Sunrise Children's Zoo now open for the summer season - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Sunrise Children's Zoo now open for the summer season in Waterloo

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WATERLOO (KWWL) - Sunrise Children's Zoo in Waterloo is now open for the summer season. The zoo features miniature donkeys, pigs, goats and many more animals. Most of the animals belong to zoo curator Patty Nie.

She said the goal of the zoo is to give kids a hands-on experience with animals. That mission is so important, there's no admission fee to get into the zoo. However, donations are appreciated.

"All that helps immensely, but again, if you're unable, you're unable. We still want to make sure that you do feel welcome, that you're here," said Nie.

Nie said the zoo stays operational because of great volunteers, including 14-year-old Jessica Ahles.

"Actually before this I decided I wanted to work with animals, and I think it definitely reinforces that decision," said Ahles.

This is her third summer helping out at the zoo. Ahles and other volunteers help clean pens and make sure the animals have food and water.

"I just really enjoy having the people who come here because almost everybody who walks in here always walk out with a smile," said Ahles.

While most of the animals aren't looking for another home, there are kittens, bunnies and guinea pigs up for adoption. The zoo is usually full of children, some more adventurous than others.

"I've heard we're a diamond in the rough out here. We're our own little farm in the middle of town and it is. It's a great experience for the kids."

Sunrise Children's Zoo is open now through mid-September at the National Cattle Congress Grounds in Waterloo.

It's open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sunday hours are noon to 4 p.m.

The zoo is closed Monday.
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