Fall 2000 - Although we haven't kept the Henry's Ark newsletter up to date on the web, the newsletter is still going out by "snail mail", and Henry's Ark is still going strong! Get on the mailing list for the newsletter by emailing us at HENRYSARK@AOL.COM. We also have archived here the Fall 1999 Henry's Ark newsletter.

Winter 1999


Story by Henry Wallace

If someone asked what is the bane of our existence at the Ark, the questioner might expect the answer to be a charging bison bull, an elk with formidable antlers or a water buffalo approaching at a dead run with head down. Nope — none of these. We feel we can survive the worst of them through experience, luck, or agility.

The most feared and most threatening aspect of running Henry’s Ark is the dreaded l-a-w-s-u-i-t that flourishes so menacingly in our litigious society. It hangs over us like a dark cloud. No matter how thorough the precautions we take for the safety of our guests there always lurks in the background the ominous … lawsuit.

During the eight years of existence of the Ark, as you find it today, we have been threatened with legal action several times. One of these threats came when a baby camel knocked down a 6-year old girl while engaged in something of a race with a group of young children chaperoned by a couple teenaged girls. We settled this one by paying her doctor bills and calling to the attention of the threatening parents and their attorney that under Kentucky law a place that admits visitors without charge is not liable for their injury or even death as long as the host, in this case Henry's Ark, is not "maliciously negligent", which we were not.

Our next challenge came when a woman who had given us two chickens came to visit them. In her search, for what she referred to as her "chickies" she went into our main barn, passing a sign that read "DANGER, KEEP OUT", and through a stall door which also had a sign "KEEP OUT." As she pursued her intrusion into the inner barn area, she startled a Nilgai cow resting quietly with her two calves. The cow, normally gentle, decided her babies were threatened. Momma cow reacted by butting and running over the chicken seeker. Having made her point, the cow withdrew from the conflict as the "chicken lady" withdrew from the rather untidy stall floor with multiple bruises and, she said, a couple of fractured ribs. We were, and still are, genuinely saddened by the injuries she suffered, but we did not feel that we were at fault. The chicken lady took her case to court, seeking unspecified damages. The judge said he was sorry that she was hurt, but that under Kentucky law she could not sue. He found that the Ark had not been maliciously negligent and was not liable because it was a non-for-profit corporation that didn't charge admission fees.

That was that, until the Fall of 1997 when a woman who worked for the Jefferson County Board of Education sued us for a half million dollars after she was attacked by a reindeer in rut who was defending his turf in an area she had been told by Ark Director, Penny Schaefer, not to enter under any circumstances. She might have been killed had it not been for Assistant Ark Director, Barbara Spears, who rushed to the rescue and pulled the reindeer off his intended victim by his antlers. She was taken to the hospital, treated and released and later came by the Ark to let us know that she was fine. When she asked for the reindeer antlers (as a souvenir) when he shed them after the breeding season ended, we complied. Less than one year later we were sued by her for an unannounced sum, which turned out later to be $500,000. She then claimed mental anguish and physical pain that had scarred her for life.

Thousands of dollars of legal fees and wasted time (the lawyers got the fees — the Ark staffed incurred the wasted time) the insurers settled for $30,000 of which the woman got $20,000 and her lawyers got $10,000. Because the plaintiff was a volunteer and not a visitor, Kentucky law didn't apply in this case.

Our insurance company's lawyer thought we could have won the case easily, but he worked for a Chicago-based outfit that didn't want to chance a jury trial. Our insurers, who are known to be all heart and to work principally for the benefit of their clients, doubled the Ark's annual payment for coverage shortly after settlement was made. The reindeer, Thistle died several weeks after his tangle with the volunteer. His cause of death remains a mystery. May he rest in peace.

THISTLE, the Reindeer --
We Miss Him


HI!! We are two volunteers that work for Henry’s Ark. We were asked to write about our experience while working at Henry’s Ark — so we did. We hope we will give you a feel of how great and exciting Henry’s Ark is and how much we love it. Nadira Wallace (age 12) and Lorena Wallace (age 10).

Nadira and Lorena share some quiet time with an Ark Buddy

The last thing anyone would ever want to do on a summer vacation would be work. So why do we go down to the petting zoo at Henry’s Ark and work from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the hot sun? We have visited and worked at Henry’s Ark since we were toddlers. We have learned everything from opening gates to feeding vegetables to the very hungry bison and cattle. So are you still wondering why we work down at the Ark?

Well, first thing, it’s fun and we get a chance to interact with animals. Also we get to hang out and work with our friends and we can also show off our abilities. We are not the only people that work down at the zoo. There is Penny (Schaefer), who is not our boss, but who is a very good friend. Without her, the zoo would get no where. She knows how everything works around there. The other person we work there is Barbara Spears. There is also Henry (Wallace), who does all the tractor work and is the one who keeps up the humor while we are working.



A modest donation of $1 per person is suggested
(or whatever the group can afford.)

Contact Penny Schaefer,
Ark Director
For reservations 502/228-0746

People are not our only friends. There are also the animals. There are millions of memories with animals, but if we were to tell you all of them you would probably still be reading a week from now. So we will tell you about just one of our animal friends.

Henny is a small, scratched and pecked hen, that hops around the zoo. She became tame when she was raised from a chick by Penny. She is a black hen with a lot of feathers missing on her back and wings. You can find her next to the office in the long rectangle cage. Why is she the only chicken in a cage? Well if you look around, you will notice that there are more roosters than hens at the zoo. She is one of the chickens that got injured because of the roosters.

We found her perched on a fence post all beat up and very unhappy. We tried to learn what she liked and disliked and the conclusion we finally came to was to put her in a cage until she recovered. Henny is one of our very much loved and memorable friends.

We hope you have enjoyed our article and hope we have explained to you why we love working at the Ark and what it does for our community. We think it gives people the chance to interact with all sorts of species in a society where different animals and respect go extinct every day.

that looks something like a zebra, but isn't ?
that looks almost like a donkey, but isn't a donkey?

We get that question, (or those questions) almost daily at the Ark, which is understandable. The animal in question is a ZEEDONK, or a Zonk. We believe her mother was a zebra and her daddy a donkey; but of course, it is possible that we have that in reverse.

At any rate, she is a zebra-donkey cross, apparently blessed with hybrid vigor (heterosis). We will find out with time whether she is sterile or not, as some hybrids are, as she appears to be attracted to both donkeys and zebras of the opposite sex.

Miss the Fall 1999 Newsletter?

Click here to read it!

Like most of us, the animals at Henry's Ark like their snacks too. The best ones to bring when you come to visit are fresh fruit and vegetables including:

  • Greens (especially kale)
  • Carrots
  • Grapes and Raisins
  • Saltine Crackers

Breads & Cereals ARE NOT GOOD for the animals and can cause digestive problems.


By Penny Schaefer, Ark Director

Our two little friends are coatimundis, which are found in Argentina, South America. They are from the procyonidae family, which include raccoons and ring-tailed cats. These friends of ours are not nocturnal, which means they “are up and running all day.”

They have fur like that of a raccoon and a long snout that they can turn up and smile with. Their tail is longer than their bodies but they do nothing with it. They have non-retractable claws (although our Ark female has had hers removed and so she doesn’t climb very well without them). Our male still has his and is not afraid to use them and tries to pull me into his cage every time I pass by.

Buddy and Mundi play and sleep together well, except the female (Mundi) is the more dominant one and sometimes we will find Buddy alone outside the cage. I have read that coatimundi’s make excellent house pets, but since living with them I have learned better. I have never run across anything as fast as a coati that didn’t want to be caught. Ours have run up and down me faster than a squirrel. You will also need to plastic everything if one makes it’s way into your kitchen.

Buddy likes me to hold him, so he can check to see if I am hiding something under my clothes. He is really good-natured, as long as he has things his way. I put a hammock in their cage thinking that I could go and watch them play during a break. Everything went okay until he wanted my pager and then I learned that he could be dangerous if not handled properly.

I have also decided that they don't grow up. Living with them is like having a 2 year old awake all day. Imagine how much fun that would be! Our coatimundi's (we call ours, coati-monkeys) will eat just about anything you give them. At lunchtime, we save some of our lunch to see if they will eat it — they usually do. They love chicken (fried, of course), and lots of fruits and veggies. We delight in hearing them smacking their lips while eating and found that blueberry cobbler is one of their favorites.

Coatis are warm weather creatures, so in the winter we must house them indoors. If they were to be left outside, they could lose their tails if it froze and fell off.

These animals are curious and mischievous and up to no good all the time. Just the other day I heard a digging noise and found Buddy trying to dig his way out the window. I have raised everything from antelope to zebra in and around my house and I can tell you that these animals are better off looked at than trying to turn them into houseguests. Should you decide you need one or two of them around your house, be prepared to give them your "life and soul" — for they will settle for nothing less.

If you think being with Buddi & Mundi has been an adventure — catch the next newsletter and I will tell you about Schnooks and Mushtog!!!

to all our ARK friends — Penny

Our WISH LIST includes Dog & Cat Food & Treats, Blankets, Alcohol & Disinfectants, Garbage Bags, Paper Towels & Towels

You can mail your tax deductible contribution to:

Henry Ark
P.O. Box 68
Prospect, KY 40059

Please include your Name, Address, City, State, and Zip Code.

Henry's Ark is struggling in stormy financial waters. A NOT FOR PROFIT 501(c)3 free to the public corporation, it has no outside funding and depends on donations from our visitors and readers. All contributions are exempt -- receipt available upon request. Thank-you for your support!

The Staff and Animals at Henry's Ark.


A Place Where People and Animals Meet

Henry F. Wallace -- Founder

Penny Schaefer -- Ark Director

Barbara Spears -- Asst. Ark Director

Terry Chambers -- Newsletter Editor

Photos by Gloria Beckner Unless Otherwise Indicated

Board of Directors

Henry F. Wallace, Chairman

Morton Boyd
Teresa Boyatt
Terry Chambers
Barry Christensen
Lulu Davis
Ellen Mershon
Jerry Tucker
Lynn Tyson
Carla Wallace
Henry B. Wallace

Henry's Ark

Is Located At
7801 Rose Island Road
Prospect, KY 40059

Open to the Public Year Round From 9:00 a.m. to Sunset

C L O S E D    M O N D A Y S


As the 20th Century fades into history and the 21st bursts over our horizon, we at the Ark think it is an appropriate time to express our gratitude for the support we have received from our guests who have kept the Ark afloat for eight years.

Donations from schools, business entities, churches and individuals have been vital to our survival. We have been rewarded for the past several years with around $40,000 a year in contributions. Add to that some $25,000 in sales for surplus animals born at the Ark, we have about two-thirds of our annual operating expenses covered. We believe this reflects, in the matter of donations, a consensus that we are a worthwhile addition to our community that a great number of people, local and from surrounding areas, wish to see us continue.

We find the response of our visitors encouraging and believe that we are rendering a service in entertainment and education that they appreciate. With that said, and with a huge THANK YOU, we ask for your continuing support in the millennium to come.



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