This past Sunday I learned through social media that the Virginia Safari Park now has penguins! Cue freaking out and begging husband to go. I’d already been wanting to go, but the penguins were a nice additional bonus!
SO I talked hubby into going after church “C’mon it’ll be less busy on a Sunday, and its been raining, it’ll scare people off, but its really not supposed to rain very much anymore…” Against his better judgment he concede.
Then, there was this hour long windey drive through the mountains, eh. Then, there was this just about hour long wait in line in the car just to pay the fee to enter…eh..
We started with the drive thru portion. I’d always heard and read from others to take the wagon ride as the animals and animal feed will make a mess of cars. I wanted to do the wagon ride too because I figured it’d be better for pictures…but we entered the park after the last ride was over.
We drove into the drive thru portion and there were hordes of llamas everywhere. They were hustling around the cars. We scored 2 buckets of feed for free for signing up for yearly memberships, and I was conscious of the need to spread out the feed. All too soon I met my first guests. The white llama was so soft. I gave him/her a little feed and then we drove past other cars.
One car was feeding this giant beast. He turned and looked at me and I thought “no sir”. I know what those big animals could do! (eat all the food).
We drove on further feeding various types of deer and some more llamas. It seemed that the tinier deer were more skittish of the cars and wouldn’t come over. There were antelopes but they were more interested in fighting each other.
We turned the corner and the soft drizzle became a heavy down pour. At this point many of the herds of animals were escaping the rain under the trees. We shook our buckets at various animals, hoping something different would come by. James would just stick his hand out the window to hide from the rain, I completely would roll down the window.
Then I met this one giant deer. Let’s call him Ancient Bob. He is a Pere David’s Deer. He was under the trees and he took several minutes to waddle over. I was thinking “yay! He’s coming over!” and guys, he literally waddled, like he had bad hips or something. So I’m feeding him from the bucket and he pushes his head hard down, with antlers scraping down too near my arm, and there goes my bucket. At least there was only half left at that point. Looking back later in the picture I realized there’s another bucket on the ground, this guy knows what he is doing!
So we continued to drive around. We met a few determined llamas, they didn’t care it was pouring down raining, they stood in the road regardless, with their ears back, looking pathetic. I was just “sorry bud, that last guy stole my bucket”
When we finished the drive thru we headed for the gift shop area to have our seasons passes made. I wandered the store to discover this awesome shirt. We were pushing it a little bit financially by signing up for passes…but I’m getting this long sleeve shirt next time!
Next we walked around the village as the rain was mostly a light drizzle at this point. We wandered through to the penguins! At the entrance the guest services worker told me that the penguins had been here longer than she had, but that they had a new area in their exhibit, a slide. So I don’t know if it was just a Re-grand opening. However, the penguins are also not listed on the website which makes me think they are still pretty new? There was supposed to be a keeper talk, but none ever showed. Maybe next time I’ll be able to find out able this waddle.
The penguins huddled about doing what the others were doing. They seemed very curious in exploring their area, each other, the humans, and their pool. The pool seemed small, but it was awesome to see them dive in and swim around fast almost running into each other!
Across from the penguins were the tigers. The Orange Bengal tiger kept acting like my cat at home, stalking his roommate the White Bengal tiger for no reason. It was fun to see this in action as they growled at each other for a few moments.
We ambled through the Kangaroo area, but they were pretty much all escaping the rain in their barn. I can’t say I blame them. There was one mama hanging out with her joey in her pouch!
James seems to understand farm animals pretty well, we always enjoy ourselves at petting zoos. He says the secret is the scratch the animal where they are scratching so you win their love and affection. I don’t recommend this, but he then cuddles with the goats, in this instance putting his face near their antlers.
I loved the antics of the baby goats. There were various sizes, and several rambunctious ones jumping around, jumping on each other. Towards the end of our visit one baby came over. It had the softest ears! I petted it for a bit and it ended up poking its head through to chew on my jeans. Guys, can I please have a baby pygmy goat????!
I’m so excited that we purchased a seasons pass, even if I’ll never look forward to the windey drive to get there. Sometimes James and I struggle to come up with “couple hobbies” but I’d say that interact with and feeding animals is high on our list.