COAL VALLEY, ILLINOIS. (July 14, 2021)“The Niabi Zoo is coming back strong from difficult pandemic period,” said Director Lee Jackson, “With exciting new exhibits and amazing new animals, now is the perfect time to come out and explore the zoo and rediscover what Niabi has to offer! Now, with all of our buildings open to the public, our guest can finally see our newest special exhibit, ‘Spineless Wonders.’ An exploration into the world of invertebrates, these animals that make up over 97% of all animal life. The exhibit houses an amazing cross section of these incredible animals, including black-widow spiders, giant robber-crabs, sea anemones, tarantulas, and many more!

“Spineless wonders is just one of the fabulous new additions to the Niabi Zoo family” said Jackson. “Just this past Monday “Iona” a two-year-old Amur leopard made her début and was introduced to Jilin, our 3-year-old male. Iona came to us from the Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens in the United Kingdom. The Niabi Zoo is a partner in the international conservation efforts to help save this critically endangered cat (there are about 50 left in the wild). We are honored and excited to have been chosen to host and manage such an important individual from such a critically endangered species. It speaks very well of the regard in which Niabi is held in the international conservation community”, said Jackson.

“Our famously beloved Colobus Monkey Troop has also seen some changes recently. Kenna, a 7-year-old female recently joined our group and is fitting in nicely with her new family. Kenna came to us as part of a captive management plan that oversees the population management of all Colobus monkeys in North America. Our goal is that she eventually becomes a mom and helps assure the continued strength of the population”.

“And, of course, there’s Kito, the Niabi Zoo’s first White Rhinoceros that famously made his début at Niabi just a few weeks ago!”

These are just some of the exciting additions you’ll see at the zoo this year!

Here are a few tips to help you plan your visit

Now, when you visit the zoo, you will not be required to wear mask during train or carousel rides. Mask or face-shields are still required in buildings and at giraffe feedings.

While we still encourage purchasing your admission- and activity-tickets online, we now have the option available to by your tickets in person when you arrive.

Timed-entry blocks have been eliminated, so you can arrive at the zoo and depart at your convenience.

Even with the lifting of many restrictions, the staff at the Niabi Zoo want to make sure that your visit is safe and enjoyable. Therefore, we will continue to perform increased disinfection in high traffic areas, and provide additional hand washing stations around the park. We also continue to ask that guest continue to respect social distancing guidelines.

Please be sure to check us out on Facebook and on our website for further details.

A full list of reopening guidelines and closures can be found at

The Zoo is open from 9AM–3PM, seven days per week, with last entry at 2PM.

 To plan your visit, go to

About Niabi Zoo

Niabi Zoo, which is operated by the Forest Preserve District of Rock Island County, offers an opportunity to explore more than 40 acres in Coal Valley, Illinois that encompass 200 animal species. This exploration guides guests through the discovery of more than 800 animals from around the world.  Niabi Zoo strives to instill a sense of care and understanding for wild animals in each and every visitor as they work in the community. For more information about the Zoo, visit

Support the River Cities' Reader

Get 12 Reader issues mailed monthly for $48/year.

Old School Subscription for Your Support

Get the printed Reader edition mailed to you (or anyone you want) first-class for 12 months for $48.
$24 goes to postage and handling, $24 goes to keeping the doors open!

Click this link to Old School Subscribe now.

Help Keep the Reader Alive and Free Since '93!


"We're the River Cities' Reader, and we've kept the Quad Cities' only independently owned newspaper alive and free since 1993.

So please help the Reader keep going with your one-time, monthly, or annual support. With your financial support the Reader can continue providing uncensored, non-scripted, and independent journalism alongside the Quad Cities' area's most comprehensive cultural coverage." - Todd McGreevy, Publisher