Guest Author - Linda McMaken
Sitting on the wooden deck the unmistakable sound of a lion’s roar echoed across the tall prairie grass, yet no one could catch a glimpse of the mighty beast. Just west, well actually a long way west of the Serengeti, is a prairie where the roar of lions, the banter of Bactrian Camels and the unmistakable call of the Trumpeter Swan can be heard. Nestled in the rolling hills and native grasses of eastern Ohio you can visit a nature preserve like no other, The Wilds.
Over 10,000 acres of Midwest prairie have been dedicated to preserving some of the most endangered species of animals on the planet. The Wilds offers up-close and personal visits with animals from Africa, Asia and North America. It is a working science, bio-environmental and educational facility. You can take tours, attend hands-on educational programs, and travel to different areas of the park with guides. All the animals have their own “free-range” areas. With camping at the park, in the nearby beautiful Blue Rock State Park and located close to the historic town of Zanesville, this is a truly unique vacation.
Created from reclaimed land, The Wilds offers an amazing array of family events throughout the year, beginning with the Annual EcoThon; a 10k run that has fast become a “must-do” destination for serious runners. Money raised through participants and sponsors helps support the various programs held at The Wilds.
For those who prefer a less strenuous vacation, are also birding workshops, group safari tours, adult, children and family camps, and sunset safari programs. The Sunset Safari Tour requires advanced registration as seating is limited. After an amazing dinner on the Café’s deck, safari participants take a sunset tour throughout the park, as evening is the perfect time to see most of the animals. With planned stops, great guides and amazing conservation efforts, this is a tour worth your time.
Don’t let the cold and snow of winter stop you from journeying to this unique park. During the off-season months, the staff is still busy caring for the many species of animals that reside here. The Sunset Safari Tour still runs, only on a more limited schedule and with warmer accommodations!
The Wilds is also fast becoming a leader in the new field of Conservation Medicine, a field combining multiple scientific disciplines, conservationism, zoology, and conservation management creating a unique environmental team. This team focuses on the environment, ecology, biology, animal, and human health, and how these all combine to affect animals, the land, the water, and the humans that all share the planet.
Spending a few hours at The Wilds can truly make you feel as though you’ve taken a genuine safari to the plains of Africa. The park is an amazing success story in the field of once useless land.
For further information, visit their website: http://www.thewilds.org/