A World-Class Raptor Free-Flight Show
Is Under Construction, Now!
It is directly behind the existing Nature Center with a beautiful view of the Big Springs Meadow and surrounding forest. It was designed by WDM Architects of Wichita, KS, the designers of the Phoenix Zoo’s new amphitheater and animal enclosures. They are world renowned for building animal enclosures that provide animals with challenges, choices, and control over their environment. It is expected to be a tremendous asset for the entire White Mountain Community for bird shows, nature presentations and many other community events.
In September of 2021 the Nature Center formed a partnership with Land On Sky Wildlife Experiences to build and operate a world-class ambassador Raptor show at the Nature Center.
In addition to funding provided by Land On Sky, the Arizona Office of Tourism awarded a grant of $250,000 to assist in the construction of the new pavilion that will include housing for up to nine raptors, a Netted Flight Training Area, and a Viewing Patio where guests can watch daily training exhibitions free of charge.
Completion is expected in the summer of 2022.
Also under construction is a 250 seat amphitheater facing the beautiful meadow to the north of the Nature Center. When it is complete, formal animal ambassador shows will be held there. The amphitheater will also house the numerous presentations hosted by the Nature Center about the nature of the White Mountains. The presentations give in-depth information by experts about the surrounding trees, trails, plants and animals that attract thousands of visitors to the White Mountains annually.
There will be a total of 58 benches that comprise the amphitheater seating. Each of them has a high-quality brass plaque embedded in the top rail for memorials. Donations are being accepted now and range from $2,000 for a 4 ft. bench to $3,000 for an 8 ft. bench.
Staging, lighting, music, and scripting are being assisted by the company that produces bird shows at the Indianapolis Zoo, State Fair of Texas, and the largest theme park in the world located in Florida.
The animal ambassadors already on-site and being trained include Garfunkel (Funky) who is a Eurasian Eagle Owl with a 6 foot 4 inch wingspan.
Also part of the show (soon) will be his young protege, Simon, who is only a few weeks old, but growing fast. He hangs out at the Nature Center to meet the public during open hours on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 11AM-Noon.
Also part of the show will be RTH Speedwagon, (Speedy for short) who is a 1 year old Red Tail Hawk. Red Tails are known for their lightning fast talons which can capture rattlesnakes mid-strike!
Azul, our Recycling Crow brings levity to the show with her talking, laughing and even some imitations of raptors! Corvids are extremely intelligent and have even been trained to pick up litter in Scandanavian countries.
Coming soon will be a baby Aplomado Falcon, and a Harris’ Hawk. The Aplomado was once native to Arizona, but was unable to nest without abundant Yucca trees, which were eliminated by ranching and farming over the years. The Peregrine Fund, known for reintroducing Condors to the Grand Canyon is now reintroducing them to Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Land On Sky has partnered to assist by introducing them to the Arizona public in advance.