Wednesday, July 10, 2013

LIFE LIST: DRIVE THRU SAFARI

"Reminds me of my safari in Africa…somebody forgot the corkscrew and for several days we had to live on nothing but food and water”



That's not intimidating at all.
Where: African Safari Wildlife Park in Port Clinton (Northern) Ohio.

When: June 12, 2013. This was our first destination on day 1 of my big 30th birthday trip to Missouri. The drive-thru safari was the first of my 30 adventures on this trip.

Cost: $20/ person, I had a $3 off coupon and since my daughter is under 4 years old she was free so it was only $17....plus the extra 4 hours in drive time. You can spend the entire day at the park and drive through as many times as you'd like. Admission price also includes a cup of grains to feed the animals.


Why this is on my list? I have wanted to do this for at least 15 years after seeing it on a brochure. Brochure collecting has always been a favorite past time of mine. This is south and east of me, even though I have made 19 trips in this direction towards the east coast it never came to pass. On each trip I've considered and mapped out this destination but it's always seemed too far out of my way. Driving to Missouri from Michigan it was clearly very much out of my way. So why did I decided to take on the extra distance on this trip? About a week before I was flipping through a coupon book and there was a $3 off coupon for this drive thru safari, I put it on my fridge and decided that since it was my big birthday I've always wanted to go, that we'd just take a day and drive down to Ohio. But then my boss gave me the day off work thus inspiring me to leave 3 days early so I thought that this would be the perfect time to do it since my husband couldn't meet us in St Louis until later in the week anyhow. With it being so far in the opposite direction by the time we got a hotel for the evening we actually only ended up about 3 hours from home!

Will I do it again? I would do it again, mostly because I'd like Joel to experience it with us. I was laughing so hard, by myself- I don't think the little one realized what was really going on, so I can see the two of us just cracking up together in this nutty environment.


Something I'd recommend? I would. It's one of those things that I think so many people pass on because it seems hokey, touristy, or unauthentic...which it is-there's nothing natural about an albino zebra in Ohio.
 I used to turn up my nose at these sorts of things but now I see potential amusement in just about everything and I certainly found it here! I was laughing the entire time....except for the few minutes when I thought one of these beasts was going to take me to my waterloo....

My safari drive-thru experience...



After we pulled into the park I decided to do the walk thru safari first. This really didn't do much for me, it was just like a miniature zoo and since we go to the zoo once a week- I did not find it that exhilarating except for A SURPRISE LIFE LIST ITEM (that's for next week) so because of that it was worth it. I think we spent about an hour or so in this area of the park, after being in the car for several hours and many, many more hours to go, it gave my daughter an opportunity to spread her wings a little.

Take note that the longhorn is much larger than that car.
Then it was time. We drove up to the large gates which were reminiscent of the beginning of Jurassic Park. We drove in, the gates closed behind us, I looked around and thought 'I cannot believe they let you in here, this is way more dangerous than it sounds'. Within minutes a flood of Alpaca, Deer and Buffalo swarmed our car. I quickly decided that it would be most wise to keep the windows up and only roll down our windows to feed them their grains and carrots when it felt safe. As it turns out a 3,000 pound horned mammal four inches away from my face without any sort of barricade does not provide a feeling of safety. Now, I freakin love buffalo. I have even composed a very short 1 stanza song about my love of buffalo, but being face to face with one made me realize something important about myself....I would have never made it as an Indian. These creatures are humongous....humongous and terrifying.

This was when I decided that leaving the windows up was imperative.
I couldn't believe I was in Ohio with a herd of buffalo standing directly in front of my car. I had several concerns; first of all, when were they going to move? second....these wild animals are massive and could do serious damage to my car in the blink of an eyelash. More importantly, It was just me and my daughter and I questioned my decision to bring her to such a trecherous place.

And this made me a little more nervous...
What's the worst that could happen? About half way through the enclosure I found a highlander cow, one of the coolest looking animals in my opinion so I wanted to get a little closer and give him some food. Obviously, you only feed the animals you like the most...If I remember correctly I think there was a sign out front declaring that this was the standard procedure. So I stopped my car and it was like he knew....like he was expecting a proposition, he walked directly over to my window. The closer he got the bigger his horns became and I thought 'holy crap if he gets one of his horns in here it could kill me, it could even hurt my daughter in the passenger seat.' This was a very bad idea...so I just quickly tossed the grains out and rolled up my window as fast as possible. I did not think about the consequences of my actions...as soon as I rolled up the window I heard a loud "SKREEETTTTCCCCHHHH" all the way down my car door 'o my god, Joel is going to kill me!!' It dawned on me that the highlander was searching the ground looking for his food I had hurled out the window AND THEN I felt my car shaking about, Z and I were bouncing around!!! The highlander got his 3 foot long horn stuck under my car! How the hell would I get myself out of this mess?! Unequivocally this large beast could easily flip my car, animals are not sensible individuals-he would probably start to panic soon and what was I going to do? It's not like there was anyone around I could flag down to help me. I think the wild ride this cow gave us lasted just shy of a minute but I was scared to death!

video

After this debacle I kept my windows up until the end of this area and we entered the the gate where the zebra and giraffes were. Surprisingly the more timid seeming animals, were kept behind a fence, we got close enough to feed them but unlike having a buffalo's head in your passenger seat, that's as close as we got.


Being in the drivers seat I couldn't actually get all that close to the zebras, I had to stretch across to try to get him his carrots then when I failed and it dropped on the ground I will never forget the look on that zebra's face-I don't think I've ever received a look that was so telling. I swear he was thinking 'Seriously? You stupid woman, all you have to do is transfer the carrot from your hand to my mouth....you're going to make it far in life.'



At first I had planned to drive through twice but by the time I got out I was anxious to see what sort of damage had been done to my car-thankfully nothing that didn't come off in a car wash, but we had to get back on the road anyways-the next day we were headed to St Louis to see the Gateway Arch!

6 comments:

  1. What fun! The look on your daughters face is priceless!!

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    1. I know...I wonder what was going on in her head!? She talks about it-but just refers to it as the 'zoo'. I think when she starts school two things will happen 1. she will be confused that NOT every child lives a life like this and 2. I bet (but hope i'm wrong) that kids will think she's making it all up!

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  2. Wow what a cool experience. I can't believe how close they were, and that llama looks like it's wearing a knitted sweater!!

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    1. As kind of cheesy as it is, it really was a neat experience and I'm glad I finally did it!

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  3. Yeah Zeeva's face is hilarious there!!

    Do you not have many safari drive thru parks over there? We have quite a few here and i have been to three. One is 40minutes away from me and you drive through a load of monkey's who can try and rip your aerial off. Then you drive through the rhinos and at other points you drive through lions and tigers, i love it!!

    Poor you with regards to that cow, that sounds and looks scary, can't believe he got stuck though! What was the damage to your car, was it bad?

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    1. The tigers don't come up to your car do they??? This is the only one I know of in the US, there is one in Canada not too far from me but that's all I know of.

      No, amazingly nothing seemed to happen to my car, though I've never gotten under it where the horn was stuck!

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