Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Out of Africa

[Warning: Lots of pictures!]
Instead of waking up early and getting trampled on to find a good deal (aka- Black Friday) we thought we'd visit Africa.... or at least the animals taken "out of Africa" to this amazing wild animal park in Camp Verde, Arizona. It was quite a drive to get there but we enjoyed our first bouts of Christmas music and the scenic desert landscape along the way. The high that day was only 54* and partly cloudy, so being the Arizonans that we are, we bundled up the kiddos and set out.

We began our adventure with a Serengeti Safari ride in a converted school bus without window or a door. Each person was given a carrot to feed a giraffe:

Or a camel:

We also encountered a rhinoceros...
The Gemsbox (Oryx Gazella) (watch out, they can kill lions with those horns)...
......ostriches (they can kick you over, stand on you and kill you with their thumb and they can run 45 mph for over 30 minutest straight, so you can't outrun them)...
...zebras (but don't feed them, they can bite your fingers off!...
... lions...
... and a African Sable Antelope.
Then we attended the Giant snake show:

Where they actually let you pet and hold these cute lovable creatures. Corbin was game:
Jeff, on the other hand, hates snakes and ventured off by himself. He ran into this:
A tiger.
When we met up again we turned the corner and saw this: a hyena
During lunch we enjoyed leftover turkey sandwiches and oranges as we saved seats at the Tiger Splash arena for the 1:15 show. It was a cold day when the sun was behind the clouds:
The Tiger Splash show features tigers literally playing in that heated pool. They love it and it's amazing. The trainers don't "train" these wild animals, they merely solicit their natural play instinct (just like real cats). The co-founders of Out of Africa wrote a book about this type of play based on concous rational thought (meaning they make a choice not to kill the trainers during play but they DO rip apart the toys with their claws and teeth.) The book is called RETURN TO EDEN. Very interesting concepts.
After the show, it was time to head home. On our walk down the mountain we saw the cougar (Go Cougs!)...
the 3-legged (special needs) leopard, of course...
the lion...
... and the white wolf.
Corbin and I ended the day with a camel-back ride on John Henry. Corbin was a little unsure at first, but as soon as we got trotting, he was giggling in delight.
I think after a day like this, who wouldn't? After all the sights and sounds, we felt like we'd visited Africa.

6 comments:

Tiffanie said...

That is so COOL! Chloe would have loved that. I love how it's so up close and personal. Way better than the wild animal park in san diego!

Grandma TeeTee said...

What a great family experience. I love the picture of you and Corbin on the Camel! Keep the warm clothes out.... you'll need them for Utah. Pray for Snow!

Mandy said...

Kimball would have loved that! He is learning all of his animal sounds and looks for dogs in every parking lot...they are the only "wild" animals he sees!

Pheobe said...

Fun!!
I have a buy one get one free for that place and have been wanting to go with the kids. It looks like a great time. How awesome that you were able to go as a family!

The Thomas' said...

Oh my goodness that looks like so much fun! We've always wanted to go there and never made it. We'll have to make a point to visit it sometime soon. I'll bet Corbin just loved it :)

P.S. What days are you guys going to be up here? I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!!

Alicia States said...

Holly, that is super neat! I think we need to go there one of these years... Maybe when Quinton and Ziek can appreciate it! Whaddaya say?