SALINA — If you are looking to get away for the day on a short trip or a weekend adventure, look no further than Salina. From Great Bend it is a nice ride through prairies and farm land, making your trip even more enjoyable.
Before heading to Salina be sure to make a stop at Rolling Hills Zoo at 625 N Hedville Rd. Accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, Rolling Hills Zoo meets the highest standards in animal care. With a mission to touch hearts and ignite a passion to save wildlife, this Zoo is dedicated to wildlife conservation and educating young and old alike on the importance of our planet’s bio-diversity. During your visit to the zoo, you will experience some of the world’s most incredible and endangered animals.
The zoo is off Interstate 70, 6 miles west of I-135 and 2 miles south of Exit 244 on a paved road.
Your trip is not over until you visit the zoo’s world-class Wildlife Museum. Covering seven eco-systems, the wildlife museum’s dioramas depict scenes from around the world – including the African savannahs and watering hole, the Arctic tundra, rainforests, North America and even the far east. On your journey through the museum you will encounter the majesty and diversity of the animal kingdom.
Zoo & Museum Hours: Open seven days a week. March 14 through Nov. 6, the hours are, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. From Nov. 7 through March 12, 2022, the hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Rolling Hills Zoo is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Admission: Adults $13.95; Seniors (65+) $12.95; Children (ages 3 -12) $7; Children (2 & Under) free.
Amenities: On-site restaurant, picnic area, tram rides (check schedule), free dog kenneling; stroller, wheel chair and scooter rentals.
More Information: rollinghillszoo.org
On to Salina
Once finished at the Zoo and Museum, head into Salina where there is a wide array of entertainment options. Salina hosts several community events throughout the year. Normally held in June, this year’s Smoky Hill River Festival will take place Sept. 2-5 at Oakdale Park with three and a half full days of festival fun including an arts and craft show, four live music stages, a children’s Artyopolis area, roving entertainers, and a flavorful Food Row. Originally held as a downtown street parade to celebrate the United States Bicentennial in 1976, the festival proved popular enough to hold every year.
The Smoky Hill Museum’s Street Fair will take place on Sept. 25, 2021 and includes a parade, live entertainment, a chili cook-off, and historic demonstrations. In November, downtown Salina hosts a Christmas Festival, including a 5K run, a mile walk, family entertainment and the annual Christmas Parade of Lights – featuring lighted floats.
Salina’s private organizations also host several annual expos, fairs, trade shows, and sporting events. Several events pertain to area agriculture including the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce Mid-America Farm Expo in March, Tri-Rivers Fair and Rodeo in August, and The Land Institute’s Prairie Festival in September.
Other annual events held in the city include the SculptureTour UNwrap Party in May, ISIS Shrine Circus and Saline County Mounted Patrol Rodeo in April, the KKOA Leadsled Spectacular in July, as well as many regional sporting events. You’ll find performances at Salina Community Theatre, Historic Stiefel Theatre, and Tony’s Pizza Events Center. Salina Art Center features exciting exhibits year-round along with Smoky Hill Museum, and coming soon ... The Garage, an exciting automotive museum!