Posts Tagged ‘Wildlife Safari’

I don’t think there will be a California road trip with Anderson this year. However, I am taking both of the boys on an over night trip tomorrow. I don’t think I am game enough to try taking Spencer any place for any longer than that without another adult. So tomorrow we will drive south three hours. If we get there in time, we will stop at a fishery where they have a “window” that lets viewers see beneath the surface of the water to watch fish as they swim by. I think they will like that. Then we’ll go on another 5 miles to a motel where we’ll spend the night then go to the Wildlife Safari in Winston on Thursday then come home. If Thursday proves to be too long of a day, we might stay some place a second night.

I think they’ll have a good time. Today will be spent on getting them some snacks for the trip and a few little surprises to distract them should it become necessary. Legos for Anderson and cars for Spencer.

I’m looking forward to it. I think. Wildlife Safari is one of those places where you drive your car through the place and see the wildlife. We’ve gone numerous times. We’ll see lots of zebra, giraffes, elephants, lions and tigers and bears (they are kept in a guarded area behind a fence). There will be different types of goats and rams and elk. We’ll see bison. There are so many species that I can’t remember them all but there’s a lot to see. There is also a “village” where the kids can run around (think zoo) and see more animals. The only thing that worries me is that I will need to figure out the kid lock for Spencer’s door so he doesn’t open the door when we are on the drive-through portion. And I need to remember to figure out the window locks, too. We can have windows down but some animals come really close to the car and I don’t want them sticking their head in the car with Spencer because he’ll try to touch them!

Then there is the motel room. He’s tall (Spencer) for a 3 year old and he’s smart. Bad combination. He knows how to unlock doors and will just walk out of the motel room. It happened in Seaside, during the night when everyone was asleep. He woke up and let himself out of the room! If it hadn’t been for the door being noisy when it shut behind him, we would not have known! So that’s the other worry. If the door has a chain lock that is high enough that he doesn’t reach it, it will be okay. However, I’m thinking of taking a sleeping bag in case I have to sleep in front of the door!

So that’s this week’s adventure. I’m sure we’ll have fun. Of course, I might need a getaway all to myself when we’re done!

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Blogging From A to Z

In 1999, my three kids and I went on one of our last road trips together. That summer we drove from Los Angeles to Vancouver, British Columbia. This trip was a little easier for me because my son had just begun driving and was able to help me with that, as well as with distracting and occupying his younger sisters.

On our way north, we drove first to San Jose and stayed with my sister for a couple of days before heading to Canada. When we got started, we drove along U.S. 101 from San Francisco across the Oregon border just north of Crescent City then headed east to Interstate 5 which we would take the rest of the way into Canada. When we got near Medford, Oregon on Interstate 5, we began to see signs for an attraction called Wildlife Safari. According to the billboards, it wasn’t too far away. We hadn’t heard of it previously but the signs promised a drive-thru experience with wildlife and a zoo, as well as a gift shop and cafeteria. We decided we would keep driving until we got to the turn off for Wildlife Safari instead of stopping for a rest in Medford.

When we arrived we learned that we would drive through the gated and fenced in grounds in our own car. We would be able to drive through at our leisure and were allowed to open windows in the car, except in the bear and lion dens where our windows had to be rolled up. We didn’t know what to expect but my kids, all three of them, have always loved wildlife and were excited to go through. So we did.



We were not disappointed in the least. The park was everything it had promised and so much more. The animals came up to the car windows in many cases and in some cases, we actually had to stop the car and wait for the wildlife to get out of our way. We saw girafffes, zebras, camels, yaks, bison, emus, and a variety of different deer, sheep, and goats. We saw monkeys, black bears, brown bears, tigers, lions, leopards, and just about any kind of animal you might expect to see on safari. The animals are grouped in “continent” manor so that you would see the same animals grouped together that you would actually see in proximity to one another in the wild. The kids were mesmerized. Because we were able to move at our own pace (under ten miles per hour) we were able to take a lot of pictures. The kids were able to take off their seat belts and change places to get a better view any time they wanted to.


When we finished the drive and got out of the car to head to the mini zoo and gift shop, the kids were so enthusiastic that they wanted to go again. However, we didn’t have time because the park was about to close and we had already lost three hours of driving time. We were determined to make it to Portland that evening. The whole rest of the trip, over a week’s time, the kids kept talking about Wildlife Safari and asked if we could go through again on the way home. We agreed that if everyone cooperated in getting up and leaving Vancouver on time, we should be able to arrive at Wildlife Safari just before the last drive through of the day. So now we had a goal to shoot for.

We did it! Everyone cooperated. We were able to leave Vancouver by 8 am and we arrived in Winston, Oregon at the gates of Wildlife Safari in time to drive through. This time they each had a brand new disposable camera to take pictures with as we drove into the park. Once again, they were just as mesmerized the second time as they had been the first time. This time we saw different animals; a lot of the same animals were out but we did see some that we had missed the first time through.

Since 1999, Wildlife Safari has become a favorite stop between San Jose and Portland. In fact, there have been several times when we drove from the San Francisco bay area to Wildlife Safari and back to California – a special trip to a special place. If I count back, I believe I have been to Wildlife Safari at least fourteen times! It has changed a lot since the first time we were there but it is still the same place with a lot of the same operating procedures. Some things have gotten better and some things have gotten commercial (for example, they now have “encounters” where you can get up close and personal with some of the animals for an extra fee) but it is still a wonderful experience! And now my grandchildren are enjoying it, too.

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A couple of weeks ago, my daughter and I took my grandson to Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon.  It’s about a three hour drive and we thought he’d love it.  It’s one of those drive through animal parks where you go in your own car, at your own pace and the animals roam free.  Well, not all the animals.  The bears are in an electrified enclosure and the lions and tigers are also in fenced off areas.  But for the most part, the animals are free.

We first discovered Wildlife Safari in 2000 on a drive from Los Angeles to Vancouver, British Columbia.  We didn’t know it was there until we saw the signs on the side of the road.  We had not planned on stopping until we got to Portland but with three kids, I decided it would be good to stop.  They loved it, as did I.  There is a little village that you can go to aside from the drive through part.  In the village is a small petting zoo, monkey island, and although they weren’t there in 2000, there are now camels for camel rides.   On that first trip there, we went through the village and it was a real treat for the kids to pet the animals and see the miniature horses. At that time there were also some baby bobcats that had been orphaned when their mother was killed and the babies were brought there to be cared for.  They were on exhibit in the village.  The kids loved it so much that they made me promise to take them again on our way back south.  So I did promise that if everyone cooperated to keep on schedule, we could go on the return trip.  That worked like a charm and we did indeed stop there on the way home.

Since 2000, I’ve been back through about ten more times because every time someone comes to visit, I take them through.  In fact, the trip two weeks ago was my third time in a year!  It never gets old.  You see different animals each time.  Sometimes it’s a herd of zebras grazing right by the road, and there is almost always a herd of buffalo crossing the road, making traffic stop while they take their time meandering by.

So we took Anderson.  One of the things they’ve added this year is encounter sessions with different animals, for an additional fee.  We got to the village and made that our first stop so we could change diapers and stretch our legs before driving through the safari section because we had been in the car for three hours!  When we got to the village, my daughter noticed that we were just in time for the giraffe encounter so we checked and not only was there room for us but there was only one other family on the tour with us.  As soon as we got out to the giraffe area, Mate walked right over to us, looking to be fed!  And I am not kidding when I say that he walked right over to us.  All the way to the truck we were in and sticking his head inside, looking for food. We all got to feed him and touch him.  It was really wonderful and Anderson loved it!  He was not one bit afraid of this huge giraffe with a long, long black tongue!

I think we’ll be going back at least once or twice a year so that Anderson can enjoy all the animals.  He’ll get to see different ones each time.  And he will probably run from one animal exhibit in the village to the next, like he did this time.

Up close and personal with Mate.

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