I mentioned in a post last week that Kyle and I spent part of our Labor Day at a nearby safari park. As promised, here are the pictures! We started off in the zoo area, where we saw all the usual (adorable) suspects and got to feed some sweet little budgies.
We then got in our car to head on the safari: a long, winding road through 180 acres of hills, forest and meadows. The property is full of all kinds of animals that somehow manage to co-exist, despite battling each other for park attendees' attention and buckets of animal feed. There were pushy llamas; strutting ostriches; woolly bison sunning themselves while swishing their tails at flies; haughty-looking oryxes deigning to sniff around cars for a handout; watusi cattle lumbering under the weight of their enormous horns; tiny little pot-bellied pigs who barely came up to our hubcaps. Not to mention the moose we would spot ambling through the woods or the zebras who would trot curiously right up to our car as though it were the most normal thing in the world for a zebra and a pair of humans to meet up in the mountains of Virginia. In short, it was a bustling haven for all sorts of animals united by their endlessly hilarious push to be first in line to gobble up as much feed as they could.
We started the day with four buckets of feed. We left the park with one, because I had three buckets snatched from me by a llama, a yak and a zebra. We didn't even attampt to feed the camels, because the last time we went there, about a year ago, one ripped my bucket out of my hands the second I dangled it out the window! Their enclosures—definitely telling that they're the only animal in the park that isn't allowed to just roam free—were seriously littered with chewed-up, stomped-on buckets, and those were just from the last few hours.
The emus and ostriches were at least more friendly, but they were just as demanding, especially the ostriches! One started loping toward the car and we got spooked and rolled the windows up. He didn't just turn away like other spurned animals, though. He walked right up to Kyle's window and started tapping on it with his beak. It wasn't even like he was mindlessly pecking at it to try and get at the food. It was this insistent knock, an "I'm waiting!" knock that just happened to come from the beak of an eight-foot tall bird.
The whole thing was awesome. The grounds are beautiful, and so much care is put by the staff into making it an idyllic home for this vast diversity of animals from around the world. Always a wonderful thing to see.
Have a great weekend!