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Riverside Discovery Center

History. Vision. Opportunity.

The Riverside Discovery Center’s history can best be understood in the historic description of the three separate entities it is composed of:

The Riverside Zoo, Don Steen’s Wildlife World, and Children’s University.

The Beginning- Riverside Zoo

Established in 1950, Riverside Zoo was a City-owned Park in Scottsbluff with a collection consisting mostly of waterfowl and a few deer. Throughout the zoo’s lifespan, the citizens of Scottsbluff have voted repeatedly in strong support of the zoo’s sustainability and milestone achievements.

Major renovations and upgrades in the late 1980s (original renovation) and 1990s (chimpanzees, big cats, moose) were supported by voters in the form of sales tax appropriations and led to the zoo’s 1990 accreditation by the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums, now known as the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.

Riverside Zoological Society Prior to Riverside Discovery Center’s formation, the Riverside Zoological Society was the major support organization for the zoo. Riverside Zoological Society has transferred all of its assets to the Riverside Discovery Center. The Riverside Zoological Society was founded and received 501 © (3) status in 1988 to provide support for the Riverside Zoo located in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. In furthering this purpose, the organization served as the fundraising arm of the zoo, while the City of Scottsbluff provided operational funding for the zoo.

Riverside Zoological Foundation In 1999, the Riverside Zoological Foundation received 501 © (3) status and served as an additional support organization for Riverside Zoo. The Riverside Zoological Foundation had historically focused on the growth of the zoo’s endowment.

Wildlife World

This attraction is closed. Wildlife World was a natural history museum in Gering, Nebraska, founded in 1989 by Don Steen, a world-traveler and avid outdoorsman. Wildlife World was originally named the Wyo-Braska Natural History Museum; it is the only natural history museum in Western Nebraska. Wildlife World received 501 (c) (3) status in 1989 with the primary goal to provide an educational and cultural experience for rural Western Nebraska as well as attract tourists from outside the region.

Wildlife World contains a world-class collection of over 650 animals, representing 380 species from six continents. The museum features a Baluchitherium, a gigantic hornless rhinoceros that lived 20-30 million years ago and the largest mammal to ever roam the Earth.

 

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