Expedition Asia at the Sunset Zoo in Manhattan, KS is finally open to the public! With the Grand Opening being held this past weekend! This highly anticipated space has been a long-awaited addition to the Sunset Zoo! This project has been the largest endeavor since the Zoo opened in 1933.
Expedition Asia has been a passion project for many Friends of the Sunset Zoo, Board Members, Community Members, and more. This $4.3 Millions dollar exhibit provides a world-class experience for visitors of the Sunset Zoo. The immersive exhibit allows for not only education but also to help provide the animals with a more natural forest habit.
As you approach the entrance to the Expedition Asia, visitors are instantly immersed in the exhibit. First is the Malayan Tiger. When I visited, Hakem the Malayan Tiger was stretched out and enjoying some sun while lying in the lush green grass!
Heading left down the pathway, past the Chuck's Car Wash memorial fountain, were the Sloth Bears. These Sisters were having a fun day playing what seemed to be a never-ending game of tag. In one doorway and out the other, there was a constant chase happening in their house, probably like most sisters! LOL
On my way to the take in the views from the pavilion, I passed the second viewing area for the Malayan Tiger. It was a pleasant surprise and gave an even more up close and personal viewing as you can see by the photos below! I can't wait to come back and as the grass grows to see how the Malayan Tiger's stripes provide concealment in the tall grass!
After enjoying the pavilion and thinking about how many wonderful events this area will hold. I am so excited to return during Wine in the Wild, Brew at the Zoo, and then SPOOKtacular! I continued to the Amur Leopard. The volunteer that was working allowed me and other visitors a chance to feel pelts of leopards and cheetahs. While I had never thought much about the difference, it was astonishing, we were able to not only feel the difference but see it as well. Val is the Amur Leorpads at Sunset Zoo. I was shocked to hear that it is estimated that less than 35 remain in the wild due to poaching and habitat loss for these amazing animals. Amur Leopards are considered one of the rarest big cats on earth!
Continuing down the Asian Forest Trail in the Expedition Asia at the Sunset Zoo you will find the Red Pandas that were enjoying an afternoon nap while I was there! The Red Panda habitat is in a perfect shady spot that I could understand how one would enjoy their nap time. To be within feet of these animals was amazing!
Up next, the White-Handed Gibbon! The White-Handed Gibbons was very busy, well at least a couple of them. As the two were maneuvering their way around I could not help but observe the one enjoying his perch on the highest walkway and allowing the other two to come to him versus chasing his friends.
After the Gibbons, I decided to grab some lunch at the Cafe located right outside of the entrance to Expedition Asia. Then I decided to find some shade while I enjoyed lunch in the Amphitheater. On my way out I headed to some of my other favorites at the zoo. The flamingos, peacocks, and of course I had to stop by and see Susie! When you go to the Sunset Zoo you always have to stop by and say hi to her. Susie is the oldest living chimp in human care, at 67 (2022) she has brought many celebrities to the Zoo.
The Sunset Zoo is in some ways a hidden treasure in Manhattan, KS. Tucked in behind a neighborhood and along the hillside, once you enter you are transported to another place. Not only do I enjoy the Zoo for the learning opportunities, but it is also a phenomenal workout! LOL If you plan to make a trip to the Zoo, you will want to plan for an afternoon, there is really so much to take in!