While I was visiting the Strategic Air & Space Museum I had noticed a pamphlet for the Lee G Simmons Conservation Park & Wildlife Safari. Never one to pass up adding more to an already booked schedule I decided to continue my morning adventure in Ashland by taking in a few “wild” animals before returning to Omaha. Most importantly I got to continue driving my rental car that I was thoroughly enjoying… it had a few more horses under the hood than my non-souped up truck at home.
I purchased a ticket to the park and began my drive along the dirt road. I found the elk were out and about and stopping where they pleased. This elk stood there for an embarrassing amount of time. But are you going to tell a 500 lb animal to move it? Most likely not.
But when the decide to move it, they will. Perhaps even take in a swim.
The next sighting was a rare, majestic, maybe one would even describe as allusive. The white tail deer. Just kidding they are not rare and usually are seen everywhere – including “sleeping” along most highway shoulders in the United States. Perhaps they would be less tired if they stopped running out in front of speeding vehicles – I don’t know, it’s just a suggestion.
Part way through the tour I pulled up to a parking lot and realized that the driving tour had a brief stop for a walking tour. Although you do not have to take the walking tour I figured I could stretch my legs for a bit (I would after all be on a plane for most of the afternoon later this day – it takes forever to get back to Idaho from anywhere).
I walked along the path to find caged owls. It sort of anticlimactic but I guess you can not let them roam freely as they would probably just fly off and you would never see them again.
I continued on and I found a rather large and high fenced off area. Now here was an allusive animal. Wolves were apparently inside this area. I walked the perimeter a few times before I spotted them.
I found one lone wolf and then later a pack of 3 roaming around. They were much smaller than I had expected but I assume that if there was not a fence between them and me I would probably feel differently about their size.
As I wandered away from the wolves I found a walking path which had come to a steep hillside with narrow stairs and a rope to aid you in your climb. I am sorry I do not have a photo for you, but just trust me it was tortuous and unrealistic as to why this hill of pain was included in what otherwise would be considered a pretty leisurely walk.
After climbing the hill of torture I made my way back to the car but not before checking out the black bears. I liked this guy, sticking out his tongue who probably thought that was going to stop me from taking his photo.
I got back into the car and drove on and found some bison lounging around. Even a white one – which I had never seen before.
These bison are free to roam so while you are driving just be aware, much like the elk, that if they want to stand somewhere and that somewhere is in front of your car, you are just going to have to deal with it. Unlike the 500 lbs of an elk, these bison can weigh as much as 2100 lbs. You’ll want to try not pissing them off – check out this video of a driver in Yellowstone National Park who seems to be doing no wrong.
video credit: icaughtatrout
I would like to ask the woman who is standing outside of her truck WTF is wrong with her – she just watched a bison ram the side of a car and she’s within feet of this animal – obviously she’s a genius. I also think the little girl in this video is probably the smartest out of the entire batch of people. After watching this bison ram the side of a minivan her mom honestly thinks this animal won’t ram the side of their car. Seems likely.
Anyways – sidetracked… but just be careful – OK!
If you would like to visit the Lee G Simmons Conservation Park & Wildlife Safari they are located at 16406 292 Street (exit 426 off of I-80). Tickets are $6.50 for adults, $4.50 for children (2 and under are free) and $5.50 for military and seniors and $3.50 for any military kids. The park is open daily from 9am to 5pm through October. The drive is 4 miles round trip.