SALINA, KANSAS – 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 20th Anniversary Celebration on the anniversary of the Zoo’s official opening day, and a very special gallery show that takes the zoo’s guests back in time.
It was October 26, 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 well-known 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 Walker that Salina needed a zoo, and it wasn’t long before the work began to build a zoo.
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 the zoo’s 20th Anniversary Celebration is the new exhibit which takes guests back to a time when the zoo was simply a prairie, a barn and one man’s dream.
From the early sketches to the earliest residents, guests enjoy discovering how the idea of the Zoo turned into reality, what it took to build a one-of-a-kind zoo along with a world class wildlife museum, and the many lives it has touched throughout the years. This exhibit includes interactive displays, a “Kids Exploration Corner” featuring interactive games and activities for young and old alike, and a Memory Wall for guests to share their favorite memories at Rolling Hills Zoo.
This new gallery show will also feature a “Remember When” Documentary told by those who were there as the Zoo and Wildlife Museum were being built. Relive the memories with them through the laughter and the tears, as guests discover the passion, heart and spirit that went into building this very a place.
Then join Rolling Hills Zoo on October 26th during their 20th Anniversary Celebration, as they roll back admission prices to 1999! A great milestone will be achieve this year for Rolling Hills Zoo, but those at the zoo will quickly remind you, they are just getting started!
Discover your wild side at Rolling Hills Zoo, located just six miles west of Salina off I-70. For additional details go to: rollinghillszoo.org or follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Rolling Hills Zoo: Touching Hearts . Igniting Passion . Saving Wildlife