Zoo
Animals
Restaurant
Safari Station
Seasonal Activities

No visit to Rolling Hills would be complete without a stop at Safari Station gift shop! Specializing in merchandise for wildlife and nature enthusiasts, guests will find a wide variety of unique gifts and souvenirs. Items include plush animals, jewelry, educational toys, T-shirts, and much more. The Safari Station is open during regular Zoo hours.

Interested in purchasing one of our unique gifts - contact the Safari Station here.
   
History of the Station
Besides being a fun stop for shoppers, Safari Station is a small piece of Kansas history, as well! The building originally was the Union Pacific Train Depot in Tescott, Ks, a town about 15 miles northwest of the Zoo. The depot was built in the mid-1880s and presumably opened in 1887, the date of the earliest available records.

In its early years, the station was served by the Salina, Lincoln, and Western Railroad (SL&W), the forerunner of Union Pacific. Because of the location of Tescott, both passenger trains and freight trains regularly passed through on cross-country trips to the East or West Coasts.

As years passed and the railroad boom slowed across the country, business at the depot dwindled. The last passenger train, or jitney, went through Tescott on June 1, 1958. By the early 1970s, the depot had been purchased by a Lutheran church in Salina and was moved to private land to be used as a retreat center.

In late 1994, Zoo founder Charlie Walker acquired the land where the depot had been sitting since being moved from Tescott. It had fallen into great disrepair and had not been used for many years. A decision was made to renovate the building and use it for the RHZ gift shop, and by the summer of 1995, the building was moved to the future site of RHZ and plans were in the works to transform it into the Zoo ticket booth and gift shop.

The building had to be structurally rebuilt, but great care was taken to preserve the style of the original depot. The inside was remodeled, as well, to accommodate a store and ticket booth on the upper level, with office and storage space on the lower level. Although the trains no longer run by the station, the depot once again is a place of comings and goings as people visit the Zoo each day.


Copyright 2013 ~ Rolling Hills Zoo ~ Contact Us