Did you know that there is a Safari in Virginia? I didn’t know either until last Sunday when we went there. The place is fantastic for children who love animals. You can feed the animals and you can also touch them. They readily give you their foreheads to be petted. The animals in the safari were very affectionate especially if you let them feed on your bucket of goodies which you can buy at the entrance.
Let me describe the place first. The place is not as big as the Serengeti National Park in Kenya. It’s a small scale Safari but big enough for both kids and adults to have fun. It looks like a farm, a zoo, and a real safari altogether. The animals are used to people so have no fear. However, you must remain in your car at all times during the tour because as you go further up the winding road of a small hill where the entire safari is situated on, you will have an amazing encounter with the moose and the reindeer. You don’t want to walk among them. It’s not like in the movies where they are the prey and the lions are the predators lurking in the shadows waiting for them to be isolated before they dash for the kill. These animals are humongous like cows and bulls masculine and fast. Later when you finish the tour by car you will have a chance to watch them from afar in safety like in a usual zoo. The place has a souvenir shop close to the entrance and inside the safari, there is cafeteria so no need to go out if you want to eat. I didn’t eat anything while we were inside so I can’t tell you the prices. But as all exclusive cafes and restaurants expect that the prices are higher compared to stores outside the safari. It’s really the convenience that you pay for not really the quality of the food. The stores and cafes, by the way, are a little bit farther from the safari so if you’re the type who doesn’t want to eat in cafes inside the zoo make sure to bring your own food or eat before you go inside.
The entrance fee is $19.95 and the bucket of food for the animals is $4 which is not bad because they give you enough for the entire tour. One bucket of food is about 2 pounds of pellets which the animals seem to love. I think it was a bit smelly but not a big deal really. Hopefully, those feeds are completely organic. I am wondering though because the animals seem to be so addicted to it and the pigs barely have feet to stand on. They were literally just knees and a little leg. The entire body of the pigs was only at least 2 inches away from the ground for how fat they were. Anyway, I forgot to ask before we started the tour if they are feeding them organic food. The tour goes really slow because the animals are standing or lying down on the road and have no cares about you or your big SUV. They know it is their territory. The very first greetings will come from the pigs. I am not sure what breed the pigs are but they look like either Gloucestershire Old Spot and Cumberland based on their stout and short profile. I am not a pig breed expert but I saw these two breeds online when I did a little search and look very similar to the ones we saw. Once you open your window the Llamas will come running for the food bucket. They know you have it! The llamas are super smart. They know you will like them so they don’t hesitate to stick their heads inside your vehicle for a treat. Other animals that will greet you at the entrance are ostriches, emus, smaller breeds of deer (like the Key deer), goats, and we also saw some cows and bulls. there were no lions, don’t worry, just zebras in an enclosure tapping the screen enclosure eager to get a treat from you.
On top of the hill, you will see some impala, common eland, wildebeast, deer, gazelle, antelope, bison; I think I saw a moose too, and far enough to keep you safe are Rhinos with their horns still intact. There is one reindeer on the hill that makes loud bellows. I’m sure you won’t miss him from the crowd of animals when you go there. This reindeer is a ‘he’ with antlers probably around 5 feet tall. The reindeer alone without measuring its antlers is taller than the SUV we were driving and looking at the surrounding cars they are at least a foot or two taller than regular cars. Females do not have antlers but when they are sitting they look like cows! That’s how big they are. Most of the animals are amazingly camouflaged with their surroundings and are almost invisible if you don’t observe them closely or intently look for them among the trees.
When you get to the end of the tour you will go back to the Souvenir shop close to the entrance and park your car where you can tour the place on foot. You will see snakes, tortoises, black wolves, a lonely cheetah, a group of beautiful giraffes, different breeds of goat, camels, parakeets, quakers with one of them looking all stressed out with its feathers plucked out (so sad), peacocks and peahens, some type of fowl, pheasants, roosters and hens, and a lot of different types of goats ready to beg you for a treat. If you don’t have a treat for them they will go away. In case you go there, the treats are found on the poles of their shacks which are quite affordable. For about 59 cents you can get 5 to 7 half-a-quarter size pellets. There was a pair of toucans, some squirrel monkeys and another type of small black monkey. This black money is a great acrobat! Master of the art! There were wild boars as well. Don’t forget to stop by the handsome African penguins!
Please be reminded not to stress the birds. Don’t try to hurt them in any way or even scare them because these bird breeds like the Quaker is very intelligent and sensitive. They pluck their feathers when they are stressed out or scared. Be gentle with every animal you encounter and don’t poke or pull the horns of the bisons and the goats. Touch them gently and don’t throw food at them. The more you see the animals closer the more you become aware of their presence and their intelligence. And although they cannot communicate the same way that we do they are like us and sometimes these animals are even more sensitive than people. Overall, the experience was fantastic! I really recommend the place for kids because it will teach them to love nature and animals through close interaction.
We really, really enjoyed the day. It was sunny around 2:00 PM so we had to remove our sweaters. It’s fun when you go with a medium or a large group of friends in this safari experience. It makes the day more special. On our way to the safari, we were laughing and chatting about life and sometimes crack some silly jokes our of funny Youtube videos. The boys were loudly speaking Serbian and my friend Danka spoke to me in English. This Safari’s location, by the way, is in 229 Safari Ln, Natural Bridge, VA 24578. How can I forget this day when I told everyone my secret eating habits when I was ten? My husband makes fun of me when he remembers that little secret so I just gave it up for a little laugh. Now they will always remember me for that and for the flying crab joke that got stuck on everyone the entire trip. When you have a chance please go and see the place with your friends or family. It is worth it.
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