Wildlife Center grand opening on Saturday

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A day full of activities will herald the grand opening of the Walterboro Wildlife Center on Jan. 11. A ribbon-cutting will be held at 10:30 a.m., with the center open to the public from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. USC Salkehatchie biology professor Dr. Eran Kilpatrick will talk on wildlife, and Lila Arnold of Lowcountry Raptors will bring six species of owls native to this area. Then from 3:30-6:30 p.m. residents can check out the amphitheater with the band High 5. Walterboro native Anthony Constantine is the band’s drummer and vocalist. The sanctuary has been a long time coming. The original idea was approved in 2002 as the Great Swamp Sanctuary off Beach Road, but those plans were eventually abandoned due to the lack of funding. Plans resumed about 2016 when City Council began the effort to create the center in the former Glover Motors building on Jefferies Boulevard across from the courthouse. This time the funding materialized, and the groundbreaking was held in June 2018. I.P. Builders Inc. renovated the building. The center includes displays about the wildlife native in the adjoining Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary, an event space for presentations and other community events, and the amphitheater for concerts and other outdoor activities. A large back porch adjoins the event space and overlooks the amphitheater. The 7,000-square-foot center tells the story of the wildlife sanctuary and will provide a large indoor multipurpose event space, said Mayor Bill Young, as well as providing an attraction for tourists and an educational source for school groups.

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