Celebrating Rolling Hills Zoo’s 20th anniversary!
SALINA, Kan. – The year 2019 marks Rolling Hills Zoo’s 20th Anniversary, a significant achievement in the Zoo’s lifetime. As with any special milestone, a year-long celebration is being planned which will include special events and activities, monthly specials and a very special 20th Anniversary Celebration. It was October 27, 1999, when Rolling Hills Zoo opened the gates to its first visitors. On that day 255 visitors entered the park to see Charlie Walker’s dream come alive. That day Salina’s first zoo opened, and though still in its infancy it would one day be one of the top tourist attractions in the region.
Charlie Walker, a wellknown Salina business man, entrepreneur and animal lover, did not originally set out to build a zoo. Originally, the Main Barn was built to house his Belgian draft horses, the largest collection in North America, and this started to attract visitors. Soon Charlie added exotic animals to the collection which drew even more visitors. The popularity of the animals of the Main Barn convinced Charlie that Salina needed a zoo, and it wasn’t long before the work began to do just that.
But of course the Zoo, like many things, was not built in a day. In fact the vision for the Zoo, along with its name, evolved many times before and after opening day. An extraordinary part of this year’s 20th Anniversary Celebration will be a special exhibit designed for the Earl Bane Gallery that will take you back in time when the zoo was simply a vision and a dream.
From the early sketches to the earliest residents, guests will enjoy discovering how the idea of the Zoo turned into reality, what it took to build the zoo along with a world class wildlife museum, and the many lives it has touched throughout the years. This exhibit will also include interactive displays, a “Build a Zoo Construction Site” for the kids plus many interactive games and activities, and a Memory Wall for guests to share their favorite memories at Rolling Hills Zoo.
During the year the Zoo will take their guests behind the scenes to hear the memories of those who lived the Zoo from the very beginning with its “Remember When” documentary. A walk through the Zoo this summer will take you on a historical tour as the zoo showcases when each exhibit was opened, the original resident as well as the current resident. In some cases guests will find that the species inhabiting the exhibit originally are not the species who inhabit the exhibit now.
Then join Rolling Hills Zoo on October 27, 2019, as they celebrate their 20th Anniversary and roll back admission prices to 1999! Yes, in 2019 a great milestone was realized for Rolling Hills Zoo, but those at the zoo will quickly remind you that they are just getting started.
Discover your wild side and learn more about Rolling Hills Zoo’s 20th Anniversary Celebration as they touch your heart and ignite your passion for saving wildlife. Located just six miles west of Salina off I-70. For additional details go to: www.rollinghillszoo.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.