Tag Archives: ashland nebraska

Seeing Nature Up Close in Siouxland, Lee Simmons Conservation Park, Ashland, NE

5 Nov

A Bald eagle calls out at the Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari Park Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022 near Ashland, NE. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On an outing in Siouxland I visited the Lee G. Simmons Conservation and Wildlife Safari Park near Ashland, NE. It’s a drive through park where one can get up close and personal to some animals. There are areas one can park and step outside the vehicle which makes it a little easier taking photos that trying to do the same in the car.

A bald eagle calls out to others at the Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari Park Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022 near Ashland, NE. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A bald eagle responds to another one calling out at the Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari Park Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022 near Ashland, NE. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The bald eagle enclosure keeps the birds in, but a fenced gate/doorway allows visitors inside the enclosure where one is within a football field 30-yard line distance from these incredible birds. I have seen them in the wild flying about and fishing and able to get close enough to photograph them clearly. And heard them call while flying, but I had never seen them calling up close and personal.

There seems to be varying ages of eagles at the safari park. Most times these birds have been found injured and rehabilitation was not able to restore them to the wild to continue their life. One bird in particular seemed much older, with a feather growing out of its beak or some point around it. Making me remember aged aunts and grandmothers who also occasionally sported whiskers as they got older.

A bald eagle returns a call at the Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari Park Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022 near Ashland, NE. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I think about it, I become a little sad knowing these birds once flew hundreds of miles soaring above the earth and making their way in the world until some unfortunate accident that now requires them to live in captivity. Maybe remembering their days of youth and freedom and watching the world pass below from their perch on high.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A bald eagle sits shielded on a branch as it watches others call out at the Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari Park Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022 near Ashland, NE. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A bald eagle sits shielded on a branch as it watches others call out at the Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari Park Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022 near Ashland, NE. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Venturing out of Siouxland, Lee Simmons Safari Park, Ashland, NE

13 May

Venturing out to the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Venturing out of Siouxland in recent weeks has not been totally difficult as in many places around the country, but still done with a little trepidation and awareness. On a weekend, which I don’t know what possessed me as opposed doing this during the week, I took a drive out west past Omaha, NE to visit the Lee Simmons Safari Park in Ashland, an offshoot of the Henry Doorly Zoo. It was a nice weekend and many other folk had the same idea. Normally at this park folk can park and stay and watch the animals there, but because of the coronavirus the park is currently only allowing drive through visitation.

Venturing out to the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors in vehicles snake their way past a herd of bison at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On my way out of the park I asked one of the attending park personnel how many people had visited and he responded he didn’t know the total, but roughly there were 400 vehicles every hour entering. I later told friends I had not seen this kind of bumper to bumper traffic since living in the Los Angeles area in the 1990’s. But still, people were patient and gracious, giving everyone a chance to stop and watch and photograph animals as we all snaked our way through the acreage.

Pelicans relax at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Venturing out to the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are a variety of animals, although not as much as at the zoo proper. And on this particular day the animals seemed to cooperate and allow a look at a large number of people adjusting to a different way of spending leisure time.

Kids stick their head out of the top of a vehicle to better see animals at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Children poke their heads out of a sunroof and door window to better see the bison at a pond at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A bald eagle in an aviary enclosure at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Parts of Nebraska are beginning a soft reopening. Time will tell how that is going. Venturing out is desirable, but staying healthy has a stronger pull to walking about and into who knows what. Maybe some road trips onto the backroads of Iowa and Nebraska, just to take a look and see what one should visit again when the coast is clear.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A pelican “waves” at visitors driving through  the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Animals roam free at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Enjoying a drive through at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Animals relax as people driver through the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Signage directs visitors to see the animals and find other places at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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