The Northshore’s Best Tourist Attraction

GLOBAL WILDLIFE FOUNDATION has delighted visitors for the last 25 years, and has again been voted the Northshore’s Best Tourist Attraction by the readers of Sophisticated Woman Magazine. Adults and kids alike love exploring the 900 acres full of free roaming animals delighting in the closeness that comes with feeding and interacting with the gentle creatures that roam the Folsom wildlife center. With over 4,000 animals including Père David’s deer, Grant’s zebra, rheas, red kangaroos, Indian blackbuck and reticulated giraffe there is never a shortage of animals to enjoy.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the center’s opening, founder Ken Matherne has commissioned sculptures by famed artist Alexei Kazantsev. The sculptures are currently being worked on in a studio located within the grounds of Global Wildlife and will be unveiled this Memorial Day weekend. Along with the sculptures, the center has taken on a 15-year plan to not only replace the 1,000 trees that were lost during Katrina but also to plant 1,200 new trees each year for the next five years. Each tree is being hand planted and the variety includes fast growing Maple, Sycamore, Poplar, Sweet Oak and Gum trees. These trees are available for adoption, a perfect way to support the project.

Every visit to Global is a new experience with the animals taking center stage. Tours are given in covered wagons or private Pinz tours are also available. Whatever tour you take, make sure you buy plenty of feed so you can get up close and personal with the animals. Spring is a perfect time to visit the center as many animals are giving birth on a regular basis and seeing their offspring is such treat.

Early on a freezing morning in February, Global Wildlife welcomed their newest member to their reticulated giraffe family. She was aptly named Elsa after the Disney princess in Frozen. Within minutes of her birth, the staff noticed that Elsa’s mother was not providing the maternal nurture that she needed, so they rushed her into the heated lab located on site and set about providing her with lifesaving care. It took a large team of staff that stayed with her around the clock, headed up by local veterinarian Dr. Barry Strickland along with plasma from the San Diego Zoo and goat’s milk from local goat farmer, Tiffany Lockhart of Farmhouse Dairy in Folsom. Their response was able to give baby Elsa a fighting chance.

We were able to visit and feed Elsa three weeks later and she was thriving. She is still being bottle fed and will need to be fed that way for up to six more months, however she had started to eat some alfalfa and was playing in her pen, spending nights in her specially converted and heated barn. She will need special care for months to come. Global Wildlife’s loving team is committed to her care and it won’t be too long before Elsa will be roaming with the rest of the giraffes and visiting with the guests of Global.

The dedication and commitment that founder Ken Matherne, public relations manager, Brittany Ricks and the rest of the Global Wildlife staff showed baby Elsa is a reflection of their ongoing mission to promote the education of children about wildlife, to ensure the conservation of threatened and endangered species, and to secure the future of wildlife preservation.

Global Wildlife is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit foundation. Located at 26389 Hwy. 40, Folsom, 985-796-3585,






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