Wildlife Safari Drive Through
“Where you are captive, and they roam free”
Hello Bend! The Wildlife Safari is a world-renown haven for hundreds of animals from all over the globe. If you’re a Central Oregon parent of kids who LOVE animals, you’ve most likely heard of it, but shuddered as you imagined the 9 hour round-trip drive time commitment to get there. Last year, right as the stay at home orders had us cooped up and slowly losing our minds, we decided to do it! Here is an overview of our adventure–we had the BEST time, and turned it into an adventure for the memory books! Not knowing what to expect along the way, or even when we got there for that matter, we kept open minds and had an awesome time. With summer right around the corner, spring break coming up, and the kids anxious for a change of scenery, we recommend the safari! Add it to your list of summer excursions or plan for an epic spring break road trip!
As we made the drive over towards Roseburg, we discovered a glorious stretch of southern Oregon we’d never explored before. There is no shortage of beauty on this drive with the North Umpqua River running parallel to the highway. The drive is flanked by a steady stream of gorgeous waterfalls nestled in the heart of the Umpqua Forest. As we drove along the river, even the kids enjoyed the scenery! It was a unanimous decision that a waterfall hike would be the perfect way to break up our long road trip and we recommend it for kids and adults! Check out our blog post on Toketee Falls ! We can’t wait to add a few more treks on the list for next time we make the drive.
The Wildlife Safari Drive-Through is open daily to visitors allowing you to enjoy animal encounters from the comfort of your own vehicle. Plan to spend about an hour and a half to drive through the Wildlife Safari park. The setting is lovely with 600 acres of rolling hills abundant in foliage and water resources. Frank Hart, a successful business man, founded the Wildlife Safari in 1972. He was looking for a location that was ideal for a large reserve that could display animals from around the world in a natural setting, resembling African and Asian terrain, so a large variety of animal life could be supported. In 1986 the park received accreditation from The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which signifies that Wildlife Safari has established and maintains professional zoological management standards as judged by other professional members of the Association. Of the thousands of zoos, Wildlife Safari is in the ten percent that proudly passes the stringent inspections to maintain the accreditation by the AZA. We can’t just write a quarantine blog post about a wildlife safari without referencing the notorious Netflix special Tiger King. Not knowing what to expect at this Safari, and with the documentary fresh in our minds, we were pleased to find that the Safari had a feeling of sanctuary for the animals, and it held no similarities to the conditions that cemented the infamy and notoriety of the show. In fact, Wildlife Safari is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and any money paid goes towards the animals and animal conservation!
During the drive-through, you will encounter a wide variety of animals from Africa, America and Asia. The kid’s favorite were the giraffes and zebras! There are many opportunities to feed the animals at Wildlife Safari and that is one of the reasons it makes this place so fun for all ages. If feeding the animals interests you and your kids, I recommend asking which animal feeding stations are open upon arrival and making a plan to avoid confusion.
Check out their education promotions, summer camps, and Junior Zoo Keeper programs here!
“Today, Wildlife Safari is one of the largest tourist attractions in the Northwest, hosting an average of 150,000 visitors a year. Wildlife Safari is known for educational outreach programs and an internationally renowned veterinary program. Wildlife Safari’s biggest accomplishment is the Cheetah Reproduction Project, which is the most successful Cheetah Breeding program in the Western Hemisphere. Since the park’s opening, Wildlife Safari has produced 214 cubs and counting.”
There are many things to do at the Wildlife Safari, in addition to the drive through park. Check out their park “Today” Page to get updates on current events. The Always Free Safari Village is open daily and features a botanical wonderland, animal exhibits including cheetahs, alligators, cougars & more, keeper talks throughout the day, a children’s petting zoo and more, all for free!
Brenda Menzel, Broker
Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty ~ Hello Bend Real Estate