On a recent visit to Wisconsin, we stopped in at a place we’d heard a lot about but never seen before, Shalom Wildlife Zoo in West Bend. Shalom covers about 100 acres, all in a lush, natural setting. The gravel path that winds for 4 miles through this animal sanctuary is not the easiest to traverse but golf carts are available for rental, although we were feeling adventurous and made it around on foot, led by our tour guide who also showed us how and which animals to feed.
The spacious enclosures are in mostly wooded areas and the animals seem quite at ease here. The fences are minimal, where appropriate, and allow easy access for photography and little hands to feed the deer and other creatures that inhabit the sancuary.
Birds are plentiful and include ducks, geese, peacocks and some rather strange-looking emus (do not feed) that gazed at us curiously through the fence.
Their breeding program seems to be thriving as their white tiger recently gave birth to 4 cubs which have yet to put in a public appearance. We did see two other tigers but when your group leader is an active 4-year-old, you’re not allowed to linger too long in one place so I wasn’t able to get a usable shot. I was, however, able to capture a llama that looked please to see us, two tortoises that were up to some hanky-panky and a prairie dog that stood sentry duty while another attempted to dig his way out of the enclosure.
Shalom Wildlife Zoo is home to 75 species and more than 750 animals, including wolves, bison, bears, camels and zebras. The sanctuary is open on weekends January through April when you are allowed to drive your own car through the grounds. They are open daily May through December.
I hope I get another opportunity to visit Shalom as it was a most enjoyable experience, although next time I will be sure to wear more comfortable walking shoes.