Nebraska June 03, 2019
Visit The Safari Park In Nebraska That Was Named The Best In The Nation
Nebraska has a pretty famous zoo in Omaha – perhaps you’ve heard of it? But that’s not the only remarkable animal display we have to offer. Some 20 miles away sits the Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari. It’s affiliated with the Omaha Zoo and shares the zoo’s quest for conservation, but it’s an entirely different experience.
The Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari is located just outside of Ashland in southeastern Nebraska. It's often overshadowed by its big sibling, the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, but it deserves admiration as well.
The 440-acre park was recently voted the best of its kind in the entire country by
USA Today's 10 Best. It was the second such win for the small-town wildlife safari.
Many visitors choose to do the driving route only, which allows you to drive through the park and see all kinds of species up close and personal. Bison Plains, Elk Meadows, and Deer Woods all offer a glimpse into the lives of animals that aren't usually privy to.
Although visitors are required to remain in their cars, some curious creatures may just wander up to get a closer look into the car windows. Even if you've seen these animals up close before, it's always such a thrill to get close to them.
You may want to get out of the car to let the family stretch their legs. No problem - just park and embark on a short hike to some of the other exhibits.
Take a short hike to get to attractions like Wolf Canyon - where grey wolves and black bears reside - and the lovely Eagle Aviary.
Stop by the 10-acre Pelican Wetlands to see a huge flock of American white pelicans. Most of the birds are here because, even after rehabilitation following an injury, they can't be released into the wild. Look closely and you'll even see turtles, frogs, and other critters running around the wetlands.
The 12-acre Crane Meadow provides a close-up look at some beautiful bird species, including the sandhill crane and trumpeter swan. You'll hear their distinctive calls as they forage for food and wander the grounds.
You won't be able to touch most of the animals at the safari park - particularly not this hungry-looking wolf - but the Hands-On Corral offers a place for kids and grownups alike to make contact with some fun, furry farm friends.
Be sure to stop for a few minutes at the 2,100-square-foot Prairie Dog Town near the visitor center. Their yips and barks are fascinating, and you can't help but giggle when you see them hopping, digging, and diving underground.
The animals are only part of the story at this award-winning park. You'll also spot lots of plant species that are native to the area and which create a lovely backdrop to the animals who live there.
Whether you're here just to drive around and spot some bison or you're ready to make a whole day of this visit, this is one park everyone should visit at least once. Admission is $7.50 for anyone 12 and over, $5.50 for children ages 3-11, $6.50 for seniors (65 and over), and free for children 2 and under - you can get into this exciting and educational park for less than the price of a movie ticket!
Address: 16406 292nd Street, Ashland, NE, 68003. If you’re getting there on I-80, take exit 426. The park closes for the winter every year, so be sure to plan your visit for the warmer months. Check out its
website for more information and upcoming special events.
Have you ever visited this delightful conservation park and wildlife safari? We’d love to hear all about your favorite exhibit in the comments!