Park & Zoo
Park & Zoo Director: Barb Beurskens
Zoo Supervisor: Katie Southworth
Activities, Building, Gardening & Maintenance: Rachel Lyon
Cemetery Sexton/Park & Zoo Grounds Keeping: Jim Bennett
Contact InformationOffice # & General Information:
(620) 332-2512Building Rental #:
(620) 332-2500Fax #:
(620) 332-2511Emergency #:
120 North 6th Street
Independence, Kansas 67301Physical Address: Park Blvd/Oak Street
Zoo Business Hours
9am - 7pm daily (Apr 1 to Oct 31)
9am - 5pm daily (Nov 1 to Mar 31)
The Park Department is responsible for maintaining Riverside Park, five neighborhood parks and trees in the downtown.
Riverside Park is a 100 plus acre park that includes: Ralph Mitchell Zoo, playgrounds, aquatic center, miniature train, carousel, miniature golf, lighted fountain, picnic areas, five buildings available for rent, band shell and six tennis courts.
Ralph Mitchell Zoo exhibits a variety of native and exotic wildlife including: black bear, cougar, elk, deer, muntjac, bison, bobcat, ducks, monkeys, macaws, pythons, caiman, African spur tortoises, kinkajou, aoudads, llamas, wallabies, Opossum, Red Fox and coatis. Monkey Island is a favorite attraction.
The zoo is open from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. daily from April 1 through October 31 and from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. from November 1 through March 31. Admission is free.
If you would like to plan a school field trip visit our Documents page (located on the menu bar of our webpage) and download the school field trip form under the park category.
SCHEDULE FOR PARK RIDES
Starting Easter or Park Opening* until Memorial Day
Saturdays - 1:00 PM to 5:30 PM
Sundays – 1:00 PM to 5:30 PM
*Whichever comes first
From Memorial Day until Labor Day
Saturdays – 1:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Sundays – 1:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Weekdays – 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM
From Labor Day until October 20th
Saturdays - 1:00 PM to 5:30 PM
Sundays - 1:00 PM to 5:30 PM
**Rides do not operate in the winter months.
Logan Fountain is a large lighted fountain that changes spray patterns and colors. The fountain normally operates from around sundown until 11:30 p.m. from Memorial Day through October 31. However, the fountain will not be ran this year due to electrical issues and deteriorated concrete. The City is in the process of acquiring plans, specifications and cost estimates to reconstruct or replace the fountain. It is anticipated that fund raisers will be organized for this project.
A concession stand, The Lions Den, is located near the zoo and operated by the Lions Club. The stand is open evenings except Mondays and Tuesdays and from 1:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The Mid-Continent Band performs in the band shell Tuesdays from 8:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. from Memorial Day until the middle of August.
The Riverside Beach Family Aquatic Center is operated by the Independence Recreation Commission. For information on the Aquatic Center or recreation programs, contact the Family Aquatic Center at 620-331-4620 or Independence Recreation Commission at 620-331-0260.
Riverside Park has a curfew from Midnight until 6:00 a.m.
The Independence Park Board serves in an advisory capacity for setting fees and policies. Park Board members are appointed by the Mayor.
The Friends of Riverside Park and Zoo, Inc. (FORPAZ) serve in a fund-raising capacity. Their website is www.FORPAZ.com. To make a donation go to: http://www.forpaz.com/Donations-Memorials-61964.asp