Pages Navigation Menu

Living Life to the Fullest In Southwest Missouri

Springfield’s Dickerson Park Zoo

Springfield’s Dickerson Park Zoo

Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Missouri, is my go-to zoo, and here’s why.

It’s close to Joplin (only one hour away).

It’s small (no dragging tired kids around for hours on end).

You can actually see (and feed!) the animals.

It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg (a family of four can expect to pay under $50).


Dickerson zoo sign


I grew up going to Chicago’s Brookfield and Lincoln Park Zoos (the best primates!), I’ve visited the famed San Diego Zoo (where I walked and walked and routinely encountered empty animal habitats, to my disappointment), I’ve explored our regional zoos in Kansas City and St. Louis (which are both nice, but too far of a drive for a day visit), and yet I still have a special spot in my heart for the Dickerson Park Zoo.

My family can wake up on a Saturday morning, decide that we want to go to the zoo in Springfield, drive there, enjoy the animals, eat lunch and be back in Joplin by mid-afternoon.


Dickerson snake charmer

My youngest demonstrating her snake charming skills.


Highlights of Dickerson Park Zoo:

The stunningly vibrant peacocks that strut beside you as you wind your way through the exhibits.

The petting zoo area (where you can pet and feed the animals).


Dickerson feeding goats


The second-story giraffe viewing deck where you can get licked by huge giraffe tongues while feeding them.


Dickerson giraffe feeding


Dickerson giraffe tongue

Check out that tongue!

The water feature in front of the reptile house where kids can cool off and play.

The train ride that loops around a turtle-filled pond (there’s even a conductor in uniform who takes your ticket and drives the train – so cute!).


Dickerson train outside


Dickerson train rider

Even teenagers are entertained by the train ride.


Dickerson catfish

These catfish remind me of my children – always wanting food.


And don’t miss the tortoises. The unfathomably large, slow-moving, dinosaur-like creatures that are located next to the reptile house are a must-see.

So, if you are looking for some family fun that is quick and easy, head to the Dickerson Park Zoo.


butterfly pic


Dickerson Park Zoo is located at 1401 West Norton Road in Springfield. Click here to visit Dickerson Park Zoo’s website.



Find out the latest on what to see and do in the area by following Joplin MO Life on TwitterPinterestInstagram, and on Facebook. Or, sign up for the newsletter at the top part of this post.


Living Life to The Fullest!

Joplin MO LifeI love seeking out new experiences and finding places off the beaten path. I started Joplin MO Life in August 2013 as a way to share my discoveries with others in the Joplin community so that they can learn about the resources that exist right in their own backyards.

I have worked in education and event planning, and have always loved to write. I hold a master's degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a bachelor's degree in marketing from Tulane University.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)

Translate »