Whew...that was a long title, wasn't it?
Today we went to Cherokee Trace Drive-thru Safari. Feel free to take a peek at this website to see a little more info if you live locally & want to visit! http://www.cherokeetrace.org/
The whole thing took about 90 minutes to drive through! We weren't really sure what to expect other than pictures & videos we've seen through the years on TV or websites about places like this. It was very cool, though, and definately worth the drive/ticket price if you live around here.
When we arrived, we went to the gift shop/office to buy our tickets & get the bags of food you feed the animals with. They gave us a laminated paper with pictures of all the types of animals we might see along the way so that we could identify them. There were rules to follow (don't get out of your car, don't open the doors--just windows, don't pet the animals if one gets close to your car, throw the food out onto the ground--don't try to hand feed the animals if you want to leave with all your fingers!, etc.). And so, we were off on our very own Honda minivan safari through the "wild" of east Texas.
As we drove through the gates to the animal area, we had to cross a cattle guard (this is how they keep all the animals in the fenced area) and right away, animals walked right up to us!
A little further down the path, this little baby kangaroo came right up to Larry's window to be fed.
The animals were so breathtaking to see up close like this.
Well, some of them were. THEN there were freaky animals like these 2 emus.
They really freaked me out because they were both VERY enthusiastic about getting the food we were throwing out to them. I could not throw it fast enough to keep up with them & realized real quick that they were going to come into the van & eat it from my lap if I didn't go fast enough to suit them. While I don't typically have a problem with birds in general, these things were as tall as the van, had very long necks & these nasty looking faces (reminded me of a buzzard/vulture). Of course the kids & Larry were rolling in the van floor laughing at me because I was laughing at the birds' enthusiasm while I slowly inched my way back from the window. I was throwing the food as far from the van as I could saying "Go eat it over THERE." Eventually they got the best of me & I had to roll up the window to get them to go away! LOL! The kids were laughing about mom getting eaten by an emu the rest of the trip.
After leaving the emus behind, we came upon this goofy looking creature. It's a llama, but let me tell you, they've got to be the geeks of the animal community. Big buck teeth, funny looking eyes poking out the sides of their heads & a look on their face that says "duhhhhhhhhh". We laughed & laughed at these silly looking animals. In fact, I think this one was either blind in one eye or it had an eye that didn't work right--you know, one stares off into left field while the other one looks at you. Poor guy had all the odds stacked against him. I bet he didn't go to prom.
We continued on, seeing the spectacular animals & pretty scenery.
And then we finally spotted the camel! The lady in the office told us that there were 2 camels, but one was "locked up" because it tries to chew on anything rubber--tires, windshield wipers, etc. So the one who is out in the safari drive area is the female of the couple. She spotted us coming & started making her way toward us. She's smart. She knew we had food!
She got pretty brave too, coming right up to the window for food. Like the emus, I tried to throw it pretty far out from the car, but she would stay pretty close to eat it.
We thought we'd seen the last of the camel when we drove away, but realized several animals later that she had followed us! LOL! Silly thing followed us for about 2 miles & every time we'd stop to see/feed another animal, she'd be there wanting more. ha!
The beauty of nature....
So peaceful & serene....
And there's the camel again!
We finally ditched the camel when he spotted a tasty tree to stop & nibble on. Of course, we lost him just in time to be attacked by more emu!! This time they were on Larry's side of the car & he got a taste of their enthusiasm! LOL! He loved taunting them, though. He stick the food out the crack at the top of the window & just as they'd lean in to take it from his fingers, he'd drop it so that they'd have to bend down & pick it up off the ground. They did it over & over, each time making us all laugh more. Dumb birds!
And then.....there were the buffalo. These things cracked us up. As we approached, this is what we saw.
One was standing in the middle of the road & one was laying next to the road. Hmm...surely the one in the road will MOVE as we get closer, right? See the little deer-like thing on the right? We stopped at him & threw out some food.
The buffalo is still standing there, not moving. We inched closer & closer til we were almost bumping him with the front bumper of the van. I didn't get a picture of that b/c we were laughing at the silly buffalo by then.
He FINALLY moved when we got that close. The one laying down on my side of the van never moved. He just lay there & ate the food I threw out to him.
The big guy, though (the one who had been blocking the road) approached Larry's window. He threw out some food several times & while it was eating, we commented on how close the buffalo was -- close enough that Larry could've reached out & petted him while he ate. And so I teasingly told Larry he ought to try to pet the buffalo. Thinking he was Mr. Cool, he reached out the window to do just that. As soon as his hand touched the buffalo's neck (the back of his neck since he was leaned down eating), that buffalo came up to groan at Larry, eye to eye. Since this thing's head alone was nearly as big as the opening to our van window, Larry jumped & screamed and rolled up his window as fast as he could. The rest of us jumped when the buffalo moved, too, but then we all laughed til we were crying. Larry...my big strong man....shrieking & jumping. Man, it was hilarious! He then proceeded to drive forward a little bit to get away from the buffalo and said something akin to "Lord forgive me". I asked what he was talking about (because I had not seen/heard him sin) & he said "Umm, I said something...we drove through some piles of it back there." but the kids thought he said he'd run over the buffalo. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They were all concerned but Larry & I were laughing too hard to correct them for a while!! We finally regained our composure & moved on.
We had to cross another cattle guard to move into the area where the zebras were. Oh wow...so beautiful!
As we wound down our safari, we saw more pretty animals who would approach us to get a bite of the tasty food pellets we were given at the beginning of the drive.
As we left the drive thru area, I spotted this deer off in a distance & zoomed to get this shot. See it?
It was a great day together. Everyone came in to take a nap for a while & get a little rest before we go out to wash the van. It's filthy! The drive thru place was all a dry red dirt, so the whole van looks a little orange. We're going to wash the van & eat supper in a short while and then head to bed a little early to get rested up for day 2 of the Reeves Stay-Cation!
See ya tomorrow!