Sunrise Children's Zoo welcomes visitors for free all summer - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Sunrise Children's Zoo welcomes visitors for free all summer

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Sunrise Children's Zoo is all about the kids.

"Teach the kids behind the animals, the logic behind them and the care involved," said zoo curator Patti Nie.

The zoo is sponsored by the Sunrise Exchange Club of Waterloo. In it's 39th year, the zoo is continually growing and changing.

"Experience farm life and see animals that would never see. Even if you've been here once, we have different animals," said zoo director Brad Condon.

New this year is a second llama, a deer and miniature ponies. While some of the animals have changed through the years, one thing that hasn't changed is the cost to you. Nothing. The Sunrise Children's Zoo is run solely on donations.

Curator Patti Nie said it's important not to charge admission so everyone can enjoy what the zoo has to offer.

"It's a key thing for a lot of people and makes it available to them," said Nie.

There is a small fee to feed the animals, which starts at 50 cents.

Nie said the zoo is summertime fun for the whole family.

"I had the neatest respond from a lady last week. She was in here and her words to me is you have a just a little slice of heaven right here in the middle of nowhere. That was nice to hear," said Patti Nie.

The zoo has two paid staffers, but survives on volunteers to help feed the animals and clean up the pens.

"We have volunteers here every day. The same ones. We appreciate that," said Condon.

Many of the animals are donated by area farmers. Patti Nie hopes everyone has a great time at sunrise children's zoo, and leave the zoo with having learned something positive about animals.

The Sunrise Children's Zoo is located at the National Cattle Congress Grounds in Waterloo, near Electric Park Ballroom.

The hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and Noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

The zoo is open through September 15th.

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