KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Wednesday, Kansas City had natural temperatures below zero degrees for the first time since last winter. When there is snow or frigid temperatures like this, it impacts how things operate at the Kansas City Zoo.
The staff at the Kansas City Zoo says its not uncommon to bring animals indoors during inclement weather.
“There is only so much you can plan for, but if you try to get as much out of the way before hand it makes it easier to deal with things,” said Sean Putney, Senior Director of Zoological Operations.
Putney says with weather in the single-digits, animals like the elephants, lions and giraffes have to come indoors.
“They are trained to go into certain places. Obviously, when it is really cold they prefer to be inside, so it’s really no issue there,” said Putney.
The zoo is open year-round, even during winter and snowy conditions. Animals like Berlin, a polar bear, and the sea lions and penguins all enjoy the cold weather.
“When the weather gets in the 40s, a lot of animals get okay with that. At 45 degrees, the elephants can stay out ... The cheetahs and lions can take much colder temperatures than you think," said Putney. "Each one of the animals have temperature guidelines that we stick to."
On a winter day, with temperatures below freezing, visitors at the zoo were still in the dozens. Zoo officials say they have had 950,000 visitors in 2017 so far. Last year, in 2016, the zoo hit a million visitors.