Last month we took advantage of the great, mild weather and took a two hour drive to go to The Wilds – this is the largest animal conservancy in North America! I’ve mentioned before about museum and zoo passes – you can re-read those posts, Lions, Tigers and Bears, oh my!, How we Stay Busy in the Summer and A trip into the past – and when it came time to renew our zoo pass I was given an offer to add The Wilds pass for a discounted price of $75. Some may think that is expensive but let me share – we chose the open air safari which is $30.00 per person! $150.00 for the five of us – so we’ve already paid for our pass with one visit, even if we had taken the cheaper enclosed safari transport we still would have paid for our pass on our first visit (we’ll be going this route next time). That said the trip was long and we may turn it into an overnight trip next time as the children were worn out so the trip back home wasn’t as peaceful as it was on the way there.
We got to see quite a lot of the animals up close and some from a distance so it was a good day to go on the safari trip, the open air bus wasn’t crowded even though we were filled to capacity (you do ride with others) – and it was a nice trip until the couple who decided their 7 month old could sit through a 2 1/2 hour trip and be quiet let their child cry for the last 40 minutes! I digress, but I would not have taken my children on this at that age. You cannot touch the animals – remember this is a conservatory so all keepers are required to make sure the animals are as wild as they would be if they were in the wild. So that means no feeding. I do admit I do like the Safari we did where we drive our own vehicle and can feed the animals but with this one we got to see other animals that aren’t as conducive to feeding unless you want to loose an arm. It was tempting to pet the horses until our guide let us know that while they would get close to the vehicle they do bite and are quite violent. Our tour guide was great and told lots of corny jokes that my son and middle daughter just loved!
The Sichuan Takin was my oldest daughter’s favorite as it has the body of a bear and the head of a……..guinea pig. Yes, it’s a bit odd and unfortunately we were too far away to get a good picture of them for her. I would have liked to get up close to the American Bison (not buffalo, I’ll let you research the difference) I just love the Bison – something so beautiful, big and a remnant from the Old West.
Of course, there were many more animals that we saw, some up close, some far away like the giraffe. It was much nicer than a zoo to see them roam all the land and we learned a lot from our tour guide. I’m going to have to request her again when we go back. I really want to get our money’s worth as I never know if they’ll run the special again or if we’ll be able to afford it again. The children had so much fun and really enjoyed the entire thing as did my husband, who rarely gets to go on these types of outings with us. If you end up visiting The Wilds – I highly suggest checking the weather, if it’s going to be hot and humid get one of the enclosed buses otherwise the open air is great. Pack your own food or go to another restaurant – the food is expensive so plan accordingly, we arrived early enough so we finished a little after our usual lunch time. We found Nicol’s Family Style Restaurant in Zanesville, delicious food and a cute 50’s diner style theme – don’t let the bikes and the bikers put you off, they’re friendly! If, like us, you have a pass buy a $4 souvenir cup that you can bring back the entire season of 2014 and get refilled – cheaper than buying a pop or juice in a bottle plus you’ve got a souvenir.
Have you ever been on a safari? Tell me about it 😀
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