Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park in Ashland, Nebraska, is opening more areas for visitors today after being a drive-through experience only this season due to coronavirus. Guests are now able to leave their vehicle to do some exploring.
Areas opening today to visitors include the walking trails, the Bison Overlook, the Pelican Wetlands Overlook, the Eagle Aviary, the Prairie Dog viewing, the Pawnee Creek Food Trailer, and the base deck of the Crane Meadows Viewing Tower (all other levels are closed). The Visitor Center is open for concessions and retail items with a capacity restriction of 25 guests at a time. Campout Programs and Classes for family groups will also begin again with restrictions for participants’ health and safety. The Hands-On Corral and the Nature Play Area at the Bison Overlook will remain closed for now.
Pawprints have been added in high-traffic areas to assist with 6-foot social distancing, while directional signage and barriers also mark changes. It is strongly recommended that guests wear face masks while enjoying the Wildlife Safari Park. Restrooms are open for one family at time and additional hand sanitizers are available. Drinking fountains and water refill stations remain unavailable. Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols continue to be a highest priority based on the health and safety guidelines provided by state and local authorities.
“All of us at the Zoo and Wildlife Safari Park are thrilled to take this next step toward normal operations, while following the guidelines provided by Nebraska officials,” said Gary Pettit, superintendent of the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park. “We are overwhelmed by the record-setting attendance we have had this year as a safe, outdoor experience for people during the COVID-19 crisis, and extremely grateful for the community support.”
Admission prices return to normal today. The price for adults, ages 12 to 64, will be $8. The price per child, ages 3 to 11, will be $6, and a senior’s admission, ages 65 and older, will be $7. Military personnel receive $1 off in all categories. Wildlife Safari Park Memberships are available for $60 or as an add-on to your Zoo membership for $50. A Safari Park Membership is good for one year from date of purchase. The Wildlife Safari Park is open April through October with daily hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Wildlife Safari Park is committed to the safety and well-being of our guests, animals, and employees, and will make changes as needed based on actual operating conditions and guidance from public health experts and elected officials.
While the Zoo gates were closed due to the Coronavirus crisis, dedicated staff continued to care for over 30,000 animals every day. Because of the closure, there is a significant revenue shortfall expected. In response, the Omaha Zoo Foundation has launched an Emergency Fund campaign to support ongoing Zoo operations. Members of the community who would like to contribute can visit the Zoo’s website, OmahaZoo.com.
USA 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Award Nominee
Today also begins the voting for USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards. USA TODAY has once again selected Wildlife Safari Park as a contender for “Best Wildlife Park” and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium for “Best Zoo.” Asian Highlands has also been nominated as “Best Zoo Exhibit” in the country.
Voting is open until Monday, July 6. Each person can vote once per day, per device for the run of the contest. The top 10 zoos, zoo exhibits and wildlife parks with the most votes will be announced on the 10Best’s website on Friday, July 17, 2020. The winners will also be announced on USA TODAY.
To vote for “Best Safari Park,” select Wildlife Safari Park in Ashland, Nebraska at
To vote for “Best Zoo,” select Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium at
To vote for “Best Zoo Exhibit,” select Asian Highlands at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium at