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Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz

A podcast about positive things happening in and around Washington County, Wisconsin

Shalom Wildlife Zoo in West Bend, with Shanna Martin

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Did you know we have wolves, tigers and bears all about five miles from our house?

Oh my! This week, Shanna joins Fuzz to talk about Shalom Wildlife Zoo—an absolute gem located just off of Highway 144 in West Bend (or maybe technically Barton or Farmington).

If you ever have an idea for the show, send an email with your idea to [email protected].

Thanks for listening!

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  • Transcript
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    Fuzz Martin 0:04
    Thanks for listening to Fifteen Minnutes with Fuzz, a hyperlocal show about all the fun and positive things going on in and around Washington County, Wisconsin. I’m Fuzz Martin, hence the name of the show. And I hope you enjoy this episode. And I appreciate you joining me. So since this is the first actual full length episode of the show, I thought it would be appropriate to do an experience podcast something that we’ve done it as a family that we really enjoy. And we’ll do these a time or two. For instance, we’ll be going to one of the Washington County beer gardens here soon, and I’m looking forward to one the beer garden and to tell you about it. Also, I’m working with new gear, so I thought I’d test it out with my wife Shanna Martin before potentially screwing up an interview with someone who is invested time and allowing me to talk with them about their organization or event. Because there’s nothing as a former radio personality, there’s nothing that gives me more anxiety than recording something and then it not actually recording. So I just wanted to test this out first. So a little bit about Shana. She’s a middle school teacher, technology coach and personalized learning coordinator for the school district, the Lomira—which is not affiliated with this podcast, just give some background on on who she is and what she does. She’s also the host of the Tech Tools for Teachers Podcast, and I’m super excited to talk with her this week about one of the coolest attractions in the area. Shalom Wildlife Zoo.

    Fuzz Martin 1:52
    Oh, man, I’m so glad you joined me to talk about Wisconsin’s wildest Zoo.

    Shanna Martin 1:59
    It is pretty fabulous.

    Fuzz Martin 2:01
    It’s pretty cool if this isn’t our backyard,

    Shanna Martin 2:04
    It’s not literally in our backyard, but it’s pretty close.

    Fuzz Martin 2:06
    Like it’s not like the the remember the movie We Bought a Zoo? Yes. I think about that all the time when I think about Shalom Zoo because they bought a zoo. I think they actually did they made a zoo, right. So as a mom and teacher, yes. How, how cool is it to have this nearby?

    Shanna Martin 2:29
    I appreciate it. And for several different factors like Shalom is very close to home. It’s easy to get to you know, it’s like 15 minutes from our house. It’s a morning adventure, no matter like what the weather we go when it’s raining when it’s hot out, you know, when it’s snowing, yes, but that’s different experience because you’re driving, right a walking thing. But to me, it’s like a way to burn off energy from the littles and take a walk in the woods, and also the animals. So it’s a beautiful walk, like you get some good exercise, right, but you don’t feel like you’re walking because you’re stopping and seeing all the animals and they have so many different animals, which is fun to see. And it’s very close. It doesn’t feel zoo-y. Yes, it doesn’t feel you know, it’s just it’s like a beautiful walk. But then I also like that from like teacher side of it. I do a lot of Wisconsin history stuff. And they have lots of information about Native Americans and different cultural aspects. So I’m always like, taking pictures like Oh, note to solve, I can add that into a lesson. So from like that side of it, I also appreciate the learning things, both the animals and the cultural pieces.

    Fuzz Martin 3:43
    So some fun facts about Shalom Wildlife Zoo one, Wisconsin’s wildest zoo, we’ve established a child Yeah. But it but it is in the woods. So it’s off Highway 144, which is just north of West Bend. And it’s on Shalom Road (Drive?), Shalom Drive. And oh yeah. 1901 Shalom Drive in West Bend. Visit to check it out, but really just go there. But it is the number one tourist attraction in West Bend for the last seven years.

    Shanna Martin 4:17
    Yeah, I think they have like fabulous TripAdvisor reviews they do. Yep.

    Fuzz Martin 4:22
    That is according to TripAdvisor. They also are the highest ranked zoo and Wisconsin which I think the reason is probably because whenever you have like a huge zoo like are huge. Anything you get a lot of like, I went there and I was you know I had to pay for parking in or whatever. So this is not a knock on the Milwaukee County Zoo which is wonderful.

    Shanna Martin 4:48
    Yes, we go there too. But not as often because it’s not close to us.

    Fuzz Martin 4:53
    What is super cool about this is Shalom Zoo—Shalom Wildlife Zoo is one of the top 10% of attractions worldwide according to TripAdvisor, and it’s right here in Washington County. Yeah. Which is super cool that we have this resource that’s nearby.

    Shanna Martin 5:12
    So like it’s grown over the years, too. So yes, they they’re constantly improving. We’ve been going Shalom for quite some time. And even in the last five years or so, it’s gone from like, visitors here. And there. You used to kind of see people and you kind of feed the animals to now they have expanded their parking lot. And they have their whole like grizzly grill. Like you can have lunch there. They have like a little you know, the little grill that you can go eat.

    Fuzz Martin 5:39
    Yeah, well, even the, the, the little gift shop when you go in there, yeah, like they’ve got that setup for like, yeah, you’re spending money there.

    Shanna Martin 5:51
    But what’s kind of cool is they’ve always done like little kind of prizes along the way. So you get your map, which is always great, too, because they’re really colorful, and the littles always want to carry the map and like, oh, map reading skills great. So they have their stops along the way. And they used to have like little toys kind of along the way. And for little kids, that was a fantastic motivator, like, Oh, hey, another half mile up this walk, like you’ll keep going because you’re gonna get a prize. But now they have these like chips or these tokens, and you click for tokens and in that gift shop now, you get to pick ice cream. Oh, no, there’s not the toys, which is kind of good just because I was lost and really end up in the car. But with the tokens I get to trade them and then they’d be like different ice cream flavors. And everyone gets little cup of ice cream. Wonderful at the end of your walk, which I know it’s it’s fun. Little

    Fuzz Martin 6:53
    little gem here in Washington County. Yeah, exactly. And so just a little bit more background on Shalom Wildlife Zoo, in case you haven’t been there or if you haven’t been there in a while. They have more than 75 species of animals. And they have more than 750 different animals there at the zoo.

    Shanna Martin 7:10
    Others babies hikers they have their baby tigers, baby. Some sort of Fox white fox red fox,

    Fuzz Martin 7:16
    I’m I’m partial to the bears. They’ve got a brown bear or set of brown bears. And they have a set of black bears. Yes.

    Shanna Martin 7:25
    The brown bears are Lewis and Clark. Nice to have names. slackers are like Jr. sighs okay. They were babies last year. All right.

    Fuzz Martin 7:34
    I don’t remember their names. We can name them later.

    Shanna Martin 7:38
    I feel like we like name them every time we go. They get new names and they have names

    Fuzz Martin 7:41
    what for but? And. Sookie?

    Shanna Martin 7:45
    No. Okay. I don’t remember their names.

    Fuzz Martin 7:49
    So if you have not been here yet. There are it is a four mile long. Zoo. It’s four miles of gravel trail will say yes.

    Shanna Martin 8:00
    And that’s the block all of them. Like you can make an outer loop and that cut the inner loops. Yeah. You can kind of tweak it as you need to. But it is a solid walk. Like if you’re gonna take kids and stuff for your water bottle.

    Fuzz Martin 8:15
    Yeah. Right. Bring your stroller that’s good for gravel. Yep. Not your umbrella stroller.

    Shanna Martin 8:20
    Unless you got really good tires on it.

    Fuzz Martin 8:23
    Oh, I see. Yeah, like we’ve we’ve got a Jeep umbrella stroller. But now we’ve got a six year old so that doesn’t matter. But the I would say carts too. Yes. You can rent a golf cart. I I’ve forgetting the price. I could probably look it up on the on the internet here as we go. But they do have their $30 for two hours. They’ll carry for people. So if you have some accessibility needs, you can rent the golf court card. If you don’t want to walk, you can rent a golf cart. If you just want to drive a golf cart, you can rent a golf cart. So when do you like to go? What is a good time of day to go free?

    Shanna Martin 9:05
    I feel like if I give this tip away, then everyone’s gonna go when I go. I’m so

    Fuzz Martin 9:10
    I’ve only have way too much confidence in the reach of this show so far.

    Shanna Martin 9:16
    I’ve always gone in the morning, because as I am a teacher usually, if I’m off in the summer, in our temp time, at some point we go in the mornings. Yep. I find that Monday morning. By like 930 The best time to go. Now, everybody seems to love Shalom. I have noticed that by 11 o’clock. Both parking lots are full.

    Fuzz Martin 9:43
    So yeah, so if you go like real life, you go right away in the morning, you’re better off and you come

    Shanna Martin 9:49
    Well that also means you’re gonna get your ice cream cup that you’re gonna be eating at like 10:30

    Fuzz Martin 9:53
    Yes. So remember that knowing your your chance, but

    Shanna Martin 9:57
    not that it’s not like overly crowded by 11 clock just there’s more like the parking lots full are pretty close to full, especially if it’s a beautiful day outside.

    Fuzz Martin 10:06
    Yeah, speaking of like timing and all that stuff, they do allow carians. So if you need to feed the children while you’re walking down the path because it can

    Shanna Martin 10:19
    be picnic spots along the path. So as you’re walking, you get kind of pastels and like butterfly garden kind of thing and overbridge and it’s over by the camels, there’s, there’s picnic tables, and a little playground, it’s kind of like a halfway point, and you can have a picnic there. And they have it set up that way, where you can kind of stop and have a snack or

    Fuzz Martin 10:38
    Yeah, and it’s super cool. So I mean, go and make a you can make a whole day out of it. You can make most of the dads

    Shanna Martin 10:47
    out of Yeah, and those the additional playground to that’s over by like the horses and the farm animals and stuff. So they have like a full playground over there too. So there’s ways to kind of walk enjoy the animals and hang out. And they’ve gotten they have it’s growing. There’s more and more animals. I feel like each year

    Fuzz Martin 11:06
    yeah. And I think they’re getting more maybe Tigers exotic. I mean, they they brought the wolves in a few years ago. And they’ve got bobcats and the other baby tigers, tigers. Sure.

    Shanna Martin 11:18
    That’s cool, because each animal can has a story. And if you follow them on Facebook, they’ll give you some of the backstory like the updates the baby Tigers that are sugar and spice. They kind of give their naming.

    Fuzz Martin 11:28
    There’s like it. I really feel like so we’ve been watching, I’m sorry, but we’ve been watching and discovery plus, zoo, the zoo. I feel like they need their own show their own show. I would watch that every night.

    Shanna Martin 11:42
    It’s fine. Well, if you literally if you watch their Facebook page, they video, especially the baby Tigers right now. And they give their story. So you can kind of follow the animals before you make your trip to go and see which animals are being featured that week. Or, like there’s the baby their Fox, their weight. I don’t color there. But they like the mom just had them and we had like all these pups. And so this week they posted they’re out of the done now you can see them so they do give updates, which is kind of cool. So you know which animals are kind of out and about maybe which ones are

    Fuzz Martin 12:17
    ya know, doing something? napping? Yeah.

    Shanna Martin 12:20
    And there’s a baby buffalo. Nice. Yeah, that’s there this season as well.

    Fuzz Martin 12:26
    Fun. They’re open seven days a week, by the way. So you can go any any day. But they’re open from nine to five. But you have to get there by 330. Because they closed right away at five. Yeah. And so they’ll they’ll scoot you out. If you’re though I don’t even think they’ll let you in after 330. No,

    Shanna Martin 12:42
    I don’t think so. And also too, if you go in the morning, like when I suggested Yeah, they’ve fed most of the animals breakfast. So they’re eating breakfast. Oh, fine morning. So that’s kind of cool, because you can see them munching on their breakfast. Yeah,

    Fuzz Martin 12:53
    and, you know, eating animals, happy animals, we know with a little puppy. So they have shorter. So those hours, nine to five are right now. In November, and in the early spring, they’re open from 10 to four, but check before you go. And then in the winter months, you can also drive your car. So in fact, I think you’re only allowed. Yeah,

    Shanna Martin 13:17
    like the month of like, November, December.

    Fuzz Martin 13:21
    I think Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve is drive thru only in your car. And they’ve got a super cool light display called Christmas in the zoo that we go to every year. And it’s it’s really cool.

    Shanna Martin 13:32
    It is so fun. And I feel like that also grows each year there’s been more lights added and more like you’d see the animals and and that’s very cool.

    Fuzz Martin 13:41
    Yeah, it is definitely a gem here. In our area. Again, it’s in West Bend. It’s at 1901 Shalom drive, right off highway 144. Their website is And we really encourage you to go out and and go see the little baby. Super cool. Well, Shanna, thank you for coming on. Happy to be my first actual episode of Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz. And I’m sure I’ll talk to you again soon. We have so many things to talk about on here, but also just because we are married. And that’s it. That’s part of the part of the gig. So thank you very much.

    Shanna Martin 14:23
    Thank you.

    Fuzz Martin 14:26
    Thanks again for listening. Hey, we want to hear about all the cool things happening in and around the Washington County area. It’s okay if it’s in a neighboring county as long as we can get to it pretty quickly. If you have an idea, shoot me an email “fifteen” spelled out [email protected] that’s [email protected]. Thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you next time on Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz.

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