|I didn't take this photo, but the one I took of the entrance|
was blurry, so I'm borrowing this one from the internet.
When you drive into the Wildlife Safari, first you drive down a narrow and winding road - there is enough room for cars to go both ways, but we got there early enough that we didn't drive by anyone leaving as we drove in. You drive through a lovely forested area for about a mile maybe, down down down into the area where there is parking, a gift shop, smaller snimals in smaller enclosures, and a walk-through area. You drive up to the window where a super friendly employee of the park tells you all the rules:
The variety of wildlife throughout the park - it really was consistent with animals one might see on a safari in Africa - all of the animals except the one Asian elephant I think - were really from Africa. And they seemed to do a good job taking care of them and keeping them safe - everyone looked fed and happy, and with the exception of the overly curious ostrich, none of them seemed more than bemusedly disinterested in the cars driving through.
The Rhino, to our relief, was WAY at the top of the hill when we came through, so we were much more than 4 car lengths away from him. Apparently Rhinos like to climb. Who knew?
Wildlife Safari also has what I think I remember to be one of the most successful cheetah breeding programs in the country. Apparently it is SUPER difficult to get cheetahs to breed in captivity, but when we were there, we saw a proud (and slightly irritated/protective) cheetah Mama and she had FIVE adorable fluff ball cubs. I'd call that successful! I do NOT think she was enjoying her babies being on display so openly though, considering how far back into the woods they go to breed. Mama was pacing like she really wanted to take the cubs back to the protected area, not be so vulnerable here where the humans drive by.
Make no mistake, the cars get nowhere near where the cheetahs are - but it's still through a chain link fence rather than being hidden in the forest as it should be. But you know, I get it, considering it's a huge place to support, and I'm pretty sure baby cheetahs are a pretty big draw for the public - I mean there was so much cooing in our car that you'd have thought a cute bomb exploded in it. It did, in the form of our eyes taking in the sight of 5 baby cheetahs rolling all over each other playing and hunting each other.
SO. CRAZY. ADORABLE.
I was so blown away.
At all of the animal areas they had little huts like ths one, full of hay and whatever else they ate.
Sorry for all the spots - it was raining off and on and there were water droplets on the windows, which as you remember, we were instructed to leave up if the animals walked up - which the male giraffe had.
Some of the other animals we got to see: