Giraffe Ranch, Dade City

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Giraffe Ranch, Dade City

Postby KevinT » Mon May 25, 2015 5:56 pm

Not sure where I saw this advertised on a previous trip to Florida but I decided to book up for it this time around....and was not disappointed. Absolutely fascinating.

Lex and Elena (Elaina?) have run this ranch/wildlife farm for several years after working all their lives travelling worldwide and working with all types of wildlife but you immediately get the impression that this is not a retirement or "winding down" project. It is a full time working facility, not only providing entertaining and educational facts to it's visitors but also undertaking scientific projects, to provide facts and valuable information to other wildlife organizations.

We were greeted straight from the car by Elena and invited to register at the small office/shop/restroom area. From here we were taken to a seating area where we were treated to a short talk about the various species of wildlife we would get to see later. you might think this would be the "boring" part but Elena speaks with such passion and detail on her subject that you can not doubt her involvement and care for the wildlife they look after. Many of the animals come from poor quality and endangered backgrounds and are nurtured back to physical and social health at the farm. If the number of baby animals to be seen on our visit is anything to go by, the inhabitants are totally happy with their environment.

Next we go on a walking tour of the enclosures of smaller animals at the ranch. Monkeys, Chimpanzees, Ring Tailed Lemurs, Porcupines, Otters, Various birds, Capybara etc are all to be seen. some of the visitors who elected for extra feeding options are taken separately by Lex while Elena continues with the others.

Then comes the exciting part. We are taken (by whatever method of vehicle you book for.....Safari truck $75.....Camel Train $150 or Segway $150) to the large acreage of farmland to see the bigger animals including Giraffes, Rhinos, Gazelles, Zebra, Miniature Hippos, Ostriches and their herd of Irish Miniature Cattle. stopping every so often, Elena calls the various animals by name and encourages them to come to see her whilst describing to us all about the species.

The undoubted highlight of the tour is stopping off to feed the giraffes. The safari truck we opted for gives a great elevated view of the giraffes and is a good platform from which to feed these mighty but somewhat timid creatures. although shy at first they were soon munching on the various tasty items of leaves (Acacia?), lettuce centres and carrot slices provided by the ranch. There were excited squeals of delight from the truck as the baby of the family overcame it's shyness and you could feel it's soft , velvety chin and long purple tongue brush against your hand. Amazing!

The two and a half to three hour tour went by very quickly and our party of four all agreed it was and awesome experience and voted to come back again in the future.

I will post a few photos here but further info can be obtained at their website

Highly recommended for those who like wildlife close up!

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Kevin T.
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Re: Giraffe Ranch, Dade City

Postby HD » Tue May 26, 2015 4:12 pm

that looks like fun... you can certainly get up close to the animals... :D
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Re: Giraffe Ranch, Dade City

Postby Links » Wed May 27, 2015 6:52 pm

That looks like a great day out
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Re: Giraffe Ranch, Dade City

Postby villasoutherndunes » Wed May 27, 2015 10:37 pm

Thanks for the info - will add it to our to do list!

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