Experience the new feed cups
Experience the new feed cups
Love these rolling hills
Love these rolling hills

By Bonnie Glidewell

Take a Walk on the Wild Side at Wildlife Safari

July 29, 2014 


Located in the small and scenic town of Winston, Wildlife Safari serves as a major attraction for family adventures in the Umpqua Valley. Each year approximately 150,000 people visit the park, making it one of Oregon’s favorite visitor destination points. Here you can drive through a 600-acre pre­serve and see over 550 animals and over 76 species from Africa, Asia and North America roam freely in the park. They are dedicated to conservation, education and research of native and exotic wildlife. Beginning in 1972, with the dream of Frank Hart who had the vision of creating a facility in the Pacific Northwest that would help save rare and endangered species from around the world, this non-profit has continued to do exactly what it had intended to do.

Did you know???

As an accredited institution of The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Wildlife Safari qualified as one of the top 10% of licensed USDA exhibitors in the nation that meet their high standards for safety and animal care.

Wildlife Safari offers a very unique venue when planning for your special events. From birthday parties, family reunions, weddings, corporate meetings or holiday parties we are able to accommodate you.

In 1972, Wildlife Safari began breeding cheetahs and since that time 174 cheetahs have been born at the park. These statistics place them as one of the top breeders of cheetahs in the U.S. and the western hemisphere.

You can adopt an animal from the park without actually taking it home?

The education department of the safari offers homeschool programs and classes, day and overnight camps, field trips, community outreach and engagement, internships and career exploration, volunteerism, junior zookeeper programs and more! These are offered to toddlers through high school students.

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! This is not all they have in the large wooded valley; they also have giraffes, zebras, elephants, bison, elk, deer, birds, monkeys and more! With almost two dozen summer events scheduled, they have created a well-rounded offering for guests ranging from large families to solo explorations. Rib Roaring BBQ with the Lions, Adventure Camp - Animal Olympics, and Wine at the Waterhole with African Elephants have all been some of the ongoing events so far this summer. If you are interested in any of these, do not fret, there is still time to join the fun!

Tena Lammers, the Marketing Director of Wildlife Safari says “Throughout August, Wildlife Safari will host Waterhole Splash Tours. On these tours, guests can trek through the underground tunnel, coming out in the viewing area behind the waterfall of the pool where George, Alice and Tava can be found taking a "dip" most summer days. In addition to the obvious delight the elephants will have as they interact in the waterhole, this exhibit will enable Wildlife Safari to host guests for keeper talks. This education component is a cornerstone for our mission to educate the public about our amazing elephant ambassadors. Since we opened our "Feed Me" cup station last spring, thousands of kids and adults have had rhea, emus, sika and fallow deer from our Asia section eating out of the palms of their hands, or the cup!”


Roars and Snores Lion Adventure Camp, EleFabulous Evening: Wine and Art with the Elephants, Overnight Safari Adventure Camp, Discover Camp - All in the Family, Adventure Camp - It's a Zoo out Here, Wine at the Waterhole with African Elephants, Overnight Safari Adventure Camp, and the Annual Safari Auction are still all upcoming events between August and mid-September. Between these events and other “animal encounters” such as the bear and lion feed, cheetah excursion, camel rides and more, one can really get up close and personal but still be within the comfort and excitement zone.

Last week, my family and I spent a good part of the weekend at the Overnight Safari Adventure Camp. Not having to arrive until 4pm made the trip up more leisurely and pleasurable than I normally get to experience. For a small fee, they set up our tent and had the s’mores ready to go. Since we were on our own until 7pm and for dinner, we were able to check-in and explore via foot all they had to offer within walking distance. After the nocturnal animal show in the dome amphitheater, we were rounded up for a guided night hike to encounter the local deer before cuddling up for dessert around the fire. I don’t know about you, but I think s’mores are by far the best treatment for the sweet tooth while in the wilderness. The night sky was to die for as the stars shined bright above and the lions roared on the other side of the hill.

The next morning, we woke up early and strolled down to the complimentary breakfast and chatted about the sounds of the night as we sipped our cup of Joe. Who would have thought that a carnivore’s grumble would be so soothing? Shortly after our conversation with the other families camping out, about 50 of us piled into two truck beds lined with cages and headed to the brown bears to feed them our peanut treats. Taking the same road as the drive-thru guests, we scooted along and made our way to our bear enclosure for our last encounter. Upon arrival, we noted two sides where males and females were separated from each other and on either side of the truck. Ready for their morning snack, these brown bears crawled out of their favorite spots of ponds and tree shacks, ready to chow down. Still behind the fence, they walked right up to the road where our truck sat and waited for us to toss them our boxes of peanuts. I took this time to not only capture as many quality pictures as I could, but to also sit back and enjoy the pure excitement of the children as they fed the bears. Priceless.

For more information about Wildlife Safari, go to www.wildlifesafari.net . Enjoy these pictures by viewing them on our Travel Southern Oregon Facebook album named “Take a Walk on the Wild Side at Wildlife Safari”.