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Jan 10

Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari

ElkLee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari near Ashland, Nebraska just 30 miles southwest of Omaha, is a four mile, drive-through North American wildlife safari.  The price was very reasonable for what it is and provides ample opportunities to see and photograph some of the finest wildlife in North America.  What few drive-through safaris that Karen and I have been to have always seemed to be either hit or miss.  We really enjoyed our time at Bear Country USA in South Dakota but other safaris have left us wanting.  Fortunately for us we came across the Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari while looking for things to do on our drive through Nebraska and since we already had planned on stopping at the Strategic Air and Space Museum we figured we might as well see the wildlife safari since it was right next door.  Both places were a hit and not a miss for us.BisonThe park is divided up into different sections for a variety of North American animals.  The first section was home to a group of elk, this was open prairie and they were easy to spot.  Next came the area called Deer Woods which is a shaded area with white tail deer.  Leaving the deer area we crossed a creek and the road took us to their well-designed wetlands area where a flock of pelicans were swimming happily around.  This area also has a nice set up for a group of Bald Eagles and is also the location of their Wolf Canyon which houses black bears and a wolf pack.  The wolf enclosure was very impressive with lots of room for them and good lookouts to see the wolves.  The bear area was also very natural, but the limited viewing area was a bit of a downer for me.  The Wolf Canyon area also had some hiking trails that led to scenic areas and provided a nice place to get out of the car for a walk.PelicansAcross from Wolf Canyon was their Hands-On Corral which is basically a farm petting zoo that features goats and chickens along with some other farm animals.  The Wolf Canyon along with the Hands-On Corral and eagle aviary were all put together well and were, for me, the highlight of the Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari.EaglesLeaving that area Karen and I traveled through their Crane Meadows habitat which is home to a variety of shorebirds including sandhill cranes and trumpeter swans.  There were also turkeys, waterfowl, and other birds to see.  Next up was the Bison Plaines where we saw bison, more commonly known as buffalo, pronghorns and elk including a cute baby one.  I was a little shocked that they had as many large mammals as they did.  It was a lot of fun to see them in a more natural and larger habitat then what could be found at a zoo.Baby ElkKaren’s favorite area was the visitor center which is designed to look like a small cabin, but inside is where they had several small nature exhibits and animal displays of snakes, turtles, and frogs.  Outside the visitor center there were some displays of other North American animals.  There is also a gift shop if you are into that sort of thing.sandhill cranesOverall, we really enjoyed our time at the Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari.  For being a drive-through safari exclusive to animals from this region we thought it was quite impressive and well put together.  If you couple this area along with Mahoney State Park and the Strategic Air and Space Museum, which are all located within a few miles of each other, you will be in for a very exciting and fulfilling day.Black BearLee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari
Located at 16406 292nd St, Ashland, Nebraska
Hours of Operation: Open from April through October 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Cost as of this Posting: Adults 12 and over $6.50, Seniors 65 and over $5.50 and Children 3 to 11 $4.50
For more information visit their website at http://www.wildlifesafaripark.com/

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