SALINA, Kan. (KSNW) — On Friday, Aug. 5, the Rolling Hills Zoo (RHZ) will open its new “Pride of the Prairie” African lion exhibit.

Nine months ago, RHZ broke ground to begin constructing the exhibit. Mimicking the savanna grasslands of Africa in nearly 20,000 square feet, this exhibit doubles the size of the lion’s original enclosure. It also includes a large visitor’s cave, indoor habitat, and additional off-exhibit housing.

Lions at the zoo (Courtesy: Rolling Hills Zoo)

The additional housing is special because it will help the zoo introduce a new male into the pride. This building has four large viewing windows where guests will be able to observe the lion being safely introduced into the pride. In the future, this space will serve as a den for a lioness and her cubs during the first few months of life, allowing guests a first look at the new offspring.

According to a news release sent out by RHZ, the exhibit will also provide a high, cliff-like advantage point “for the lions to ascend as they keep a watchful eye on their domain, mimicking behaviors in their native savanna.”

“The support for this project is nothing short of amazing, and I’m really excited to see the “Pride of the Prairie” enjoyed by zoo visitors and our lions for years to come,” shared Ryan VanZant, RHZ Executive Director.

The “Pride of the Prairie’s” lead donation was provided by Bill Graves and Martha Graves Reese of the William H. Graves Family Foundation.

RHZ is located at 625 N Hedville Rd in Salina and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during peak-season hours all week long.

To learn more about the Rolling Hills Zoo, click here.