Prairie Dog Town

Prairie Dog Town
We left my parents’ house last Wednesday morning, and spent many hours in the car. After stopping for the night in Manhattan, Kansas, we reluctantly got back in the car for the worst part of the drive: western Kansas and eastern Colorado.
No offense to anyone who lives in these areas, but seven hours of flat, brown landscape while sitting in a jam-packed car, is incredibly boring and uncomfortable. Despite listening to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (we’d finished Philosopher’s Stone the previous day) the drive was really getting to us at this point.

Which is probably why when we saw the signs telling us, “RATTLESNAKES, FOXES, GOATS, BUFFALO,” or “36-INCH LIVE DONKEY,” and most especially, “5 AND 6-LEGGED COWS,” in only 150 miles, we started talking about how fun it would be to stop at a tourist trap and see a bunch of animals.

And by the time we were only 50 miles away, we were really wondering what the big deal about a 36″ live donkey was. Is that big? Small? Abnormal in some way?

We had to find out.

We took the exit and fortunately it was right off the highway. It was a low building with a big red “Prairie Dog Town” sign above the entrance. There was a privacy fence around the entire property so that you couldn’t get a peek without paying.

So we forked over $9 each, and an additional fifty-cents for a small bag of animal food.

The rattlesnakes were all kept inside the building in a big plywood box with a chicken-wire top. They laid there, under the heat lamps, like snakes do.

I was beginning to question what the rest of the “town” would be like.

We stepped outside and I felt a bit like I was back in Indiana on a friend’s farm. Because that’s pretty much all it was. A bunch of pens and cages with animals inside.

Except we don’t have prairie dogs in Indiana, and those little guys are adorable! They’d pop up and run around from hole to hole and reach out and grab the food Anthony would put down for them. I loved them!

After that, I was less than impressed.

I hate zoos because I hate seeing animals caged up, and I felt the same way here. I loved seeing the fox, coyotes, and bobcat, which I likely wouldn’t get to see well in the wild, but hated how they were kept in small cages with hard cement floors and nothing soft to sleep on. (the coyotes and bobcat didn’t want to pose for photos)

The five and six-legged cows were strange, but not what I was expecting. The extra legs came from their back/shoulders and just hung there. It was weird and I do wish I’d been able to see them better because I find that kind of stuff interesting.

Besides the prairie dogs (which had free-run of the place) the only really happy animals seemed to be the goats. They were so excited to eat food out of Anthony’s hand! They’d all run up and line up along the fence and butt each other out of the way to get a treat. It was pretty funny.

It was definitely great to get out and stretch our legs, and now we can say we’ve been to a tourist trap, but I really can’t stand seeing animals in cages. I wanted to take them all home with me!

And I still don’t know what’s so special about a 36″ live donkey…


One thought on “Prairie Dog Town

  1. Though I’ve never been through the midwestern part of the country, I always feel like there are bizarre attractions like this and I’m kind of intrigued (not for the zoo aspect though – that always does make me sad). But 5/6-legged cows? Whaaaat?

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