This is a paid piece from the Great Plains Zoo.

Simplified: The cold weather may tempt you to stay inside, but it's worth it to bundle up and see all the Great Plains Zoo has to offer in the winter months.

Why it matters

  • Many of the animals in the zoo – foxes, bears, snow leopard, to name a few – are more comfortable in winter weather than in the summer. That means winter months are your best chances to see them most active.
  • With a membership, you can come and go as often as you please. So whether you're up for a 20-minute stroll or a two-hour visit, you don't have to feel pressured to stay or to see everything in one visit.
  • The zoo also plans several events throughout the winter to make sure visitors feel extra special year-round.
"Every day is different at the zoo," said Denise DePaolo, director of PR and engagement. "You might see the foxes super active one day, and then another day they're in their den but the bears are all out and about. You just never know."

Tell me more about how to stay warm on my zoo visit

Step one is dressing for the weather. The classic Midwest mantra of "there's no bad weather, only bad clothing" really applies here.

You can also find several indoor spots to warm up across the zoo campus.

  • Pop in to see the flamingos in their winter habitat, warm up with the giraffes in their building, or walk around the Delbridge Museum of Natural History.

The zoo also sells warm beverages like apple cider and hot chocolate.

  • This year, the zoo is also offering a boozy version of both of those drinks for the first time, so you can stay warm inside and out.

Will I really get to see the animals?


"Most of our animals are cold-weather species, so they love the winter," DePaolo said.

And you can see the warm-weather species in their winter habitats (which are also a great spot to warm yourself up, too).

All of the outdoor animals have indoor access, too, so if even the cold-weather animals get too cold, they've got a safe place to warm up.

How can I find what events are going on?

Check the zoo's event page online, and follow them on Facebook for updates.