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CARLISLE, Ky. (FOX 56) – Daniel Boone built a cabin on a Nicholas County farm back in 1795 and lived there for four years.

It was probably pretty quiet in the wilderness, but it’s not quiet now. Visitors to the land can hear loud birds, bleating goats, and the grunts of camels.

A year ago, the 125-acre farm became home to a zoo called “Wendt’s Wildlife Adventure.”

Owner Shaun Wendt said running a zoo is “a life commitment.”

The farm is home licensed to house 500 animals, from kangaroos to zebras, sloths, exotic birds, and camels.

It’s no surprise that Shaun Wendt became a zookeeper. The Wisconsin native is the third generation in his family to own and exhibit exotic animals.

“My grandfather raised these types of animals in the 50s and 60s,” he said. “My uncle and his family have a park in The Dells in Wisconsin.”

For the past 25 years, Shaun and Julie Wendt and their three children have gone to fairs and festivals with their mobile petting zoo.

“We’re just tired of traveling,” Shaun said. “We’d like to have the people come to us instead of us coming to the people.”

Julie said, “We were driving by one day and saw the ‘for sale’ sign and stopped and it just seemed right.”

They bought the farm and over the past five years, they’ve built a zoo that’s drawing crowds, even though it’s 45 minutes from an interstate highway. They say people seem to love that they can get so close to the animals.

“Years ago I said to Shaun that I didn’t want any animals that can eat my children,” Julie said jokingly.

“There are already expansion plans. Soon, you’ll be able to get on a hay wagon and ride behind tall gates to get up close to the bison, ostriches and elk.


“We have big plans for the next five years,” Shaun said. “There will be a lot of growth.”

One thing he would like to add is a giraffe exhibit, but that’s a big investment that may take a while to finance.

The biggest reward for the zookeepers is seeing other people love the animals they love so much.