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Independence, Kansas: Monkey Island, Home of America's First Space Monkey Team Field Report

Riverside Park

Wells Drive, Independence, KS
North side of town, just east of US Hwy 75, in the Ralph Mitchell Zoo in Riverside Park. Two lions at the entrance, drive into park past locomotive toward fences, watch for small zoo sign.
Park gated after hours. Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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Monkey Island, Home of America's First Space Monkey

The once-idyllic home of Miss Able, a rhesus monkey who was fired 300 miles into the thermosphere on May 28, 1959. The castle-like habitat surrounded by water was a 1930s WPA "monkey island" project. Report...

Visitor Tips and News About Monkey Island, Home of America's First Space Monkey

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Monkey Island, Home of America's First Space Monkey

There was so much to see at this location! However, Monkey Island is inside a locked, fenced park. You must go during visiting hours to be able to walk up to the moat surrounding the castles.

[Crystal Marie, 07/20/2019]
Monkey Island Memories

As a 12-yr. old Independence native, my friend Donny G and I would spend hours each summer day exploring the enormous acreage of Ralph Mitchell Park. Riding bicycles, we would take in Monkey Island, the Duck Pond, Badger Pen, Apiary with Ostrich and Peacock, then drop down to the big mammal pens. The lion, baboons, grizzly den, and finally the buffalo herd would round out the full day.

I returned to Monkey Island in 1995 during my 40 year high school reunion. It appeared much of the zoo had fallen on hard times; perhaps funding had fallen off? I will never forget those wonderful days exploring the Park and Zoo.

[Tom Mc, 02/19/2009]

Monkey Island.

Monkey Island

I found the castle on Monkey Island was still in fine shape and even though the castle and the island were small, it was kinda cool to see. The Ralph Mitchell Zoo was worth the drive, all in all. It has a fantastic kiddie land playground with it's own castle and lots of animals to climb on and around. And the best's all free! :)

[Meg, 04/24/2006]

Nearby Offbeat Places

First Pro Night Baseball GameFirst Pro Night Baseball Game, Independence, KS - < 1 mi.
Dinosaurs, Nursery Rhyme scenesDinosaurs, Nursery Rhyme scenes, Independence, KS - < 1 mi.
Mini Statue of LibertyMini Statue of Liberty, Independence, KS - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Odd Sign: Needle in a Haystack, Severy, KS - 42 mi.

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