Penguins, just to name a few. The animals are happy and healthy and it’s fun to watch all the different personalities. A few stations require reservations, which is awesome for many different reasons; crowd control, animal welfare, and shorter wait times, are a few of those reasons. I would highly recommend Tanganyika for ALL age groups!!read more
Melanie Lewis
Melanie Lewis
03:17 29 Mar 21
My kids and I absolutely loved this park! We drove from KCMO and it was worth every penny. The staff was helpful and always willing to stop and share knowledge. The animal interactions were super cool. We did the sloth experience, got to feed penguins, lemurs, giraffes, bunnies, and tortoises, got to pet the kangaroos. Beyond the interactions there are several other animals to see as well. We got there at opening and spent all day. It definitely gets much busier later in the day which causes some of the lines to get a bit long (we waited in line for the lemurs for almost an hr). I will say the online booking can be a little confusing but you can text, email or call with any questions. Overall it was definitely something we will do again some day.read more
Kayls Wolfe
Kayls Wolfe
19:35 22 Mar 21
Love this place. Spring break week was little crazy though. Feel like too many reservations are allowed to be made for lemurs. We had to wait in line at least 30 minutes with having a reservation. But it’s such a cool experience. Staff is excellentread more
kimberly Matous
kimberly Matous
01:35 21 Mar 21
To start off. It takes forever to buy your tickets.Be ready to wait. Because of covid they only have one concession stand. With one cashier. You have to go into a enclosed building and stand in a long line with lots of people. Instead of using the other concession stands. So not crowded into one room. Makes no sense. But other than that the zoo is niceread more
Brianna Burger
Brianna Burger
16:56 18 Mar 21
I was so impressed with all of the amazing staff at TWP. They made the day so special. The sloth keeper was so kind and answered all of my niece’s questions. We also had a birthday party for my other niece. The staff member that assisted with the party made each and every child feel special; she asked them what their favorite animal was and then told them interesting facts about the animals. I highly recommend TWP if you are looking for something unique, fun, and different!read more
Grant Peterson
Grant Peterson
04:16 09 Mar 21
Our first visit to Tanganyika was great. We came for a visit with the park’s pigs and ended up being the only two signed up for the event. The staff could not have been more accommodating taking us behind the scenes and then setting up with passes to feed the animals. My son absolutely loved every minute of it, especially feeding the lemurs and checking out the playground slides (biggest slide he’s ever been on alone!). We ended up purchasing the season pass and can’t wait to come back again and again this summer.read more
Rachel Dixon
Rachel Dixon
17:38 22 Feb 21
Our private experience with the okapi was absolutely fantastic! It far exceeded any expectations we had. Our guide, Robert, was outstanding and so patient when my daughter was a bit apprehensive about feeding the animal. He also answered all our questions and you can tell that he genuinely loves his job. This was our first time visiting, but we are already planning our next time back. Cannot recommend enough!read more
Deborah Wise
Deborah Wise
23:07 17 Feb 21
Bob and his team went above and beyond to ensure that my granddaughter and her guests had a Sloth Experience for her birthday that they will always remember. Five stars are not enough. Highest recommendations. These folks are the best. Many thanks from a grateful grandmother.read more
Kimberly Zimmerman
Kimberly Zimmerman
05:03 28 Jan 21
They do such a good job engaging the kids and making it comfortable for the parents. The books are entertaining for the kids and my daughter loves being able to see the special guests. Being a frequent attende to the park, it is so fun to interact with the animals on a more personal level! Today she was so excited to have pet Chewy the sloth!read more
Shay Lindstrom
Shay Lindstrom
16:37 25 Jan 21
My family and I love going to Tanganyika! We are season pass holders and have gone several times, and always had a pleasant experience! We hosted my daughter’s birthday party here and I’m so happy with how easy and laid back it was. You get a private party room, that Tanganyika staff will set up for you, just bring your cake and presents! We brought a few of our own decorations to add a theme to the party and set them up but it was so nice not to have to set up tables and chairs, or tear them down at the end! You get to pick 4 animals you want to be brought in to the party to learn and interact with, and I can not say enough great things about the patience the staff had with a lot of kids asking questions and being excited to see the animals! Love this place!read more
Kelly Brown
Kelly Brown
16:48 19 Jan 21
AMAZING!!! We drive 3 hours several times a year to go. My kids love it. So friendly and interactive. Animals are well kept , loved the social distancing by having animal encounters. We made a day of it and did four encounters ..and were not disappointed! We all do the various encounters and animal experiences every time we go and have not been disappointed! Love all the enrichment items for the animals. Staff are so friendly ..very helpful updating us on favorite animals like my son’s facination with Paco the penguin. He always askes about him.read more
Katie Harmon
Katie Harmon
03:58 13 Jan 21
As a Christmas present, my nieces and I met Mercury the penguin. The entire experience had us smiling so big our cheeks hurt. Mercury’s trainer was knowledgeable, friendly, and patient as she answered all our questions. She took time taking photos for us and allowed us to play with Mercury! I highly recommend adding the Connect and Preserve Package. My sweet niece has a penguin stuffed animal and other penguin themed items to remember our special day together! We can’t wait to meet the otters next time!read more
Steve Speck
Steve Speck
23:25 10 Jan 21
What a unique place Tanganyika is! It’s unbelievable how close you can get to the animals. Extremely friendly and knowledgeable staff! It’s a must-see to appreciate.read more
Leslie Anderson
Leslie Anderson
21:33 14 Dec 20
The Christmas event was worth the money spent. The kids were able to get a photo with Santa and the Grinch. They each completed 2 crafts and got to decorate a Christmas sugar cookie. Most other Christmas events charge $5 for each of these activities so the cost was appropriate for all the activities included. We had a group of 6 kids who enjoyed playing the winter kiddy games, too. A Christmas movie playing in the background was the perfect touch! However, we dressed way too warm with several layers because we didn’t realize almost every activity would take place indoors.read more
JoDee Bartel
JoDee Bartel
18:36 13 Dec 20
Hoofidays was a very cute event for Christmas. My kids (9 and 4) had an awesome time with every activity station. Santa was wonderful and really engaging. The Grinch was cool to see. He didn’t talk at all but gave the kids candy canes so they loved that! The ability to take the cookie and crafts back to your table was really appreciated and easy to keep pieces together. The games kept their interest and the girls running them were so patient and kind. Story time was very cool with the meet and greet special animal guest. The only tiny letdown may have been the goats. Although the kids loved feeding them, I had read in the description there would be a petting zoo. There weren’t any animals to pet, just little cups of food ($0.50 each) for the goats inside the cage. We all look forward to going again next year!!read more
Nichole Kelley
Nichole Kelley
19:07 16 Nov 20
This was an excellent program to wrap up our unit on animal groups and habitats. The presenter was really good and my kiddos really enjoyed it. Wished we could have heard the crane but unfortunately it was too much noise to be picked up virtually. I also wish it would have been the full hour. Great Job!read more
Joseph Dunworth
Joseph Dunworth
19:48 10 Nov 20
Tanganyika is a fantastic experience. It’s more intimate than a traditional zoo, especially with the variety of up close encounters they offer. On this particular visit we were able to feed the lemurs thanks to our frequent feeder pass, and we spent a few extra bucks (10 for each child) to feed the African penguins (incidentally, I noticed another group visiting with the sloths in the exhibit next door – that’s next on our list). My sons especially love the gibbons and other primates. If you are local, look for the season pass sale before St. Patrick’s Day. It’s easily the best deal for frequent visits.read more
Marcia Adversalo
Marcia Adversalo
01:31 10 Nov 20
We had a wonderful time at Tanganyika. We were able to go onto Lemur Island and the look on my daughter’s face as we fed the lemurs was priceless! The updated playground is always a favorite with my daughter and I love the additional tables and shelter near the playground so I can relax and enjoy the fun.read more
Amber Wermerskirchen
Amber Wermerskirchen
20:36 09 Nov 20
Such an incredible zoo!! So informative and you can tell everyone working here considers it a privilege and they love their jobs! The facility continues to grow and add more value even though it is already a great value. I can’t rave enough about how wonderful this place is!read more
John Lee
John Lee
20:49 14 Oct 20
This place is wonderful! A ton to see and you aren’t walking miles. Good facilities for animals and people at a great price. Paying a bit extra to get an encounter with a sloth was completely worth it! Up close to the animals and learning while having fun. Will definitely go back.read more
Apple Crisp
Apple Crisp
00:17 06 Oct 20
Had so much fun at Tanganyika; kids and adults alike! The staff was friendly and enthusiastic. The park was clean and beautiful with a variety of animals that kept us entertained. We offered the splash park to the kids toward the end of the day, but they wanted more time with the animals. We will definitely be back!read more
Josie Purvis
Josie Purvis
15:14 04 Oct 20
I absolutely loved my time at Tanganyika! Lots of cool animals to see and learn about for sure. I was hoping to see some lions, which they did not have, but they did have a few other big cats. Loved the nursery area and the monkeys!! The sloths and penguins were also really fun!read more
Rebekah Holbert
Rebekah Holbert
17:09 29 Sep 20
Our visit to Tanganyika’s Wildlife Park was outstanding! The animals looked happy and well kept. The staff was friendly and helpful. We had a Behind the Scenes Sloth experience and the keeper of sloths was friendly, outgoing, knowledgeable and loved to share and keep learning. So awesome and I would recommend to anyone!!read more
Shanda Strickland
Shanda Strickland
18:26 28 Sep 20
This place is absolutely AMAZING!! So much more than any zoo I have ever been to for a fraction of the cost. Fun was had by all of us from the adults to the 11 year old to the toddlers. Experiences that we have never gotten and will forever remember. So many memories were made during our trip. Thank you Tanganyika for being awesome!!read more
Kim McCluer
Kim McCluer
15:08 27 Sep 20
Great place, options for interactions are many. Interactions are a bit expensive, but worth it! My only complaint is that some of the interactions have been tamed down since my last visit a few years ago, not sure if COVID related or just to speed up the process. Otherwise a great morning spent in a well kept facility!read more
BJ Lehecka
BJ Lehecka
11:52 27 Sep 20
You can feed giraffes, tortoises, rabbits, lorikeets, lemurs, and more at this interactive zoo. It’s notably smaller than the Sedgwick County Zoo, but it’s home to several unique animals including white tigers, baby leopards, and kangaroos. It has a playground and splash pad near the exit of the penguin exhibit for the kiddos too.read more
Amanda Wilson
Amanda Wilson
14:15 23 Sep 20
I absolutely love this zoo. The enrichment experiences, their new splash pad is amazing, they have interactive story time/activity hours for little ones. Its everything you could want in a zoo and moreread more
Anthony E
Anthony E
18:39 20 Sep 20
beautiful zoo well organized, I just found the animals with a sad face.
Robin Mcelroy
Robin Mcelroy
00:53 16 Sep 20
Best coolest day . I got the unlimited pass ,got to feed the giraffe , lemurs and the birds hang with kangaroos and goats and an alpaca and so much more .missed out on hippo feeding due to feeding the giraffe .no camel ride because of covid .I would do it again a hundred times moreread more
Monica McKay
Monica McKay
22:14 05 Sep 20
Very interactive and user friendly. We did some of the optional activities. We had a great time!
JD Kirk
JD Kirk
21:19 03 Sep 20
I had a blasted at the new water park with the girls. It’s a nice “little” setup! Perfect for small events!
Pam Hilton
Pam Hilton
16:22 02 Sep 20
The new Splash Park is AMAZING!! I took my granddaughters yesterday (September 1) they had so much fun. Plus we got to see all of the animals. What a wonderful day!!!read more
Sarah Munkres
Sarah Munkres
17:41 30 Aug 20
Always a blast!! Season pass highly recommended with a feeding frenzy!!
Billy Nester
Billy Nester
23:26 24 Aug 20
Tanganyika is one of the best unique experiences here in the Wichita area! We purchase memberships for each of the members in our family, along with also attending the Tanganyika Twilight Tour each year. Whether you’re looking for a nice half day visit or planning an important milestone event, this place will deliver above and beyond! Matt and his team truly have an extraordinary venue! Did I mention you can even tie the knot here?! We did and it will forever be one of our “seven wonders of the world”!read more
Jose J Sanchez
Jose J Sanchez
15:13 23 Aug 20
I do not even know where to begin! We did the unlimited pass and were very very happy about our choice. We got there from 0800 and left at 1500! We did As many animal encounters as possible as well! This is such an amazing park and so interactive !!!!! My child loved it head!!!! I will definitely be coming back!!!! I would take this place over the zoo any day.The park wasn’t overly crowded and it is very laid out and organized that while you wait for your encounters or other animal feeding times you can do other things! I have no words except you have to experience it for yourself ! We are a military family and pretty well traveled and this by far has been one of my favorite places to visit that i will never forgetread more
Pamela Carver
Pamela Carver
18:06 11 Aug 20
Went on a day “date” with my husband…had the most amazing day ever! We purchased the “unlimited encounter” pass and did a meet and greet with the baby kangaroos. Everyone we spoke with was so nice and you could tell they have invested their hearts into this wildlife park. The keepers faces would light up speaking about the individual animals. They all have names and the keepers could tell you the little differences about each animal. There was a peaceful feeling in the air and feeding the little joey was the highlight of the day – and feeding the other animals too. I highly recommend taking a day and visiting this park. It is well worth the time and money!!read more
Melissa Kimble
Melissa Kimble
15:16 08 Aug 20
This place is AMAZING!! I’ve always loved penguins and getting to touch and interact with one was a dream come true. The Unlimited Encounter Pass was great as we got to touch and feed so many animals over and over-especially the lemurs! For a tactile person that LOVES animals, this place is the best. Everyone working there was so nice and helpful and everything was clean and well cared for. The only suggestion I have that could make this park even MORE amazing would be to offer some vegan food choices in the dining area.read more
Meredith Becker
Meredith Becker
03:21 03 Aug 20
I appreciate how responsive staff is to suggestions and how great the park is cared for. We got to see a baby kangaroo and learn several facts and I got to pet a rhino! I highly recommend this place. My kids love it.My only 2 suggestions would be to have 2 separate lines for members and guests to make entry go quicker for those just needing a quick scan and to provide lids for drinks purchased at coffee shop..which was one of the best tasting iced coffees I have gotten, and reasonably priced too! Just didn’t want to spill it while pushing a stroller.read more
Suzanne Battershell
Suzanne Battershell
15:58 29 Jul 20
BEST ZOO EVER! We visit every time we come see Mom! I just love this place. Plus, they are building a new water play area for the kids! It looks AMAZING! I can’t wait to bring my kids back! The early admission is so worth the extra $10 per person, too. The animals were super active and the park wasn’t busy at all. It was really nice.read more
Kimberly Barb
Kimberly Barb
17:48 22 Jul 20
I took my two children to visit this last time. It was so much fun!!! We had the opportunity to feed the penguins for an extra fee, but what a cool experience. I even joined the kids since I had never done it. They also fed the lemurs, hippo, giraffe and bunnies. There were misters to walk through to cool off which was nice on a hot day. We had a great day enjoying the park and can’t wait for the water park to open.read more
Bob Webster
Bob Webster
16:14 10 Jul 20
Very Well put together animal habitat. I really enjoyed all the foliage and plant life. Most Zoo’s feel wide open and barren. The park here is covered with trees and tall bamboo looking plants. Very pretty. Every one who works here was extremely helpful and friendly. The shaved ice guy was super nice. We will definitely put to use our season passes!read more
Glenda Fox
Glenda Fox
22:21 23 Jun 20
Very nice wildlife park! Was really wanting to engage with the Lemar’s but, I guess, you had to have an appointment to do so. One of my favorite things was the baby ducks that came up to you when you were getting food out of the “gumball” machine. All of them would eat right out of your hand! Then there was the turtle that came out of the water to get a piece of the food. Love unexpected experiences like that. The throaty roar of the white tiger was breathtaking, almost like he was roaring into a megaphone! This park is so well kept and I always enjoy bringing my grandchildren! Can’t wait until the splash park is complete!!read more
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