The Virtual Kite Zoo

All you could want to know about kites. And some more!
Version franšaise
Version franšaise


Netmom approved
Rated by Schoolzone's panel of expert teachers my award-winning Virtual Kite Zoo! If you're looking for fancy web-wizardry to knock your socks off, then you've come to the wrong place. But if you want to know about kites, all about kites, every kind of kite, big kites, little kites, strange kites, fancy kites, plain kites ... then step inside, and explore my sketches and descriptions of every kind of kite you can imagine - and some more.

Historical, anecdotal, allegorical or aeronautical snippets of information come with many of them. Not only that, but as far as I could, I've also included hotlinks to online photos and constructional plans. And when you think you've seen enough, try out the quiz!

The Zoo contains lots of pictures, but I've worked hard to make them as compact as possible, and so make it quick to browse. But some of the plans and pictures I reference at other sites may be a little slower.


There are many ways in which you could classify kites, two obvious ones being according to structure, and according to historical derivation. If you're interested in kite history, look at Pelham, probably the best all round book on kites with a good historical section, or Hart, which is the definitive work on kite history. Many of the historical details in the Zoo have been taken from these books.

You could regard David Pelhams's book as a Natural History Museum of kites. But my intention here is to offer you a Kite Zoo. Like an animal zoo, it has live exhibits (virtually) in the form of pictures of examples of each specimen, as well as plans for building them (where available) - and you wouldn't get that in an animal zoo!

Just as the labels in an animal zoo may say "This animal is dangerous", or "This animal is a cross between a yak and a cow", so my Zoo tries to give useful, relational, anecdotal or historical information on the exhibits.

The number of exhibits currently stands at around 50. Maybe your favourite kite isn't here but most of its cousins probably will be. Like nature, kites exhibit a fairly small number of basic designs, each of which is subject to almost endless variations. My aim is to be comprehensive but not necesarily exhaustive.

Where to start?

Copernicus Award Surfing the Net with Kids 5 star site

New to kites?

If you're new to kites, you might first like to review the terminology or construction methods and materials. If you never got your scout or guides knots badge, you can still make and fly kites! The knots page tells you all you need to know. And if you want to follow up the subject in your local library, you can look at the bibliography.


If you just want to wander round looking, here's where you can go:

Types of Kite

Uses of kites

Kites aren't simply toys (though they make good ones), but they have various uses. Come and see!

For teachers and youth leaders

If you're a teacher or a leader of any kind of childrens' group, come and look at Kites in the Classroom.

You may also find the Kite Poetry Anthology useful.

Search the Catalogue if you're looking for a particular kite. Or google me...


Just looking ...

Guided TourJust follow the signs to take a Guided Tour of the Virtual Kite Zoo. If you don't have time to complete it, bookmark the page you get to and come back later.

My plans and pics archives contain some photographs and plans which I couldn't find elsewhere on the web, or which have since disappeared.

So you think you know it all?

There is a Quiz at the end of the end of the Guided Tour, brought to life with JavaScript. See if you can get the Bonus Question! All the answers are in the Zoo.

Further Information

For lots of information about Kite History and Kite Inventors, try the Carnet de Vol website. OK, it's in French, but there are English translations of much of it.


If you've enjoyed the Zoo, write and tell me that I haven't wasted my time. Or write if you would like to tell me of any errors or omissions, or if you can give me any hotlinks to plans or pictures. I'm keen to include links to plans for as many different types of kite as possible, and to include pictures from a wide range of sources.

Also, if you have any views (positive or negative) on the new Google ads on this site, let me know. This is an experiment. it won't make me rich, but maybe I've been ignoring an opportunity until now.

Mail me at (Please make sure you mention the word "kite" in your mail, or my spam filter will throw it away. N.B. I am not a kite trader, and I do not engage in link exchange schemes.)

Meet the Curator himself! - who am I? - where do I live? - how did I get into kites? - how many have I got?? Find the answers to some of these questions, and others you haven't even thought of!

And Finally ...

Before you leave, just spend a few minutes at my Virtual Kite Festival!
Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Philip Le Riche
Provided you acknowledge your source, you are welcome to make whatever use of the Virtual Kite Zoo you like, except making money out of it. (But if that's what you had in mind, let's talk about it!) Any use of The Virtual Kite Zoo outside the above terms requires prior written permission from the author.

The Zoo contains links to many plans and pictures at other sites. Please respect any copyrights which apply.

Bookmark with:
[Home] [Single-line] [Flat] [Bowed] [Cellular] [Sled] [Parafoil] [Rotating] [Dual-line] [Triple-line] [Quad-line]
[Catalogue] [Terminology] [Materials] [Uses] [Knots] [Classroom] [Bibliography] [Curator]