Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

June 29, 2014

Wild Adventures elephant turns 70

VALDOSTA — Many Valdosta residents may not be aware, but Wild Adventures Theme Park houses the second oldest living elephant on record.

Saturday, Shirley the elephant was given a celebration to mark her 70th birthday. Born in 1944, Shirley made her way to the United States in 1946. After traveling the country with various circus troupes she settled at Wild Adventures in the late 1990s. She is also an accomplished actress, having starred in the remake of “The Jungle Book” in 1994.

Guests were invited to share in Shirley's special day. The first 1,500 guests were given birthday hats to wear. A giant birthday card was also present so guests could give Shirley their best wishes.

At 2 p.m., Shirley, freshly washed and with painted toenails, was presented with a birthday cake and gift, all while wearing an elephant-sized party hat.

While guests stood at the giraffe/elephant overlook, Molly Deese, general manager for Wild Adventures, shared some heartfelt words about the beloved elephant.

“Shirley is such an important part of the Wild Adventures family,” says Deese. “We are thrilled to give everyone the opportunity to spend the day celebrating with her.”

Deese led the crowd in a group singing of “Happy birthday” while Shirley was presented with her cake, which is one of her favorite foods. After eating a few trunkfuls, she turned her attention to a large gift provided by Wild Adventures.

Upon ripping off her wrapping paper, she was elated to find that she received a new ball. While some may consider 70 to be elderly, this elephant seemed unconcerned with age as she hit the ball around with her handler of almost ten years, Debbie Allen, and other members of the Wild Adventures staff.

Shirley can be visited at Wild Adventures during their hours of operation. She can be seen from the Safarai Train ride or the overlook and is often seen lounging in her pond.

Text Only
Local News
  • ARociewilliams_002.jpg Woman shares nearly a century of lessons

    With nearly 100 years of life under her belt, Ocie Viola Williams has plenty of advice to share with the world. Her top two pieces of advice: know the importance of education and don’t expect a teacher to raise your child for you. 

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • psst1 photo page copy.jpg PSST! finishes peachy season

    Peach State Summer Theatre concluded its 2014 season Sunday, a season which broke attendance records for the professional musical theatre company.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_2381.jpeg Award-winning young professionals share success secrets

    The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber’s MetroOne Young Professionals hosted a panel discussion on Tuesday at the Hilton Garden Inn to highlight successful business practices.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140726_summerlibrary002.jpg Library celebrates end of summer reading program

    With the first day of school just around the corner, students are soaking in the last few weeks of summer vacation. The end of summer also means the end of the South Georgia Regional Library’s 2014 summer reading program.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • artseason1 copy.jpg A sneak peek at some area arts organizations’ 2014-15 seasons

    Beethoven. Tennessee Williams. Non-stop art. Two versions of “The Wizard of Oz.” The 2014-15 arts season is coming.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • sabalmap.jpg Sabal Trail explains its position

    Representatives from Sabal Trail Transmission recently sat down with The Times to provide an update on the ongoing pipeline and potential economic development opportunities associated with the project.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072514-MoodyComp007.jpg Moody AFB crews race in load competition

    Moody Air Force Base hosted a weapons load competition Friday morning, a maintenance group tradition in which two 23d Maintenance Group A-10 munition load crews raced against the clock to load munitions onto an A-10C Thunderbolt II.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • moonshine bust.jpg Police close illegal drinking house

    After receiving numerous complaints, the Valdosta Police Department shut down an illegal alcohol sales operation Friday.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • election.jpg Black earns most votes in runoff

    State Rep. Ellis Black led the votes for state Senate District 8 Friday with seven of seven counties reporting certified results, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140724-LAT1.jpg Little Actors Theatre ready for summer show

    Since 2004, the Little Actors Theatre has provided a place for children ages 6 to 19 to express themselves through acting.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

Top News

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results