Oakley, Kansas: Prairie Dog Town (Closed)Since 1968, billboards compelled I-70 travelers to pull off and gaze at the World's Largest Prairie Dog -- and other freaks. It closed permanently in 2014.
Visitor Tips and News About Prairie Dog Town
Very excited to see these precious freaks. Sadly they are closed and the Bldg is for sale.[Lacy, 05/08/2012]
PDT typically opens in the summer, and they've had the property and business on the market for years. Hope someone can confirm it's not a seasonal closing. May 20, 2012: Terry Doss confirms: "PDT is open for business still. Genuine tourist trap fun to be had."
As of October 2011, the PDT is still open. Larry has had a few bites but once the interested parties find out how much work is involved, they bow out. If he can't find an interested party soon, he says he is considering trying to sell it to Cracker Barrel and finding homes for the animals. Larry has obtained a zen-like attitude about the whole thing and mused that sometimes the time has come for something to come to an end, and that you never see luggage on a hearse, so you can't take it with you. He and is wife are yearning to take a road trip themselves -- to Niagara Falls. This is definitely a must see on a road trip, especially since its days seem numbered. The animals are varied and very approachable. It was an awesome opportunity to see wild animals up close. It is right off I-70, so on the way of any road tripper, and the gas station there has decent prices as well.[Slumlord, 11/01/2011]
We fed goats and a donkey. We laughed about the giant prairie dog -- it made the trip interesting. Also. the gigantic rabbit was amazing. The couple who run the place are so genuinely friendly and warm. We had a great time.[Debbie Clark, 12/15/2010]
A prairie-themed miniature zoo with rattlesnakes, coyote, buffalo, and a yard full of free running prairie dogs. Nice gift shop with gag gifts, postcards, native American replica crafts, and taxidermy birds, prairie creatures and hybrids.[Andrea, 06/20/2010]
This is not a good place. Don't get me wrong, I think it's funny that the world's largest prairie dog is a statue. Understand, I'm a big fan of kitsch who has paid to see a "man eating chicken" on many occasions (Though I do think the World Largest Prairie Dog's shield could have been more interesting -- PT Barnum would be scandalized by the simple plywood wall). I don't even so much mind the freak-show aspect of the place. Given the size of corporate farming, there are probably many deformed animals born each year, and most are probably euthanized, or ground up and used for feed. At least the "freaks" at Prairie Dog Town are allowed to walk about and graze a bit -- they probably have more space than the majority of cattle being raised for beef.
What I don't like about the place are the non-domesticated animals, presumably caught in the wild, which are kept in small, unadorned pens. I saw a badger so distressed that it constantly ran from one end of his pen to the other, stopping only to claw frantically at the wire cage every few minutes.
I'm also convinced that many of the "live" rattlesnakes on display are actually dead, but have been left in the pen to create the impression that there is a large den on display.[TR, 09/02/2009]
Prairie Dog Town
- I-70 exit 70, southeast side.
- Oct. 2014: Reported closed.