Monday, March 11, 2013

Drive thru Safari

When we first moved to Walmart Country, I was sad to learn that Groupon doesn't exist here.  I quite enjoyed getting the daily emails of random services, events and restaurant deals in Albuquerque.  Thankfully, within a few months I was informed that although Groupon doesn't live here, Living Social does.  Same deal, different name.  Living Social has given us deals for all kinds of restaurants, like the sandwich place (Hog's Breath Eatery) we thought was a BBQ joint.  If/when you ever visit us in Walmart Country, friends and family, the fried "corn nuggets" at Hog's Breath are a complete marvel.  Mmmmmmmm.

Living social has also given us deals for some other random adventures too, like the 2-for-1 admission to the Wild Wilderness Drive-Thru Safari, which we visited recently.

The safari is about 45 minutes away from Fayettville, off the road we take to Tulsa, almost at the Oklahoma border.  Some friends of ours visited and had a hard time telling us what it was like, and now that we've been there, I can see why.  It was weird, ya'll, but more fun than anticipated.

The brunt of the adventure is, as should be obvious from the name of the place, a drive thru "safari."  You take your car on a 5-mile dirt road loop around 400 acres and look at herds (yes, really, HERDS) of animals roaming around.  The more dangerous ones (lions, tigers, ligers, bears, hippos, rhinos, panthers, etc.) are caged, but the other ones (deer, elk, zebras, camels, buffalo, piggies, tons of creepy looking emus) just wander around.  Sometimes in front of your car.

Sometimes right next to your window.  I have seriously never been that close to a cow or an emu before.

 Plus, a herd of like 15 zebras running on a hill?  Pretty spectacular, albeit odd to think about in Arkansas.

In addition to the drive-thru safari, the place also has walk-thru and pet-thru parts where you can feed piggies, goats, chickens, llamas and the like.  Plus, you can hang out with kangaroos!  

In a barn-like area they also had monkeys, parrots, lizards, and snakes.  And then in a real barn, they had chickens with baby chicks, rabbits, piglets, and a couple of giraffes (one of these things is not like the other!).  I wanted to pet the giraffe but I kind of forgot to do it.

The best part, though, was the 7-month old lion cub one of the staff members had out on a leash.  A baby lion.  On a leash.  He was ridiculously cute and had such an adorable, loud, low lion roar.  This cat did not sound like a house cat.  But he sure played like one!  His paws were as big as my hands and he kept grabbing at his leash to bite it, rolling around on the ground to let people pat his tummy, and generally entertaining the crowd.  We seriously could have watched him all day:

Apparently there were some even smaller cubs people could play with in the barn area, but the line was too long and we were unwilling to wait for half an hour to even get a glimpse of the little cubbies, though now I kind of regret not doing it.  I can say that I've pet a lion, though!  His fur was much coarser than I expected, and his teeth were just as big as I expected.

Between this place and the Wild Life Refuge I wrote about awhile ago, whodda thunk there'd be so many exotic animals in/near Walmart Country?

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