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Wildwood Zoo Birdsandbats' Wildwood Zoo review

Discussion in 'United States' started by birdsandbats, 8 Jul 2018.

  1. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Wildwood Zoo

    Date of visit: July 6 2018 (my second visit)

    Map: http://ci.marshfield.wi.us/zoo_files/2016-17 Winter Map.pdf

    Before I begin a review, I have one question. Can a zoo this small be considered world-class? If so, Wildwood Zoo qualifies.

    Wildwood Zoo is a 60-acre non-AZA zoological facility located in Marshfield, WI. It opened in 1904 when a pair of utility workers cared for a black bear cub. It only grew from there.

    Entrance
    For such a small zoo, Wildwood has a lot of entrances. There are a whopping 5 different places to enter! I entered through the north entrance, which puts you right at the highlight of the zoo, the Kodiak Bears. Admission is usually free.

    JP Adler Kodiak Bear Exhibit
    11/10. This exhibit is great. It opened in 2015, just before the zoo received two orphan Kodiak Bear cubs from the Alaska Zoo. It is made up of two separate exhibits, connected by an overhead "bear bridge".

    The larger of these two exhibits is forested, and therefore has lots of shade. It has a natural pool, and lots of climbing opportunities. It's open-topped. It reminds me of MNZ's Grizzly Coast, exempt it just doesn't have that level of immersion. It's still great, though. Even if this was all the area the bears had, it would still be excellent.

    The second exhibits is smaller, but still good. It is about half "modern bear exhibit" half bear grotto. About a quarter of the exhibit is in the old grotto style. The other three quarters remind me of STL's new Grizzly habitat.

    Wildcat Exhibit
    Despite the name of this exhibit, it does not house Wildcats. Instead, it is an interesting mixed exhibit for Bobcat and Canada Lynx. The outdoor space is slightly above average, with lots of climbing and hiding opportunities. The indoor area would be poor if the animals actually used it, but I believe it is used only as a training area, or to separate cats if feeding.

    There is also a mounted Grizzly Bear names Ms. Grizz here. Apparently, she used to a popular zoo animal.

    Mountain Lion enclosure
    An average exhibit for Mountain Lions/Cougars/Pumas/Mexican Devils/Purple Feathers/Deer Killers/whatever-you-want-to-call-them. There are climbing opportunities in the form of both rocks and branches. They also have more space in their off-exhibit den.

    Birds of Prey
    This area starts off with four average exhibits for Great Horned Owl, Red-Tailed Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, and Eastern Screech-Owl. All of these are rescue birds, and those that are able to fly are given room to do so. Each one has a nest box, and the ground of each exhibit is lush and filled with plants.

    But the real gem here is an interesting mixed exhibit. Bald Eagle/Rough-Legged Hawk. These species are in an aviary that is large for each species. There are several trees, a nest box, and lots of flight room.

    Sandhill Crane enclosure
    A slightly above average enclosure with a small cattail wetland built right in.

    Education Center (at least, I think that's what it was called)
    Mostly a nature center, but there is also a honey bee hive located here.

    Gray Wolf enclosure
    Your average forested wolf exhibit.

    Fox enclosure
    Another mixed predatory exhibit, this time for Arctic and Gray Foxes. An average enclosure, with lots of places for both species to hide, lots of places for the Gray Fox to climb, and the foxes actually have a tunnel system under the exhibit (I think it was built by the foxes themselves.)

    Prairie Animals
    Two enclosures can be found here. One is an above average outdoor exhibit for an Ornate Box Turtle. It has two pools, lots of logs to hide under, native wildflowers, and digging space. This is the zoos only reptile.

    The other exhibit is an average exhibit for a colony of Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs. It looks sort of bad, with a concrete body and moat above ground, but these ground squirrels seemed fine. They have digging space.

    Zoo Drive
    Not sure what to say about this complex. It's strange. The idea is that you drive your car through the exhibit, but not into the enclosures. You may stop every once in a while, get closer to the animals, take some pictures. I didn't do that. I walked.

    When you finally get to the exhibit after a long road/path, you a are greeted with what is either a small lake or a large pond. Wild ducks and geese ask you for food. A Domestic Greylag Goose and Mute Swan that freely range the zoo grounds can usually be found here. It takes awhile to walk around the pond (at least of foot), but then you finally get to the animals.

    The theme of zoo drive of ungulates, and they are all kept in very large exhibits. The first is for American Elk. It's made up of two separate big yards, connected by a pathway. Combined these exhibits are larger than the bear exhibit! It isn't Lone Elk Park huge, but it's still big. The next enclosure is an exhibit about the same size as the one for elk, this time for White-Tailed Deer. It is again two exhibits connected by a pathway, but this time, one is huge and the other s much smaller. Still a great exhibit, though. The next two yards are larger than all the rest. These yards rotate a herd of American Bison. The first one has a large pond, the other only has a trough. The one woth the trough is much larger.

    The only problem with these exhibits is that there is little shade. Each of these animals has access to dark barn, but, other than that, really no shade. The exception is the bison yard with the pond.

    Continuing on the road, is an empty exhibit that formerly housed Bighorn Sheep. You also get a view into the wolf exhibit.

    But make sure to do this exhibit last. The road leads out of the zoo. Unless you want to drive to the zoo again, save this complex for your departure.

    Conservation Efforts
    Besides education, Wildwood Zoo has pole with a device attached that monitors local bat population by sensing their echolocations.

    Overall, Wildwood is a great zoo. It is located in beautiful Wildwood park, and there is not a single bad exhibit. While it can't compete with giant zoos like San Diego, Saint Louis, or Omaha, if compared to other zoos with a similar collection size, Wildwood might be among the best.

    If you can call a zoo of this size world class, I believe Wildwood Park & Zoo is.

    Species List:
    Mammals (11 species total)
    Black-Tailed Prairie Dog
    White-Tailed Deer
    American Elk
    American Bison
    Canada Lynx
    Bobcat
    Cougar
    Gray Wolf
    Arctic Fox
    Gray Fox
    Brown Bear
    Birds (8 species)
    Mute Swan
    Domestic Greylag Goose
    Sandhill Crane
    Red-Tailed Hawk
    Rough-Legged Hawk
    Bald Eagle
    Great Horned Owl
    Eastern Screech-Owl
    Reptiles (1 species)
    Ornate Box Turtle
    Amphibians (0 species)
    N/A
    Inverts (1 species)
    Western Honey Bee

    Total: 21 species

    Awards
    Most Surprising Zoo No One Has Ever Heard Of

    Best Kodiak Bear Exhibit

    Best Not-Quite Safari Park

    Most Confusing Body of Water

    Strange Mixed Exhibits Featuring Predators
     
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  2. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member

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    The more observant of you will notice something all the animals at this zoo have in common. The person who gets it right get bragging rights!
     
  3. pachyderm pro

    pachyderm pro Well-Known Member

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    All North American animals.
     
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  4. Daktari JG

    Daktari JG Well-Known Member

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    Las Vegas United States
    Mute swans are not native (nor the greyleg for that matter) but I have to go with that as my guess. Maybe they shoulda had trumpeters.

    One thing I think that would make an interesting exhibit would be a bison/praire dog open exhibit with smaller praire dog critters at the fringe
    (rattlesnakes, black footed ferret, burrowing owl etc. I think the list of praire dog citizens is well over 100).
     
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  5. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member

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    You both got it right. Three of the species are introduced rather than native, but if you include them, this is true.
     
  6. geomorph

    geomorph Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Location:
    Newport Beach, CA, USA
    Thank you for the review, indeed I had never heard of it. The fox exhibit sounds interesting.