We’re spending a few days in Callaway Gardens during our visit down south. Callaway Gardens holds a very special place in my heart. It’s where I came on many family holidays during my childhood. I’m going to blog about Callaway Gardnes this weekend. While we were in Atlanta a few days ago visiting with various members of my family, one of my cousins told me to definitely try to hit a place nearby called the Wild Animal Safari. They recommended that we not take our rental car into the park, which was very good advice. Otherwise, we would have to explain animal marks all over the car to Hertz.
After purchasing our tickets and renting a van on the premises, the experience cost a hefty $80 for a family of four. I had found a coupon online, but we had no printer available. Admission to the park is $17.95 for adults, $14.95 for seniors and children 3-12. Children two and under are admitted free. We showed our AAA card and got $2 off each ticket. Each bag of food was $2.50 each at the front counter. We really should have bought more. One bag per person would have been more sufficient that the two that we had.
We got in a camouflaged 1985 Ford minivan and tried to buckle up. It was too bad that the seat belts in the back seat were broken. Our kids couldn’t buckle up. Thankfully, the windows had bars running across them so the animals. After the trip started, my son was in tears and ended up sitting in my lap during the excursion. He’s 5 years-old and is pretty scared of animals. This was definitely the way to cure his fears.
A 3.5 mile drive through the park’s 200 acres of nature brought us face to face with the most incredible amazing animals. Immediately, our van was surrounded by animals – zebras, giraffes, bulls, pigs, donkeys, antelopes, camels, elks, cows, deer, ostriches, lamas – you name it, we saw it. The animals seemed to be waiting for us to bring in the food. They seemed almost famished, starving. One large animal would walk up looking for food, and the rest of the animals would flock around our van. My daughter was very brave and sat in the back alone throwing the food out the window for the animals (with big teeth) to catch in their mouths. Unfortunately, she used almost all of it up in the first 10 minutes and we couldn’t fulfill the animal’s desires for food the rest of the ride.
It was unbelievable. The animals were in our faces during the entire trip. One giraffe was so close to my daughter that she was scared his drool would touch her skin. I kept my window closed. My son was freaking out for the first bit, but he slowly accepted his fate for the next 60 minutes. He finally pulled out his own camera and started snapping away. We had to stop a bunch of times as there were too many animals in front of us to move and we snapped away, too. Here are some of our shots – remember, these aren’t close-ups. They were inches in front of us!
The trip lasted an hour. They also have a petting zoo, but I have to admit my kids were ready to leave. They enjoyed the tour, but after an hour of having animal’s heads thrust through our windows and an animal stench that didn’t smell so swell, all they wanted to do was get cleaned up and go get lunch.
All in all, it was a good experience for us all. We were laughing our heads off most of the time in disbelief that the animals were so close. We’ll be talking about the drooling giraffe for some time to come.