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‘A safe way for people to come through:’ Shalom Wildlife Sanctuary opens drive-through amid pandemic

Data pix.
David Fechter

David Fechter

WEST BEND -- If you're looking to change up the scenery during the COVID-19 pandemic -- a drive-through in West Bend might be for you.

"It's just a safe way for people to come through," said David Fechter with Shalom Wildlife Sanctuary. "Everybody has to stay in their car, and it's just a wonderful thing."

Home to more than 750 animals, officials at Shalom Wildlife Sanctuary, known as America's largest petting zoo, opened their drive-through experience in compliance with Governor Tony Evers' "Safer at Home" order from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except for Thursday.

It's a chance for families to see more than 700 animals up close by driving on trails that go right along exhibits.

Shalom Wildlife Sanctuary

"One car might see something, and the next person will see something that the last person didn't see," said Fechter.

Shalom Wildlife SanctuaryThe three-mile trail is usually walked or traversed via rented golf carts. The drive-through offers a safe way for people to connect to nature and wildlife -- and simply get out of the house.

From bears to camels, people have the chance to spot more than 75 species.

"You have to look for them, and chances are, when you see them, they're going to be doing what they normally do in the wild," Fechter said.

It also can be an educational experience -- with facts about animals and Native American philosophy found along the trail.

Shalom Wildlife Sanctuary

Shalom Wildlife Sanctuary

Lewis and Clark

With safety measures in place, owners said this drive-through can bring a great sense of relief during a time of such uncertainty.

"If one thing came out of this pandemic, it's probably how it united families," said Fechter.

Shalom recently welcomed brand new baby black bears, Buster and Molly. Stay tuned to their Facebook page for updates!

CLICK HERE for more information on the drive-through experience.

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