A Gainesville wildlife conservation will offer a free tour to veterans Saturday.
Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation, located at 8528 County Road 225, is partnering with Gatorland Toyota and PDQ to host the tour at 1 p.m., said Alexander Ganz, a spokesperson for SCAD Media, LLC, the media agency responsible for marketing of the event.
Two tours will be hosted Saturday. The first, which is at 10 a.m., is open to the public, and the owners request a $5 donation as admission for adults. All donations go back to animal care. The conservation cares for 80 animals, including an Indian rhino, tigers, cheetahs and a giraffe.
The 1 p.m. tour is reserved specifically for veterans who reserved their spot in the tour by emailing the conservation in advance, said Barry Janks, the owner of the conservation.
The special veterans’ tour will include free food from PDQ, drinks and activities. Guests can take part in feeding Henry the rhino, playing with Juno the baby lemur or watching a warthog race, Ganz said.
Brittney Alden, a UF marketing senior, worked with the conservation as part of a sales management group project.
“Barry came to us with this idea and said he wanted some help raising money to make it happen,” the 21-year-old said. “We’ve been working with him to spread awareness, get raffle prizes and collect donations for the event.”
The raffle prizes include free tune-ups at local bike shops and a $25 gift card from Karma Cream. Alden plans on attending the tour with her boyfriend, who is a veteran.
“Local businesses are passionate about community involvement, especially when it’s related to recognizing our veterans,” Alden said.
Janks, whose father served during World War II, said this was the first year the conservation was hosting the veteran’s event.
“People support us a lot for helping the animals, so why can’t we support other people?” he said.