Current Projects

Pardon our progress! Topeka Zoo & Conservation is expanding.

Camp Cowabunga

Camp Cowabunga is unlike any other Africa exhibit in any zoo in the world.  This camp will transport guests to Africa through its unique concept that lets guests participate in activities that take place on safaris or at camp while being surrounded by animals from the moment they get to the camp entrance.

Kay’s Garden and Event Center

Chief Justice Kay E. McFarland 1935-2015

The leadership of Topeka Zoo & Conservation Center had the privilege of working with Chief Justice Kay McFarland on the development of a world-class garden. Kay particularly enjoyed the lushness of Japanese style gardens. Upon her death, Chief Justice Kay McFarland established a living trust through Friends of Topeka Zoo to fund Kay’s Garden. Those funds will ensure the development and sustainability of the garden for years to come. The two-acre garden will be a place for quiet reflection on the beauty of nature and the art of living in harmony with one another and with all things.

As you enter the gateway of the garden, you are surrounded by nature that inspires the mind and energizes the soul. Beauty, grace, and serenity are present. Walking down the wooded path, you sense the sweet smell of the air, hear the sound of a meandering stream bubbling over rocks, and pause to enjoy the beautiful colors of the landscape. A small stone walkway takes you further to the shore where koi resemble living flowers that bring a flash of color to the shallow waters. You have found peace.

From a distance, you see a beautiful water garden and lotus bog resting on the placid water’s surface. It is a perfect aid to contemplation. You walk over the bridge (which is intended not solely as a means of crossing shore to shore but to provide an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the garden). You feel the softness of a cool breeze, and you see the reflection of sunlight on the foliage and the beautiful flash of color from koi fish swimming below. Beautiful trees, shrubs, and plants are revealed in vignettes as you continue strolling down the winding path.

The garden is laid out to present seasonal change from budding new leaves of spring to the coolness of summer shade, the changing colors of autumn to bare trees of winter lightly covered in snow. Regardless of what season you visit, the garden will serve as a place for reflection, meditation, and tranquility – all of which were important to Kay as a means to find serenity in the hustle and bustle of a busy life.

The Gallery and Events Center at Kay’s Garden will not only highlight Kay’s accomplishments but will also honor the incredible acts of courage and determination of the many women of Kansas who, like Chief Justice Kay McFarland, have served as trailblazers in their profession.