GREAT PLAINS ZOO - SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA

   
   
  Great Plains Zoo - Sioux Falls, SD

Take I-29 Exit 79. Go 1 mile east on 12th St., then 2/10 mile south on Kiwanis Ave. Directions are clearly marked from I-29.

The Great Plains Zoo isnít as well known as the Corn Palace, Wall Drug, or other South Dakota roadside attractions, but perhaps it should. Itís small size, easy accessibility, small crowds and ample parking make it a perfect 2-hour family-friendly stop while traveling across the plains. It is very easy to get to from I-29 and despite visiting on a comfortable sunshiny Monday afternoon, it was not crowded. Itís a small zoo, but itís clean, well landscaped and well maintained. The Great Plains Zoo animals are well cared for and healthy-looking and many of the displays seem to resemble the animalsí natural habitats. They have over 400 animals including Asian cats, zebras, yaks, bighorn sheep, flamingos and the brilliantly colored scarlet ibis. As with many zoos, they also have a childrenís petting zoo.

The Great Plains Zoo is situated on flat ground and is very well laid out. It is possible to see the entire zoo by making one loop with very little backtracking. There is plenty of shade and places to sit down for a few minutes. The zoo is also home to the Delbridge Museum Of Natural History. The Delbridge Museum has about 150 mounted animals on display, many of which are native to the Great Plains. We were all less impressed with the Delbridge Museum than the zoo, but the museum is not too large and definitely worth a look. Admission to the Delbridge Museum is included in the zoo admission. I feel though I have discovered a hidden gem in the Great Plains Zoo. If youíre traveling with young ones, donít miss it! Allow 1 Ĺ - 2 hours to visit. Admission is $6.75 for adults, $6 for seniors over 59 and $3.75 for ages 3-12.

We visited from 12-2 on a Monday in August, 2002

Weather: Sunny and comfortable, gorgeous day

Dixie Brothers Grill - 2400 S. Louise Ave. Sioux Falls, SD 57106

Just east of I-29 at Exit 78.

Cajun cooking in South Dakota?... Yup... and well-done, too. This is the first restaurant in what the owners hope to grow into a large chain. They are off to a good start. Dixie Brothers Grill is clean and upbeat. It was built in a former diner-style restaurant in what looks to be a fairly recently developed retail area just off the freeway. Their diverse menu features well prepared cajun specialties. We had fried oysters and shrimp and jambalaya and duck tenders on the side. Some of their other menu items include red beans and rice with smoked sausage, creole and rice with gulf shrimp and sea scallops, cajun cream pasta, and po-boys. They have other American choices and a childrenís menu for the less adventurous. The kids were a little hesitant to try something new, but were delighted to learn that liked duck tenders (same as chicken fingers, only made out of duck). New Orleans Mardi Gras style beads are available, and you donít even have to do anything to "earn" them. The service was adequate, the portions were big, the atmosphere was lively and the prices are moderate. We visited at lunch time, and I suspect that it is even more lively at dinner time. (605) 362-9789

Read my South Dakota Reviews on epinions.com:

Corn Palace, Wall Drug, Shrine to Music Museum

The Black Hills / Mt. Rushmore

The Great Plains Zoo - Sioux Falls

Badlands National Park

 

Photos top to bottom: Great Plains Zoo Entrance, Flamingos, Bear, A Big Pig, Kookaburra, Bighorn Sheep, Scarlet Obis, Petting Zoo, Mounted Moose, Mounted Walrus

Click on the thumbnails for larger images of the Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum.