Looking for a way to make your next gathering a little more wild? Wildlife Safari has you covered.

“Reconstructing our old theatre space into the new Cheryl Ford Center was a real undertaking,” explains Dan Van Slyke, the park’s executive director. “With the help of our Ladies Auxiliary of Wildlife Safari’s annual auction and fundraiser, a lot of foundations and donors, and special input from Cheryl Ford, we raised over $500,000 to complete this project.”

The newly completed education and events center means more space for the community to come together to celebrate, learn and share in their passion for wildlife.

“We took out the sloped floor and lecture-hall style seating, and replaced it with a beautiful banquet room,” Van Slyke says, “we knocked out the far wall and replaced it with glass to allow you to see up into the park, and created a beautiful covered patio with an added manicured lawn. Not only is the space a great one for rentals or educational classes, but even makes for a great new view as drive through guests enter the park.”

With seating for up to 200 banquet style, and more if you utilize the natural indoor/ outdoor space, the Cheryl Ford Center is ready to welcome guests and classes of all kinds.

“We built the center with the idea that we would be providing the community with a new space for rentals for anything from holiday Christmas parties, to weddings to whatever else, but the Cheryl Ford Center also represents the creation of a new educational hub for Safari camps and classes,” explained Jacob Schlueter, the park’s marketing director. “We will be able to host educational overnights year-round, bigger and more frequent classes for children of all ages, and really continue in our goal to create lasting connections between wildlife and nature lovers of every age.”

The Cheryl Ford Center is booking for the coming seasons quickly, so Wildlife Safari suggests anyone interested in hosting an event in the new area contact the park right way.

“We know the community needed the new space, because the response has been incredible. We are already booking the center to help people create even cooler memories at Wildlife Safari,” says Van Slyke, “and it made the most sense to name the new center after Cheryl Ford, because she is the epitome of passion for wildlife, hands-on support for Wildlife Safari, and the park’s ultimate booster.”

To help reach the end goal of connecting people and wildlife, each rental comes equipped with built in animal interactions, access to the park’s 600 acre drive through, and other unique to Wildlife Safari options.

The Cheryl Ford Center was made possible by Cheryl & Allyn Ford, and The Ford Family Foundation as well as Lynn Engle, Jeff & Amber Leaptrott, Michael & Barbara Coen, Roseburg Honda, Lauren & Dena Young, Starfire Lumber Co., the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, Toby & Christina Luther, Dr. Stewart & Sharon Wilson, and countless other community supporters.

The project was also funded by the Ben Serafin Fund of OCF, the Autzen Foundation, the OCF Community Foundation, the City of Roseburg, the Woodard Family Foundation, M.J.Murdock Trust, the Olsrud Fund of the OCF, and the Wildlife Safari board of directors.