As part of our potty training program we promised Elliana we would take her to the zoo when she successfully learned to use the potty for everything, and when she finally made it happen she was quick to remind us we promised the zoo trip.
As much as I would love to take her to Riverbank Zoo we just don’t have the funds for a trip halfway down the state right now, so we opted for something local instead. We’ve taken her to the small Greenville Zoo already, so I thought we might try something different. Everyone has told me how awesome Hollywild is, so I checked out the website and decided that’s where we would go. Hollywild is a nonprofit organization that began in the 1940’s as a farm. Today Hollywild houses many different species of animal stars that have been featured in movies, ad campaigns, etc, across the country. Hollywild is also the home to “Tank”, the only working Rhino in the U.S. You’ve probably seen him in commercials for Blue Cross/ Blue Shield, Zycam, and Land Rover!
I’m so glad we chose to go there this weekend. We loaded up Sunday morning, and the weather was perfect. We arrived at Hollywild around 10:30am, and the temps were still in the high 60s. I was also very surprised to see very few cars in the parking lot. Hollywild opens at 10am, so we wanted to get there early to avoid the crowds and see the animals before the heat made them all lazy. There were maybe 15 other people in the entire park not including staff when we entered, and it was great having the ability to roam around freely without bumping into other guests left and right!
When we arrived the first safari tour was about to start, so we hung around the baby bottle feeding area and petted Holly the people friendly zebra while we waited for the safari bus.
Holly was so friendly I almost forgot she is a zebra. She would nuzzle your hand, gently take food, and she soaked up the attention. Holly is unique because she likes people while most zebras do not. I admit I felt the urge to take her home with me!
While we were waiting Ellie took the time to bottle feed some of the goats and llamas and “talk” to the chickens. She kept telling us the chickens running around were her Papa Clyde’s chickens, and she had to take them back to his house because he would miss them. Can ya tell the child is well engulfed in the farm life? lol
I watched her as she would stop at each chicken, give them some corn, and attempt to cluck back. She had herself a full clucking conversation with one particular chicken! You will find those photos in the gallery below.
Once the safari began Ellie was mesmerized by the animals grazing in the pastures. She loved all the animals, but she attached herself pretty quickly to the Scottish Highlander. When we got home she called Papa Clyde and asked him to buy her one for his pasture! That child is something else!
Once the safari ride was over we explored the park and fed the various animals. Ellie had a blast, but she got a little cranky towards the end of the walk. We took a break to have a picnic lunch and visit the gift shop before making one more trip by the big cats and stopping at the Amphitheatre for a small show where Ellie got to pet and feed baby deer, a ball python, and a baby ‘possum. Afterwards we loaded up, and she was asleep before we pulled out of the parking lot! We all had a great time and can’t wait to go back during the Holiday Lights Safari Benefit.
Unfortunately my camera bit the bullet a couple weeks ago, so I was stuck using my cell phone camera to take photos. I took a ton, but only a few were worth sharing. My mother-in-law had camera in hand the entire time, so I can’t wait to see what photos she got.