BORDEN — A planned, multi-million dollar safari-style wildlife park will open in the Borden area roughly between Weimar and Glidden next spring, complete with a large bird aviary and African animals, the park’s owner confirmed to The Citizen last week.
Dean Robicheaux, who currently owns Black Gold Ranch, an exotic hunting ranch hear Columbus, said the park is going to be “a Disney-world type park.”
“We’re developing 140 acres,” he said, noting they will have an additional 300 acres to develop at a later time.
The park will be named Hitari Wildlife Park, after a John Wayne film focusing on professional game catchers in Africa.
“It’s going to be a place where you have African animals, a 25,000 square foot bird aviary, a forest area for forest dwelling animals, and plains for things like giraffes, and zebras, and another section with elk and bison—more American type animals,” Robicheaux said.
Robicheaux said the aviary would cover over five oak trees and a running stream.
“It’s going to be a big time thing,” Robicheaux said.
Eventually, he plans a two-mile nature hiking trail along Harvey Creek, which will pass waterfalls, he said.
“It will be a family entertainment place,” Robicheaux said. “The tour will be a mixture of riding in trams and the forest area will have elevated wooden walks to walk through,” he said.
Robicheaux is no stranger to large projects. Along with Billy Brown, owner of the county’s Big Easy Ranch, and two others, he co-founded Black Hawk Specialty Tools, an oilfield tool company. The company later merged or overtook several other companies before itself being bought out by Frank’s International.
“This has been our passion,” Robichaeux said of the wilflife park. “We hope to break ground on the gift shop very soon,” he said.
He anticipates an opening date in the spring of 2020, with parking for 375 vehicles.