New animal attractions slither, crawl and lumber at Niabi Zoo

Local News

Kito the rhino rests in the shade at Niabi Zoo.

New attractions, from “spineless wonders” to a rare rhino are among the new exhibits at Niabi Zoo, Coal Valley.

“The Niabi Zoo is coming back strong from a difficult pandemic period,” said Director Lee Jackson. “With exciting new exhibits, and amazing new animals, now is the perfect time to come out and explore the zoo and rediscover what Niabi has to offer!”

Now, with all the buildings open to the public, guests can finally see the newest special exhibit, “Spineless Wonders,” a news release says. An exploration into the world of invertebrates, you’ll see animals that make up more than 97% of all animal life. The exhibit houses a cross-section of these animals, including black widow spiders, giant robber crabs, sea anemones, tarantulas and more.

Just this past Monday, Iowa, a 2-year-old Amur leopard, made her debut and was introduced to Jilin, the zoo’s 3-year-old male. Iona arrived from the Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens in the United Kingdom.

The Niabi Zoo is a partner in the international conservation efforts to help save this critically endangered cat (there are about 50 left in the wild). “We are honored and excited to have been chosen to host and manage such an important individual from such a critically endangered species. It speaks very well of the regard in which Niabi is held in the international conservation community,” said Jackson.

“Our famously beloved Colobus Monkey Troop has also seen some changes recently. Kenna, a 7-year-old female, recently joined our group and is fitting in nicely with her new family,” Jackson said.

“Kenna came to us as part of a captive management plan that oversees the population management of all Colobus monkeys in North America. Our goal is that she eventually becomes a mom and helps assure the continued strength of the population”.

“And of course there’s “Kito” the Niabi Zoo’s first White Rhinoceros that famously made his debut at Niabi just a few weeks ago,” Jackson said.

Here are a few tips to help you plan your visit

Now, when you visit the zoo you will not be required to wear a mask during train or carousel rides. Masks or face shields are still required in buildings and at giraffe feedings.

While the zoo encourages purchasing admission and activity tickets online, visitors now have the option to buy tickets when they arrive.

Timed entry blocks have been eliminated, so visitors can arrive at the zoo and depart at their convenience.

Zoo staff will continue to perform increased disinfection in high-traffic areas, and provide additional hand washing stations around the park. Guests also are asked to respect social-distancing guidelines.

The zoo is open from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. seven days per week, with last entry at 2 p.m.

To plan your visit, go to

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