In 1899, the Gage Family donated 80 acres of land to the City of Topeka to be used as a public park for the citizens of Topeka. Today, Gage Park includes playgrounds, a swimming pool, fishing lake, mini train, rose garden, carousel and the Topeka Zoo.
The first animal exhibits were constructed in Gage Park in 1933. Additional exhibits were built during the 1950s and 1960s. And, in 1963, the city’s first Zoo Director was hired. The Zoo’s first major facility was constructed in 1966, under the leadership of long-time Zoo Director Gary K. Clarke, to house large mammals. Clarke’s legacy went on to include many of the exhibits enjoyed today by Zoo visitors, including the Tropical Rainforest, Discovering Apes, Gorilla Encounter and Lion’s Pride.
The Topeka Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, which assures excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors and a better future for all living things. The Zoo exists to strengthen the bond between people and the living earth by providing visitors with opportunities to:
Friends of the Topeka Zoo (FOTZ) was established in 1964 by community volunteers as a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to improving and developing the Topeka Zoo. For 50 years, the organization has provided financial support to the Topeka Zoo through funds generated from its membership program, gift shop operations, and fundraising efforts. Nearly 5,000 area families are members of FOTZ. When you become a member, you not only enjoy the benefits and free Zoo admission, but you are also supporting the enhancement and growth of the Topeka Zoo.