The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 4, 1997 · Page 81
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 81

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Salina, Kansas
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Sunday, May 4, 1997
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Page 81
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.'/"•n'VoOr 'V/'i t\'? ".-f'-i f THE SALINA JOURNAL ROLLING: HILLS RANCH . . UNDAY, MAY 4, iO' 8L 1997 9 Lions and tigers and bears, oh my By GORDON D. FIEDLER JR. The Salina Journal "hen Rolling Hills Refuge Wildlife Conservation Center opens at 625 N. Hedville sometime next year, visitors will pass through the Jurassic Park-like gate and arrive at the main entry overlooking a sizable part of the 95-acre park. There, tourists can decide to sfart their tour at. the educational Discovery Center or by jumping on one of the trams for face-to- face encounters with lions, tigers, bears, rhinos, giraffes, gazelles, giant tortoises and other endangered or threatened species. Either by tram or by foot, visitors to this part of the Kansas prairie will glimpse such other incongruous sights as lemurs, hyenas, camels and kangaroos. If so inclined, and the park staff hopes they are, visitors can explore the Discovery Center and learn via CD-ROM why the animals are endangered or threatened. The hope is for the 7,000-square-foot center, with continually changing exhibits, to encourage visitors to discuss the plight of the Earth's threatened species and perhaps do research on their own. The facility will be the nerve center of the refuge in keeping with its mission of being an educational nonprofit foundation dedicated to the conservation and propagation of rare and endangered species. As such, it cooperates with other zoological facilities in researching the physiological and environmental needs of these species. "This is where they'll get a large part of the message," said park director Bob Do Something Wild! ""Hutchinson V* Zoo :> :>. In Carey Park Open 10:00 - 4:45 dally. Benefit Auction Fri., May 9th For information call: (316) 694-2672 DAVIS TURNER / The Salina Journal Milton, a 7,000-pound southern white rhinoceros from South Africa, will be one of the endangered species awaiting visitors at the Rolling Hills Ranch. Brown, standing in the yet-to-be-furnished center, which, in addition to banks of computer terminals, will house an extensive research library. The refuge grew from local benefactor Charlie Walker's collection of exotic animals and already has developed into a nationally respected facility qualified to manage and breed such extremely rare species as African southern white rhinoceroses. Adjoining the Discovery Center will be an amphitheater where tourists can view programs on subjects indigenous to the prairie, such as Native American dancing and presentations on medicinal plants. These types of programs were high on the lists of tour-bus patrons, Brown said. Throughout the rest of the park so much work still remains to be done that the dominant species currently on display is "homo constructus." But even in an unfinished state the refuge is a popular spot. The staff is giving limited tours, and so far all slots are booked through mid-August. When it officially opens next summer — possibly as early as April — there will be separate exhibits for rhinos, camels, giraffes, miniature donkeys, Arabian oryx, hyenas, maned wolf, anteaters, chimpanzees, orangutans, Colubus monkeys, lemurs, lions, Mandrill baboons, snow leopards, cougars, white tigers, reptiles, black bears, sloth bears, birds, small mammals, bongos (an antelope), okapi (related to giraffes), cheetahs and tapirs. There also will be a section for animals native to Australia and an "international overlook" featuring such species as wildebeest, gazelles, zebras, storks and ostriches. Close to the Discovery Center will be a prairie dog town and a petting zoo, and by the main entry will be a restaurant and gift shop. The refuge hopes to attract about iso.OOO visitors from a 90-mile radius the first year. By the time the park matures, Brown hopes to see twice that number driving through the massive front gate. The park will be open year-round, but depending on tourism during the traditionally slow months of December through February, some services may be adjusted to match demand. "The unknown is what the interstates will bring," Brown said. The refuge is located about two miles south of Interstate 70 at the Hedville-Culver exit and six miles west of Interstate 135, which carry about 23 million vehicles a year. "If we get 1 percent of that, we'll be building a new parking lot," he said. DISCOVER Hillsboro Historical Society's Treasures • Pioneer Mennonite Adobe House • Friesen Dutch Windmill • Kreutziger Country School • Visitor Center Open daily except Mondays Admission: Adults $2; Students $1 Located: 501 S. Ash Street Hillsboro, KSWOGS 316-947-3775 or 316-947-3506 Hillsboro Folk Festival May 24,1997 THE MUSEUM OF KANSAS Cliy through exploration, creativity, and invent ion. Designed for hands-on discovery- based learning, and provides many interactive experiences for children ages 4-12 and their families. The exhibits channel curiosity, involve the use of all senses, and appeal to many learning styles and intelligence modes. VJ, •KiOl Stair A\c 2N7-H8KN Medicine Lodge: Where History Comes Alive! Peace Treaty Pageant Re-enacted daily September 26-27-28 Indian Arts & Crafts, Village, Ceremonials, Parades, Muzzleloaders' Encampment, Crafts, Western Art, Historical melodramas, Music Poetry, Dances Kansas Championship Ranch Rodeo Cowboy Trappings & Trade Show September 26-27 Information: call 316-886-9815, or write P.O. Box 128, Medicine Lodge, Ks 67104 1997H AMERICAN BUS ASSOCIATION Concordia Majoi i:\vnls l\n 1W7-VX SPRING PRODUCTION AT THE BROWN GRAND May Through June • Brought to you by the Grand Players • Brown Grand Theater 5TH HEARTLAND AUTO SHOW June 7th • City Park CLOUD COUNTY FAIR July 22-26 • Fairgrounds NCK RODEO August 22 & 23 • Saddle Club Arena, Fairgrounds CONCORDIA FALL FEST September 27th • Downtown Concordia FESTIVAL OF MUSIC & LIGHTS November 22nd • Downtown Concordia CONCORDIA CELEBRATION OF CLOUD COUNTY STAINED GLASS MONTH, PARADE OF HOMES March 14th, 1998 • Downtown Concordia Fu aiiy ftMlha k^iii^Mioi qiit>A«KciA i^8tM>-34.V42^ /^

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