Chahinkapa *

* Chahinkapa,” meaning end of the woods,” was a favorite meeting place for the Indians who established summer camps for bison hunting. (Wikipedia)

Chahinkapa Zoo, Prairie Rose Carousal and Fort Abercrombie…oh MY!

Chahinkapa Zoo is home to 70 species representing 6 continents and over 200 animals. 

  • The Prairie Rose Carousel is one of a handful of operating antique carousels in the United States. 
  • On our way home we will stop at Fort Abercrombie for a guided walking tour. 

Enrollment includes charter bus, zoo and fort admissions and a light picnic snack. Bring a cooler with your own lunch and beverages. Tour facilitator Van Gooch has taught biology at U of M Morris.  He will have your kids in stitches as he gives us a preview of the animals on the way to the zoo.

[A Community Education class, for in the immortal words of Alvy Singer [Woody Allen] in Annie Hall‘Cause adult education’s a wonderful thing. You meet a lot of interesting professors. You know, it’s stimulating.]

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[15 of us met at the Discovery Middle School parking lot for the trip to Wahpeton, North Dakota, and encountered wildlife immediately.  An osprey atop a cell tower.]

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[Professor Gooch shepherds his minions into the bus.]

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[And away we go!  It would be about an hour and a half ride, I-94 to Fergus Falls, turn left at Mabel Murphy’s toward Breckenridge, cross the border over the Red River, et voila – Wahpeton!]

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[And here’s the Red River of the North, famed in song and story . . . ]

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[And here’s Wahpeton (well, sorta).]

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[And here we are at the best little zoo nobody’s ever heard of.  Van noted those of us who live in Minnesota kind of live under a Minnesota/Wisconsin bubble and aren’t aware of what’s immediately to the west of us.  Beginning the 70’s, he brought his UMM students here to study animal physiology.]

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[Chahinkapa Zoo is located on 32-acres in Wahpeton. Opened in 1933 on land that had been purchased in 1903, it is the first zoo built in North Dakota. It is open May through October and by appointment during the winter. (Wikipedia)]

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[Here’s Van with his mentoree, Mason . . . ]

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[As we prepare for . . . ]

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[The class photo . . . ]

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[Taken courtesy of zoo director, Kathy Diekman.]

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[And into the zoo . . . ]

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[Let’s visit the Grizzlies!]

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[Apologies here, for a common problem at my age is I can’t remember names – here for neither the keepers nor the bears.]

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[The bears are brother and sister, the big boy weighing in at a hefty 1,100 pounds.]

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[The keepers make “requests” of the animals, useful for their enrichment and veterinary maintenance.]

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[And some photos by the Super – she likes big hairy creatures . . . ]

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[The sister isn’t exactly tiny either.]

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[Their treat at this time were green apples.]

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[And here’s a very unique and rare animal . . . ]

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[With many species, particularly those endangered, zoos exhange animals to expand the gene pool . . . ]

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[These snow leopards came from a zoo in Quebec . . . ]

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[Chahinkapa was advised they knew how to respond to requests . . . ]

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[But they didn’t?  Then they realized . . . Quebec?  They knew French!]

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[So, now the snow leopards are bilingual, unlike most of us.]

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[The Super’s photos . . . ]

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[‘Roos!  And we were invited in.]

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[Mason offers a treat . . . ]

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[And the Super loves to tend animals.]

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[Van feeds a big red, knowing to tread lightly around them.]

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[The overseer of the ‘roos.]

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[Van told us about these animals during the trip . . . ]

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[I had never heard of them before . . . ]

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[Pronounced “Foo-suh”]

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[They’re really quick with prehensile paws.]

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[Otters . . . ]

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[Always having a good time.]

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[As is clearly visible, we share 98% of our DNA with orangutans.]

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[And here’s Tal, master of all he surveys.]

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[He weighs in at over 300 pounds.]

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[He and Kathy are real buds.  When we arrived, probably to show he is not one to be trifled with, he was dragging that huge tractor tire (far corner) around with one hand.]

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[But he’s also a real Renaissance “man” – he paints, likes classical music, and in winter he has a lounge where he watches movies.]

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[The peacocks have the run of the place.]

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[Usually the first word in a dictionary.]

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[This guy (gal) was huge – here on rehab?]

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[Monkeying around . . . ]

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[The masters of the treetops.]

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[A ginormous elk, with his own indoor restroom?]

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[Golden pheasant – beautiful bird]

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[A rare species indeed!]

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[I like flowers!]

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[The Prairie Rose Carousel is a restored 1926 wood carousel built by Spillman Engineering for Lee Funland in upstate New York. It has twenty jumping horses arranged in two rows, and two chariots. Music is provided by band organ #125 from the Johnson Organ Co. The carousel is now housed in a climate controlled pavilion. (Wikipedia)]

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[The ride operator has a brother in Alex.  We asked his name.  He said Dave Olson.  We said that wasn’t much help!]

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[And we took a ride!]

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[The Super rode Pegasus.  I forgot my horse’s name – but then I’ve never been much of a horse fan.]

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[Then, back on the bus, Gus.]

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[A short ride to here . . . ]

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[Fort Abercrombie was established by authority of an act of Congress, March 3, 1857. The act allocated twenty-five square miles of land on the Red River of the North in Dakota Territory to be used for a military outpost, but the exact location was left to the discretion of Lieutenant Colonel John J. Abercrombie. The fort was constructed in the year 1858. It was the first permanent military settlement in what became North Dakota, and is thus known as “The Gateway to the Dakotas.”  It was besieged by the Dakota Indians for more than six weeks during the Dakota War of 1862. The fort was abandoned in 1877 and the town of Abercrombie was founded a half mile west in 1884.  The fort served as a transportation hub as it guarded the Red River Trails used by the Red River ox cart trains of the late fur trade, military supply wagon trains, stagecoach routes, and steamboat traffic on the Red River.  (Wikipedia)]

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[The tall grass patches are where buildings used to be.]

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[Quintessientially, North Dakota]

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[Part of our group wandered the property.  I just looked on from above.]

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[A bison robe . . . weighs more than Tal!]

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[We had an excellent 15-20 minute talk about the history of this area from a retired preacher from Owatonna.  Among the things discussed was the caliber of ammuntion used at the time – I don’t remember all the specifics but apparently one-time the fort received 69 caliber ammo rather than 57 caliber – or vice-versa, I’m not much of a caliber guy.]

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[A lovely all day trip in perfect weather.  Thanks again to Van and Cami.]

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Someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo.  ~  Paul Simon

Up Next:  Back to camp?

About tomobert63

The Journey Begins Thanks for joining me! This is the follow-up to the original, “,” which overwhelmed the system’s ability to handle it any more. Thus, this is “Part 2.” As the original was initially described: 10-26-07-4 “It all began in a 5,000 watt radio station in Fresno, California” . . . wait a minute, that was Ted Baxter on the Mary Tyler Moore Show! Let’s see . . . oh yeah, it all began in 2003 when retirees, i.e., old people, in Alexandria, Minnesota, who had no desire to become snow birds, went looking for mid-winter entertainment here in the frozen tundra of West Central Minnesota. We discovered girls’ high school hockey, fell in love immediately, and it remains our favorite spectator sport to this day. Initially, and for several years, reports on these games were e-mailed to those who were actually snowbirds but wanted to keep abreast of things “back home.” It was ultimately decided a blog would be more efficient, and it evolved into a personal diary of many things that attracts tens of readers on occasion. It remains a source of personal mental therapy and has yet to elicit any lawsuits. ~ The Editor, May 9, 2014 p.s. The photo border around the blog is the Cardinal girls’ hockey team after just beating Breck for the state championship in 2008. It’s of the all-tournament team. The visible Breck player on the left is Milica McMillen, then an 8th-grader – she is now an All-American for the Gophers. The Roseau player in the stocking cap I believe is Mary Loken, who went on to play for UND; and the Cardinal player on the right, No. 3, is Abby Williams, the player we blame most for making us girls’ hockey fans who went on to play for Bemidji State. *********************************************************************************** Photos contained herein are available for personal use. All you have to do is double click on any of the photos and they will become full screen size. You can then save them into your personal “My Pictures” file. They make lovely parting or hostess gifts, or holiday gifts for such as Uncle Ernie who wants to see how his grand niece is doing on the hockey team. If any are sold for personal profit, however, to, for example, the Audubon Society, National Geographic, Sven’s Home Workshop Monthly, Curling By The Numbers, or the World Wrestling Federation, I only request that you make a donation to the charitable organization of your choice. You have two hours and fifteen minutes. Pencils ready? Begin! **********************************************************************************
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3 Responses to Chahinkapa *

  1. G. says:

    Who knew about this zoo? Interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  2. JamiG4 says:

    Thanks!! Almost like being there!

  3. ruthao1945 says:

    We had so much fun!

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