"" Writer's Wanderings: This Safari's Not in Africa!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

This Safari's Not in Africa!

Our car passes through the open gate in the fence. We've been told by the gatekeeper not to open our windows until we pass the orange marker. I instantly see why. A herd of deer led by very large reindeer with good-sized antlers surrounds our car and sizes up the contents of the food pellets in our large feeding cup. The adventure begins. . .

African Safari Wildlife Park in Port Clinton, Ohio, is an amazing day of laughter and fun. The main attraction of course is the drive-thu area where you take your car along a graveled road and feed the animals you meet along the way. The deer, llamas, buffalo, guanaco, and several other very large animals roam free within the fenced acres of the drive-thru.

As you enter you get on free cup of food and a little advice on how to feed the animals. Mostly it involves your comfort level and how willing you are to have animals poking their heads inside of your car--and they will! We started out tossing handfuls of food out but then tried holding the cup which almost becomes a tug of war. The suggestion is to let them have the cup if it becomes too much of an issue.

It was a little difficult to hold a cup of feed and take pictures at the same time. My granddaughter who accompanied us was a little leary on our first drive-thru (you can drive through as many times as you like on one ticket) so I was doing the feeding. As I tried to take pictures of a buffalo who was headed straight for us, I didn't see the other buffalo coming up along side. My window was still open and suddenly there he was--head inside my window, drooling on my lap! Thank goodness for automatic windows. He got the hint as I tossed what was left of the food pellets out along with the cup and closed the window. The grand in the back seat doubled over laughing.

On our second drive-thru after lunch, we bought two cups of food and a bag of carrots (all for $10) so we could feed the zebra and giraffes. Thankfully the giraffe did not drool through our sun roof. As a matter of fact, the giraffes were probably the most delicate eaters.

In addition to the animals in the drive-thru, there is also a walk-thru zoo of sorts that features monkeys, alpacas, parrots, a white alligator (did I mention there was a white zebra too?), various waterfowl and several other species that were fun to look at.

Feeding ourselves was almost more reasonable than feeding the animals. There is the usual snack-type faire of hot dogs, hamburgers, etc. It was a big chilly to venture into the ice cream shop but it looked large enough to be a favorite stop.

All this fun. . .But wait!! There's more. . .

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