Wildlife Safari Park has opened its new Bison Overlook and Nature Play Area. The addition allows visitors to exit their vehicles and walk onto an ADA accessible raised platform, putting them eye-to-eye with North America’s largest mammal.
The 600-square foot viewing deck overlooks the 40 acres of woodland hills and open grasslands that make up the Bison Plains. A full-size bronze sculpture of a mother bison and her young calf greet guests at the entrance of the viewing deck surrounded by playground mulch, which encourages kids to climb. In addition, a nature-based playground offers opportunities to explore, play and learn. Gary Pettit, superintendent of the Wildlife Safari Park, said, “The bison are one of North America’s most iconic animals. Standing at the Overlook, you get a true sense of how the bison lived.”
A group of donors made the Bison Overlook project come to fruition as a tribute to a boy who came to his favorite place, the Wildlife Safari Park, every Friday to visit the bison. Lane Graves was a 2-year-old Elkhorn boy who tragically passed away in June 2016. In his honor, the efforts to build the overlook and playground came together.
Since its opening in 1998, Wildlife Safari Park has played a key role in conserving bison and educating the public about the critical challenges facing this native species. Currently, Wildlife Safari Park has a herd of 34 bison living in the Bison Plains, including the newest calf who was born on Aug. 16, 2019. Visitors have a great view of the auburn-colored calf roaming with mom and the herd from the Bison Overlook.