Zoo Rental Venues

Situated on 26 acres, Sunset Zoo offers an unique, picturesque backdrop for your next celebration or meeting! Several venues are located throughout the grounds as well as the newly-opened Nature Exploration Center at the entryway.

Nature Exploration Center 
Opened in 2012, this unique, indoor space provides a state-of-the-art facility perfect for all of your celebrations. The Center is located at the Zoo's entryway and provides exclusive views of the animal collection and surrounding Flint Hills landscape. The facility offers over 4,000 square feet of indoor event space for up to 298 guests depending on your event's layout. The ultimate in flexibility, renters can choose among a variety of room and furniture arrangements that support anything from daytime staff retreats to evening cocktail receptions. 

Wrapped in natural Flint Hills limestone and featuring a stunning terrazzo floor, the Nature Exploration Center will ensure your celebration is memorable. The adjacent outdoor plaza is also available to rent and included in some rental packages. Amenities also include guest restrooms, HD projectors and sound system with microphones in all rooms, and a catering kitchen.

Nature Exploration Center Entryway     Nature Exploration Center Classroom

Nature Exploration Center Two Classrooms

Nature Exploration Center Rotunda     Nature Exploration Center Wedding

The Nature Exploration Center offers the following spaces for rent. Due to the facility's movable walls, multiple spaces can be configured to best support your event needs. 

  • One Multipurpose Room • up to 49 people, dependent on layout
  • Both Multipurpose Rooms • up to 98 people, dependent on layout
  • Open Rotunda • up to 170 people, dependent on layout
  • Entire Facility • up to 298 people, dependent on layout
  • Outdoor Plaza • up to 182 people, available after 5pm
Outdoor Venues
The Zoo’s 26-acre park features several rental facilities in addition to its collection of 200+ animals.

Pavilion      Pavilion 2

Historic Limestone Pavilion • up to 120 people 
This open-air, covered pavilion was built by the Sertoma Club and features native limestone architecture. It is adjacent to the Zoo's playground, making it an ideal rental space for events with kids! It also features eight picnic tables, built-in counters in all four corners great for buffets/gift tables/etc., and is near four family restrooms. It's prime location in the heart of the Zoo makes it an ideal facility for family picnics, employee appreciation nights, birthday parties, and more! Amenities also include a wood-burning fireplace near the west end and a vending machine.

Chautauqua Amphitheater

Chautauqua Amphitheater • up to 240 people
This outdoor amphitheater provides a beautiful, natural setting and features large, rustic limestone benches. A set of metal bleachers towards the back of the amphitheater provides additional setting. The amphitheater is located in the heart of the Zoo and is oriented to provide guests the perfect sunset views. The space includes a large stage and we can supply an outdoor, wireless speaker complete with microphones for your event. This location is a favorite for outdoor wedding ceremonies!

Open-Air Deck • up to 25 people

The open-air deck is adjacent to the Zoo's Expedition Cafe and near Chautauqua Amphitheater. It features two picnic tables and bench seating around the perimeter. The deck is uncovered but several nearby trees provide shade over the space. The venue is great for casual celebrations like birthday parties, picnics and more! The deck is located near four family restrooms. 

Exclusive Zoo Rentals


Treat your guests to an exclusive visit to the Zoo's animal collection before or after the gates close. Rentals available year-round, weather dependent. Use of several Zoo rental facilities included in package, can accommodate up to 300 guests.

Tour the Facilities


We highly encourage you to set up a time to tour our facilities in person and to learn more about our event rental options. Contact our Event Sales Coordinator, Courtney Dehn, by emailing dehn@cityofmhk.com or by calling at 785-587-2737.