Zoo Brew Craft Fest

Written by on August 28, 2019

Rolling Hills Zoo is located 20 minutes West of Salina. On August 24, they hosted the Rolling Hills Zoo Brew. The Zoo Brew was a 21 years and over event. Tickets were $35 for members and $40 for non-members. They also allowed a DD price of $20 (no alcohol).

The Zoo Brew was attended by around 650 guests. There were 80 beer vendors offering 3oz. samples, unlimited food samples, and entertainment by the band Sunset Sinners.

Travis Young, a board member, said “The zoo brew benefited the general operations of the zoo”. He proudly explained “This unique zoo, in the middle of a field is AZA rated, 1% of the zoos in the United States has this rating, making the zoo eligible for breeding purposes”. He also said “Go to the zoo first thing in the morning, the animals are active and talking.  You’ll hear noises you have never heard before.”

Tracy Allen, Events Director, said “The Zoo Brew was attended by approximately 650 people and the proceeds from the event assists in the animal wildlife conservation at Rolling Hills Zoo”. Allen also said “the zoo currently houses over 120 animals”.

I visited the website to see what was the next event that Kansas Wesleyan students and families might want to attend and that is the 20th anniversary celebration, which is coming up October 26.

Fall hours are 9-5. Summer hours are 8-5.

Zoo Brew Crowd | KWU Student Media

People gather for the Zoo Brew craft fest celebration of 2019.

Zoo Brew Guests | KWU Student Media

The crowd enjoys the evening’s entertainment at the Rolling Hills Zoo.

Sunset Sinners Band | KWU Student Media
tiger cubs Melissa Anderson | KWU Student Media
Rolling Hills Zoo Rhino | KWU Student Media

Here is a little bit of information about the zoo.

In the early 1980’s, Salina businessman Charlie Walker purchased a section of ground in western Saline County. A large barn was built to house a number of Belgian horses, and then Rolling Hills Ranch was born. During the early years, hundreds of schoolchildren visited the “Main Barn” each year to learn about the large draft horses.

In the late 1980’s, Walker decided to add a few animals to the barn, such as two black bear cubs, a few llamas, and a lioness. The tours were no longer requested only by school groups as family reunions, class reunions, and other groups were requesting tours of the Main Barn to see these incredible animals. The excitement generated by these animals convinced Walker that the Salina community and surrounding area would benefit from having a wildlife park.

In 1995, the exotic animal portion of the ranch formally broke its ties with Rolling Hills Ranch and became a private, non-profit foundation dedicated to the conservation and propagation of rare and endangered species. The animal collection, land, and equipment were donated into the newly-formed foundation, Rolling Hills Refuge Wildlife Conservation Center, and construction of the zoo began in earnest. After five years of construction, the zoo opened to the public in the fall of 1999. When guests visit the zoo, they see the animals living in naturalistic exhibits within a beautifully landscaped, yet rural setting. Guests are able to view animals living out their lives with the dignity and respect they deserve.

In 2000, the vision was expanded to include a wildlife museum. A 64,000-square-foot building was constructed. A portion of this building was designated as a conference center that could be rented out for business meetings, receptions, or used for the zoo’s own events.

In 2009, the park underwent an official name change to Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure. Rolling Hills Zoo is a public, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of wildlife through participation in conservation programs and by providing fun and interactive educational experiences.

Rolling Hills Zoo is just such a wonderful facility.  As an Accredited Member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the gold standard in animal care and nature based education programming is top notch. Through our public science education programming, our unique and impactful conservation and animal welfare projects, the delivery of the very best in animal care and welfare for our living animals while providing visitor experiences that last a life time, your Zoo is helping to create that world where all wildlife is respected, valued, and preserved for the future.


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