With the theme “Touching Hearts – Igniting Passion – Saving Wildlife”, Rolling Hills Zoo has over 100 species of wildlife.
Zoo visitors can see this variety which includes lions, giraffes, tigers, monkeys, flamingos, rhinos, African cranes, coati, aardvark and giant anteater, to name a few. of its many animals.
Most animals will reside at the zoo throughout their lives, dying of old age.
“We will have these chimpanzees for a lifetime,” said Linda Henderson, director of development and marketing at the zoo. “It’s our commitment as a zoo is that we take care of them throughout their lives.”
What’s new at Rolling Hills Zoo?
The zoo is working on renovating its lion exhibit, The Pride of the Prairie. Renovations are also underway to the interior space of the orangutan exhibit, which is currently empty. The three large windows will be covered in a few weeks with fun, interactive graphics that display information about chimpanzees and a program that helps them disappear.
After:Board games, boba tea, a giant chess set and more at the Second Realm in downtown Salina
The History of Salina Zoo
In the early 1980s, Charlie Walker, a Salina businessman, purchased land in western Saline County. He housed his Belgian horses in a barn, from Rolling Hills Ranch.
Walker added two black bear cubs, a few llamas and a lioness to the ranch in the late 1980s. Then, in 1995, the exotic animal portion of the ranch severed ties and became a private nonprofit foundation. The new foundation was called the Rolling Hills Refuge Wildlife Conservation Center and construction of the zoo began.
In 1999, the zoo was opened to the public. The zoo features live animals in naturalistic exhibits in a landscaped, rural setting.
In 2000, a world-class 64,000 square foot wildlife museum was constructed with part of the building dedicated to a conference center and a children’s exploration room. The Wildlife Museum shows visitors the animal kingdoms of the regions of the Far East, the Middle East, the African plains, the arctic tundra, the tropical forests and North America.
The museum features full-body frames created in realistic poses. Walker bought 19 semi-loads of mounts from a businessman in California. Walker built the museum to display the mounts because he wanted to teach people about the animals he didn’t have at the zoo, including elephants and some subspecies of animals that no longer exist.
Henderson said an interesting thing about the museum stands is that they were all preformed and posed, so they had to design the exhibit around what the animals already looked like.
Dotted throughout the museum, lifelike human animatronic characters tell stories of conservation.
“It’s a world-class museum and there’s no glass separating visitors from exhibits, a unique thing you won’t see at other natural history museums,” Henderson said.
After:Seven artists, including Brady Scott and Darren Morzwitz, paint live murals at Salina
Who lives at the zoo?
- Big cats – Amur tigers, African lions, snow leopards and cougars.
- Primates – chimpanzees, white-headed tamarins and several varieties of lemurs and monkeys.
After:New Mobile Grooming Business Offers Convenient Option for Salina Dog Owners
- Mammals – giraffes, white rhinos, bears, aardvarks, addax, African painted dogs and red kangaroos. Other animals include an anteater, dromedary, capybara, white-nosed coati, white-tailed deer, scimitar-horned oryx, prairie dogs, pronghorn, red-necked wallaby and maned wolf.
- Birds – Chilean flamingos, East African crowned cranes, ostrich, golden eagle and red-tailed hawk.
- Reptiles and Amphibians – a Gila monster, Grand Cayman iguana, giant waxy tree frog, green python, dart frogs, Aldabra tortoise, African bullfrog and Burmese python. The zoo is also home to a variety of snakes, turtles, skinks and frogs. In addition, there are centipedes and cockroaches.
- Kids Country — Heritage breeds of cows, sheep, chickens and goats.
After:The town of Salina offers a water park and plenty of spray areas to stay cool this summer
When to visit the zoo
The Rolling Hills Zoo at 625 N. Hedville Road, 10 miles west of Salina, is open seven days a week. The zoo has a wildlife museum, an on-site restaurant, a kennel service for pets during their visit to the zoo, rental of strollers and scooters and a picnic area. The zoo offers trolley rides from Friday to Sunday, until Labor Day. Timetable and admission fees are at www.rollinghillszoo.org
The zoo is part of the Kansas State Department of Education’s Sunflower Summer Program, where Kansas students and up to two accompanying adults can enjoy free admission from late May through mid-August. august.