I am a huge animal lover and came across some pictures on my phone today that I just knew I had to share. 8 years ago, when our boys were 15 and 11, we decided to do a spring break vacation in Natural Bridge, VA. We heard about a place called Virginia Safari Park, and I instantly knew I wanted to go (but knew everyone else would enjoy it as well). I could barely contain myself while looking at the website. While there is a petting zoo area, and a few enclosed animal exhibits, the main part of it is a drive thru zoo. YES, you heard me right. You can drive through three miles of open area where animals are free to roam. What is unique about this zoo is that the animals are encouraged to come up to your vehicle to be fed.
When you arrive at the zoo you pay a per person fee and then you can purchase buckets of animal pellets. They tell you to open up your windows and allow the animals to stick their head in to eat out of your bucket. Let me tell you…the animal feed gets all over the place in your vehicle and you will still find it months later regardless of how clean you get your vehicle. In fact, I’m sure the person who bought my Jeep Grand Cherokee is still finding pellets and wondering why I had animals feeding in my car. Regardless of the mess, I would love to go again.
It was amazing to be able to see such huge animals within arm’s reach while on the safari drive. Watusi cattle were among one of them, and the brochure stated that you should not call them to your car. They have large horns and could cause damage. I know I shouldn’t have done this, and I apologize but…I couldn’t resist. My husband was fussing at me in the process, but I was sure to place a barrier between his horn and the car. He was quite the gentle giant. Nevertheless, please follow the guidelines and don’t pursue in my breaking of the rules.
At the end of the drive we came across some camels. You have to be careful though as they will try to steal your buckets. I suppose that is why they were placed at the end of the tour.
When we were done with the driving portion of our visit, we explored the exhibits and still came across a lot of hands on opportunities. This area was a walk-through exhibit of baby kangaroos (Joeys). They were just the cutest little ones.
My favorite animal is the giraffe and I became ecstatic when I found out that there was an area to feed them. They weren’t hungry and didn’t come up to us while we were on the platform, but just being able to take in their beauty was enough for me.
There is something for everyone at this park and I wholeheartedly recommend it. They are open from March – November. Here is the link to their site for more information. http://www.virginiasafaripark.com/Home.aspx
Have you ever been to a drive thru zoo? If so, tell me about your experience in the comments below.
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