Safari Park Day Off

Brick in Day Off mode: you know your mules are ready for a day off when your pack mule hides behind a tree…

A bag of corn, a bucket of water and a salt block. Oh, and a herd of elk. The mules are chillin’ on their day off. We’re guests of the Lee G Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari.

The mules’ arrival at the Wildlife Safari Park.

The Lee G Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari features a collection of animals indigenous to the Nebraska Plains. From elk, bison and prairie dogs to owls and a tiger salamander, it’s home to a deep collection of Nebraska’s prairie life. The safari part of it is that you get to drive through it all in your car.

The park has close ties with the Omaha Zoo, one of the nation’s top zoos. In addition to the drive-through Great Plains safari, the park has a successful cheetah breeding program. A tiger breeding program is also being developed.

The park hosted mules Brick and Cracker on site behind the interns house. While they munched and sipped and rested, the park gave me a great tour of their drive-through exhibit.

This is Christine DuPre’. She’s the person that got it all organized for me. We met in Plattsmouth, Nebraska 2 days ago. She works with primates at the Omaha Zoo. She thought I’d enjoy visiting the Wildlife Safari Park with my mules and, voil√†, here we are. Thanks Christine!
The mule chow Trinity: water, corn and salt. All provided by the Wildlife Safari Park.
Home tonight: my tent under the old pear tree.

A Tour of the Safari Park

I thought you’d enjoy a few pics from my tour of the park. Driving through the drive-through safari was a great preview of the animals and fauna that lie ahead of me as the mules and I travel West.

Rich has been with the park 17 years. Because I couldn’t ride the mules on the safari, he drove me through the park in his vehicle. Rich often serves as tour guide on bus loads of visitors so it was real honor to get the one-on-one tour.
Elk cooling off in a pond. The bulls’ antlers are in velvet stage. In another month or so, the soft covering will peel off to reveal the hard antlers.
Whooping crane. that’s not green scum, that’s duckweed, a tiny flowing plant.

Bison-sized Thanks

It’s been surreal showing up in Nebraska 2 days ago, not knowing anyone, and having this beautiful experience appear.

For that, I want to extend thanks to:

  • Christine DuPre’ (Omaha Zoo)
  • Dan Cassidy (Omaha Zoo)
  • Gary Pettit: Wildlife Safari Park Superintendent
  • Rich: for the personal tour of the park. Rich declined a ride on my pack saddle so we used his personal vehicle to tour the park.
  • Everyone else at the Wildlife Safari Park who made it such a great stay for us (and magically made corn and salt appear in front of my mules)
  • Kim and Mike
Kim and Mike: yesterday I called the Safari Park. Kim answered the phone. I explained I was looking for a place to stay with my mules. Odd as the request was, Kim didn’t hang up on me. Here, she and Mike are fueling me with Safari Park pop corn and coffee so I can get this post up.

From the Safari Park (outside Ashland, Nebraska) the mules and I head toward Valparaiso, Nebraska. From there we’ll follow the sun west.

Cracker spending some quality time with his salt brick. The mules are sweating a lot in the heat so salt is as important as water these days.


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[…] Mules Brick, Cracker and I are entering the land of the bison. Outside Hordville, Nebraska, we rode past our first herd. They were the farmed, not wild, kind. The bison above wasn’t too wild either. It’s a bronze cast at the Lee G Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari where the mules and took a day off. […]

Elisha Stanley
Elisha Stanley
4 years ago

Great Adventure. Love the Salt Lick picture! Be safe and Ride on!

mike samuelson
mike samuelson
4 years ago

Bernie, it was great meeting you. We are very proud of our park and glad you enjoyed your visit. Come back and see us again.

Todd Bryant
Todd Bryant
4 years ago

Wonderful stories and great photos. What camera do you use for these posts?

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