Sunday, April 4, 2010

Frolicking in the hills.

In the middle of the rolling hills of Southwestern Virginia, there lies a safari park. Camels, llamas, zebras, emus, deer, bull elk, bison ... they roam the land. 


Within the hills is a three-mile gravel road on which cars may travel. Buckets of feed are an optional must-have, as these animals are nuts. Nuts I tell ya!


We went to the safari park today with Kyle's sister, her husband and our nephew. They drove ahead of us and just as we entered the gate, we were rolling in leg-crossing laughter.


The animals flock to your car, as if it were a big piece of meat floating down the gravel road. We barely got five feet in the gate and we could not move. The animals block the road and stare at you, as if saying, "Was there somewhere you wanted to go? Feed me and you shall proceed."


Emus ---> among the nuts. I refused to feed them because of their forceful pecking motion. Refused. I was sure I'd lose a finger.

It was a shame too, since there were so many emus begging to be fed. I finally gave in. And the damn thing bit my finger. Needless to say he also got the entire bucket of food after that.




There were lots of these deer with fuzzy horns. I thought they might be reindeer. My sister-in-law shot down that idea and told me what they really were. I don't remember the name. They were so cute!


After being horded by the taller animals at my window, I retreated to the sunroof. It made for easier photo ops and then I didn't have to worry about them sticking their snouts in my face.


The one animal we were not supposed to feed was the zebras. My brother-in-law missed that rule. Oops. We were later told that the reason is because zebras really are not nice, even when you think they are being nice. When they are nice, they are mean. When they are mean, they are mean. In other words, they are always mean.


Despite that, they seemed to be the most friendly. Sorry guys.




We actually drove through the park twice ... the first time Payton was in the other car, the second time she came with us. I'm told she hated it the first time, but she was intrigued the second time.



The camels.


Oh ... the camels.


Now they were nuts. Every time I fed them, they clenched their teeth down on the bucket and took it right from my hands. Bastards.


But they were the animals I found most intriguing. And I was glad to be sitting up through the sun roof when we encountered them. Because they were huge.


This guy stole my bucket too. See it there in his mouth? Bastard.



Another road block.


Payton was disgusted. "Move!"


Not really. She really didn't say that, but she insinuated it with her sassy little self.

Ohh yeah, feels good.






The camels. Again. The car you see in this picture was nuts too. They were parked there next to these two guys and the camels kept sticking their heads down in the sun roof. And through the windows ... like, four feet into the car. 

And the driver? He was bald. And he had his back turned to his open window as he tried to take pictures of the camels. And then an emu approached him and I could have swore he was going to get pecked in the head.

He didn't. But it sure would have been funny.


See? I told you the zebras were nice!



Why hello long horn.

*shuts car windows*


Pot bellied pig and her babies. They hung around the gate the whole time we were there. Because they are pot bellied pigs and their legs don't take them far.


Meet Harry Hairy. He is a horse or a cow or perhaps both. He blocked the exit. He enjoyed having us and didn't want us to leave. We didn't feed him either.


After driving through the hills, we walked around to see the caged animals. Turtles, monkeys, birds, giraffe, tigers ... oh, I lurve the tigers.





This white tiger was so beautiful. She had the brightest blue eyes. But they were crossed. And the trainer told us she is so incredibly inbred. That made me so sad. Apparently white tigers have been bred so much in not-so-great-ways in order to increase their population. Inbred or not.

That is so stupid.


Chicky really was not a huge fan of the animals. Intrigued, yes. Fan, no. I'm not sure if she thought this goat might be fake or what. But she was going to find out.

And then he moved. And she got scared ... and screamed and ran.


I lurve giraffes too. They intrigue me.


There was an elevated deck area so we could be eye-to-eye with the giraffes. So awesome. We talked Mason into feeding them, although he was a bit nervous.


He did it. And the giraffe's tongue seriously was about eight inches long. Perhaps more.





We had such an amazing time frolicking in the hills with all the animals. We haven't laughed that hard in a long time. Good times.

The kids were exhausted by the time we left. And we even talked the animal trainers into letting us take a lion home. Ha.



  1. We have wondered about that park as we drive down 81. I think we will check it out the next time we drive by there.

  2. I wish we had something like that around know how fun the Vilas Zoo is compared to that...we do have naughty chimps and naughty orangutans :)

  3. ARE YOU IN VIRGINIA??? We live 30 minutes from Charlottesville - towards Richmond - (Palmyra in Fluvanna County)... where are you?? We've never been to that zoo but it is on our agenda.. maybe after Aaron gets here we will take a trip!

  4. INCREDIBLE Pictures! Looks like you had an amazing day!

  5. This looks like Natural Bridge Zoo and Safari Park. The mountains are so beautiful! We used to live in Lynchburg, and my two oldest went on field trips there when they were each in the first grade (they are in the 10th and 8th grades now). My son got to ride on an elephant there, and my daughter was bitten by an emu--good times! I think the same lion made the trip to our home...

  6. Looks like you all had a really fun time!

  7. Loved all the pics! What a fun time for all! Those dresses are so adorable on your girls too! You do such great photography! Wish you lived closer!

  8. Love these pics! Looks like everyone had a good time...including the animals!

  9. Awesome tour, and I didn't have to go anywhere! Thanks!

  10. It almost looks like you were here in SC...we have an animal park here just like that but u ride a big open bus on a safari they call it;) But it is always fun going there..and ALWAYs get bit by the stupid Imu's too!! Loved all the pictures!! You do an awesome job!!

  11. Fallow deer. That is what they are called--according to the guide book. But they sure do look like reindeer.

  12. Margo Ripp - WebsterApril 8, 2010 at 5:00 PM

    Beautiful pictures! You do a great job. Thanks for the tour. Take care.

  13. Great pics! Looks like so much fun.

  14. Awesome pictures! OMG - the camels' haircuts cracked me up!