Thursday, September 23, 2010

best ten bucks EVER.

Have I mentioned that I have an unhealthy infatuation with "Groupon"?  The first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning is the new day's deal.  Sometimes I'll even get up at midnight to see what it is!

A few weeks ago we purchased a family pass to the African Wildlife Safari Park in Port Clinton for a mere ten bucks.  It's the best ten bucks we've spent in a long time. I would even venture to say that the craziness we experienced would have been worth FULL price had we paid it.  And I rarely think anything is worth full asking price!

I took hundreds of pictures- literally.  I've included a small (comparatively) smattering of them.  I hope that you they paint a small picture of the joy we experienced.  

Of all the pictures I took, this is possibly my favorite. It describes our day perfectly.  A mix of terror, amazement, and stupefaction combined with pure amusement (kent and I were amused anyway!). 
This one tells the story, too.

As soon as we entered the safari gates (think tall giant reinforced gates like those on Jurassic park!!) we were literally AMBUSHED by the most ridiculous herd of female elk you've ever seen.  Holy Smokes.  They need to have some warning that informs you to NOT unroll ALL four of your windows at once. We seriously were under attack from every side.  The kids were SOBBING.
Kent and I were beside ourselves laughing. We couldn't roll up any windows.  We couldn't drive forward or back because we were surrounded and we were all being squished.  I'll be honest- I usually laugh really hard when I shouldn't.  This was one of those times. I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't quite terrified myself.

Somehow I pushed giant elk heads out of the car while Kent tried his best to inch forward and inch the widows up.  After a few minutes of terror- we got passed the 'elk zone'.

Next came the little deer looking critters.  They are all from Africa so I'm assuming they aren't deer- but we'll call them that to make things easier.  These little guys were really cute and far less combative.  They loved nibbling on the free pellets we got to hand out.  They waited their turn and didn't try to steal fingers.

Ike definitely enjoyed these guys the most.  I think it helped that they were too small to fit entire body segments in our car.  Some of them could barely reach the windows.
Next came the llamas and alpacas. Or at least what looked like llamas and alpacas.They were nice- but Zeb was still scared by the elk behavior and didn't want any more animals in the car. He was full of all sorts of requests.   "Would you please just put up my window, dad?"  "can we please just go to the zoo instead, dad?"  "I'm all finished with the African Safari now, dad"

This guy was Kent's favorite. 

We quickly entered another danger zone.  All sorts of animals with really large horns and really big bodies. Buffaloes/bison, these giant things that looked like texas longhorns, and some unidentified antlered creature.

We were worried that this guy was going to damage the car. I bet his horn span was six feet.

And the buffalo/bison were just humongous.  When we went around a second time we made sure to keep our windows closed around these guys.  They were just too big and could have literally picked up our car.

They had carrots you could buy to feed the animals- but they were priced like gold.  Luckily I'd read reviews ahead of time and we'd come prepared with our own bags of carrots.
I'm really glad we did bring our own carrots- because they saved the best animals (the giraffes) for last and they would ONLY come to your car for carrots. They wouldn't take the pellets.
I could not believe how close we could be to the giraffes. They were AMAZING and SO BIG!!  This guy was trying to eat my camera.
Both boys actually really loved the giraffes until this one tried to lick zeb's stomach. He was all smiles until that tongue went crazy.
 He was really just trying to get the carrot- but Zeb was too scared to figure out that he just needed to let it go.
here's a shot of the giraffe coming in past me in the front seat to get a carrot from Kent. Check out that tongue!!  I was close enough to see the saliva.
and check out the eyelashes.  These creatures are really really amazing.  And so so big.
 Our afternoon was so much fun.  I'm pretty sure Zeb will remember it forever.  We figure since he's three- and the day was so eventful/traumatic/fun- it will probably be one of his first good memories :)
Our car is now in desperate need of a car wash and vacuum but we all had such a blast. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time!


Linz said...


I want to go there. Today!

Laney said...

best pictures I have ever seen in my life. ever.

Bryce and Breanna said...

this would be so awesome! I'm sure I would be screaming.

Jessica said...

We went a few years ago (had discount tickets and brought our own carrots) and traumatized our son who was 2 1/2 at the time. He sobbed just about 1/2 way through the whole thing. It is crazy how the elk swarm the car. And those texas longhorns got a horn stuck in our car! Luckily it didn't puncture anything but he shook our car awfully good. That had me quite panicked. Did Kent enjoy the bad breath from those animals. I got a priceless photo of my hubby just as one snorted right on him. Now THAT made me laugh out loud! I too loved the giraffes at the ends, they were so calm and beautiful to look at.

Rachael said...

Leisy - I am laughing so hard tears are streaming down my face. Oh, that is SO funny!! I can't believe how unafraid all those animals are. Wow. Thanks for spending that $10 so I could worry my children with my hysterical crying/laughter! :)

Cori said...

lol i love your blog you are way too funny and i love your pics i say you are the best photographer and need a photo session still please

Lindsay said...

um, I lived in Toledo for 5 years and never heard of that place. I want to go there right now also. I loved your pictures and also laughed out loud a few times reading your post. Too fun!

LauraJ said...

Awesome post!! I love the pictures and all of the visuals you painted - what fun! Seriously - loved it! What handsome kiddos you have!

Lizzie said...


The one of the giraffe about to eat your camera is amazing.

dockters said...

These pics are hilarious!!! I love them...all!

Eric's mom and dad took our boys there when they watched them. Sam kept talking and talking about it...and NOW I know why!!

Anonymous said...


brittani c. said...

Do you remember what happens when I laugh really hard? Yep, TEARS, Leisy. I've got tears gushing down my face. You captured some priceless moments. I can't believe I've never heard of this place. What a gem.

yaya said...

Oh my gosh, I can't stop laughing! Those pics are priceless. I didn't even know that place was there and I've lived in Ohio for over 30yrs...well, I guess I haven't really lived until I actually visit that place! What a hoot. Hey, this weekend is Heritage days at Malabar's free! Come on down!(look it up online!)

Pat and Brent said...

I can't believe I was laughing so hard while watching my grandkids get traumatized! Great post. Hope the kids sleep OK tonight.

Karrie Wills said...

Those are hilarious pictures! And they are all so sharp and clear! What type of camera do you own? I working on a blog to start myself but I don't know how dedicated I will be with posting. So are you a really tough Boot Camp instructor? :-) I only made it 15 minutes this morning in some sort of cardio class. UGH! Going to work my way up to taking a class again. Kind of embarrassing when you leave right in the middle of leg lunges.

Danielle said...

OH MY. I could NOT stop laughing while reading this... and I don't usually do that. :) I want to go! Those pictures are AMAZING!!

Hailey said...

I can't believe that place even exists! I would have been laughing hysterically the whole time I'm sure, or maybe crying... Your pictures are amazing!

Annie O said...

I've looked at this at least five times now and I still laugh out loud. People at work want to know what's so funny.

Funniest blog I've ever read. EVER!

ahewitson said...

That's awesome! I can just see you and Kent laughing your heads off while your children are screaming.

Cynthia said...

Oh my gosh…wow…what an experience!! I went through some of the same emotions you guys did—scared, excited, laughter—and I was just looking at the pictures!

Delaps said...

Wow! I don't even know what to write...What a trip. I love all of your pictures.

Steve and Hailey said...

Life is busy and crazy and exhausting and I feel like I'm always cranky lately (working and!). Your post was therapeutic! Hooray! I think I will look at it often!