For a city that doesn't have a zoo or aquarium, Charlotte does not disappoint when it comes to animal encounters. Today we discovered the Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville, NC. We weren't quite sure what it was all about. We had heard that you drive through and the animals will walk right up to your car and that you can feed them. In a world of "animals may bite" and "don't feed the animals", I was half expecting a few goats and maybe some far off sightings of some more exotic animals. We (well, everyone but Gage) were pleasantly surprised by the amount of animals and just how "friendly" they all really are. Aside from the giraffes and rhinos, every animal you will see here had free reign to go where ever he or she wanted to go, including inside your car if your window (or sunroof) was open. This closeness pretty much freaked Gage out! Stephen ended up riding in the back with Gage in his lap consoling him for the first 15 minutes of our safari (and every time an emu decided to peck at the window). By then end, however, Gage was happily singing Old MacDonald and saying "bye, alpaca."
There are not any photos of the kids here (unless you include the baby goats..ha ha ha). Each of these pictures were taken from inside the car. There was an option of riding in the wagon...thank goodness we didn't get there in time to catch the last wagon ride of the day. Gage might have clawed me to death and I would not have been able to take any pictures.
While I love Disney's Animal Kingdom Safari, the Lazy 5 Ranch blows it out of the water in terms of animal encounter. Thankfully there were no lions!!!
This guy was our first encounter. I was literally driving, holding the feed bucket, and taking this picture. The emus and ostriches pretty much freaked me out! The ostriches could have put their heads into the car through the sunroof of the Odessey!!!
Not sure what this goat said about the ostrich's mama, but he was about to pay for it.
Here's the wagon we could have taken. The local schools do field trips to the Lazy 5 Ranch. I'm pretty sure this is how my children will eventually experience this place. I can't wait to chaperone that trip!!! The wagons are pulled by 3 of the biggest and most beautiful horses I've seen (aside from the KY horse farm horses).
It's very hard to explain this place in words. They told us it would take about an hour to drive through. While the route was long and there is a boatload of land here, the real slow down is that the animals are not at all afraid of the cars. They see the car coming and think "FOOD!!!" and don't hesitate to walk in the middle of the road straight up to your car. Then they look for the sucker with an open window and invite themselves into your car. They also just hang out in the middle of the road eating the buckets of food previous drivers have tossed out the window in an effort to get their windows up as fast as possible. Yeah, we know from experience.
Possibly our scariest experience was with the zebras. We had one who sniffed us out and then came to my side for some food. I obliged opening the window and letting him have some of the food. This only invited a second zebra to come over for a taste. Well, zebra #1 was not down with that. The two of them exchanged words and then the hooves came out. There was some bucking and kicking. Thankfully we got out without a hoof going through the side of the mini. Not sure how you explain that one to the insurance company!
The alpacas were very friendly and not at all scary...especially when you don't have any food left, and therefore, the windows remain up! Stephen and I concluded that Eddie Murphy should play the voice of an alpaca in his next movie.
Right before the rhinos and giraffes, the cars started to back up...so plenty of time for some photos. I'm not sure I'd want this guy sticking his head in my car window. This is a watusi.
But the car in front of us allowed it.
Much to my chagrin, I did allow this guy to scratch his face on the inside of the car. Buffalo aren't so bad.
Scotch Highland Cattle
This cow was HUGE!!! He was pretty far away from us, but was certainly taller than the minivan. I really wish I had something to show the scale of this guy!
If I were standing next to him, I'd come up to the bottom of his ear. It was unreal.
Our drive ended with the giraffes.
After the drive through, there was still plenty to do at the ranch. They had peacocks, camels, hares, rams, etc. A walk around the rest of the ranch tired out the kiddos. A great time was ultimately had by all (even Gage).
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