Information on:

Niabi Zoological Society

13010 Niabi Zoo Road

Mission Statement

The mission of the Niabi Zoological Society is to constantly improve the educational value of the Zoo through continuous expansion and upgrading in the areas of exhibits, research opportunities, educational and volunteer programs, and personnel training.


In 1957, Gordon McLain purchased land located just off Route 6 in Coal Valley, Illinois. It took almost two years to clear the ground and construct the first building.

In 1959, Mr. McLain, a masonry contractor with an interest in exotic animals, opened the gates to the public. The McLain’s Wild Animal Farm was a family owned and operated venture.

Mrs. Charles Deere Wiman purchased the farm and additional land in January of 1963. In May of 1963, she deeded the farm to the County of Rock Island. The zoo was named Niabi, which means "young deer spared by the hunter" in the Osage Indian language.

The zoo grounds cover forty acres, and an additional 200 acres is set aside for native flora and fauna preservation. Niabi is home to over 900 animals representing more than 160 species. Approximately 250,000 visitors a year make Niabi Zoo one of the largest attractions in the Quad Cities. The zoo grounds also offers a playground, a train ride, picnic areas and concession stands



Saturday, June 23, 2018
Overall a nice smaller zoo! The grounds are beautiful and not too big, so you don't have to do a ton of walking. They do charge $3 for parking, but I don't mind paying if it goes toward the animals. General admission for adults was $9. We also paid $3 for parakeet feeding and only $5 to feed the giraffes! Both experiences were neat. I would definitely recommend feeding the giraffes- very cool! We spent about 2 hours total at the park, which is really all you need. All of the staff members we met were very friendly and helpful! I do wish the animals had more enrichment in their habitats. Some of them looked quite bored and did not seem to have any toys or interactive objects to play with. Would love to see more of that- may be lack of funding.

Andrew Nelson

Sunday, July 1, 2018
Nice little zoo that takes about 3-4 hours to walk through. It's easy to find and not too expensive. Great you don't want to deal with the crowd and congestion at Brookfield. It's perfect for younger kids. My 6 year old nephew and 4 year old daughter had a blast. They also have a miniature train ride that kids really enjoy.

Melanie Petersen

Sunday, July 1, 2018
I have been coming here for serval years. On today's visit my family decided that it is just not worth going here anymore. Prices going up every year and less animals to see. It seems like they are trying to improve the park but without success. The Australian exhibit has no kangaroos for quit a while and looks very lame. There are only birds to see and you are not allowed to walk through that area unless you pay for it. The long gone elephant exhibit got replaced with camels . So now they have 2 camel exhibits. It seems like they just place one kind of a species over the park to make it look fuller but variety on species itself decreases from year to year. I know it is expensive and a lot work to maintain a zoo but I don't think charging ridiculous prices for a small park like that just drives visitors away. They should think about lowering prices parking fee , admission and extras like feeding, train and carousel so people can actually afford it and would consider to spend the extra money . Lower prices attracts more people and brings more money in the long run. So long story short. My visit was disappointing. You pay more and see less with each year.

Nicole Palacios

Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Went and paid $9 and saw a half empty park. Train ride is ridiculously priced. Now charging parking fee as well. A Lot of exhibits down or coming soon. They never used to look like that. Many animals just pacing back and forth. Looking very sad. On a good note it is just right for a toddler. Not tons of walking. Giraffe enclosure is very nice. But definitely shouldn't be charging full price if half the exhibits are down. I would of seen more animals at a farm. Plenty of shade so that's nice.

Cynthia Claver

Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Niabi is really starting to look better. The newer little oceans exhibit is cute. It's too bad that there are rarely any free/discount days and that you have to pay for parking but I also understand why. Hopefully all we'll see is more improvement and growth here at this small town zoo. It's been a place I've been going to since I was I child and now a place I've been taking my kids for the last 14 years. Keep up the good work!

Niabi Zoological Society is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media