The Drive Though Circus

Yesterday while searching through old photographs, I found some pictures of a trip to the Lazy Five Ranch in Mooresville, NC. Otherwise known as…..”the drive through petting zoo“.

The website describes your adventure this way, “The Lazy 5 Ranch is a privately owned exotic animal drive thru park that offers a 3.5 mile safari through the gently sloping pasture lands of Piedmont, North Carolina. While visiting the Lazy 5 Ranch you will have the opportunity to view over 750 animals from six different continents.”

It was about 6 years ago when my two friends and i packed up our children(6 in all) and headed up north one very warm, spring morning.  Everyone should experience the L5R, at least once. Though you may want to do it a bit differently than i did.

You have two different options in how you can tour the ranch . You can purchase a horse-drawn open wagon ticket, or you can traverse the paths in your own vehicle. Neither of us having been there previously, opted for the latter of the two. My friend graciously offered up her mini van so that we could all go together. I feel it’s only fair to tell you that….the car that gets selected to take you through the zoo needs to have all of the honor and ceremony due to a sacrificial lamb. Because, in the end…that is what it becomes.

We purchased large food buckets filled with small pellets for each child, and drove under the grand horse shoe arch that symbolized the beginning of our journey.  We had the windows rolled down, both van doors open, and were ready to feed some animals.

*taken from the web site*

It began calmly enough. My two friend’s in the front seats, and myself behind  in a captain’s chair  with four children under 6 years old vying for space on the floor where we took out the other seat.

We first saw some pigs, and then spotted a couple of piglets by the side of the road. They were very cute.

There were  a few emu’s wandering around as we creeped along. I had one child in my lap who was holding a bucket waiting for a chance to feed some animals. All of a sudden, a long neck with a small head, beady eyes, and pointed beak wrapped around the van door over my right shoulder and stared me down eye to eye. It scared me to death.

A second later, it snatched the little girls bucket out of her hands and took off.  My mothering instinct kicked in as i set the 4-year-old down, and jumped out of the van to retrieve her food. I was out in the wild for about 30 seconds before my survival instinct took over and trumped my need to make a child happy. In the end, i opted for the “security” of the van.

As we strolled further along,  i just happened to look behind us, and saw more ostriches running vigorously up to us from behind. I felt like i was in the movie Jurassic Park being chased by the  velociraptors. It’s not that big of a stretch really……

Two of the ostriches stuck their heads in the van on my side and began fiercely forging for more buckets. Children were screaming and spilling food all over the place. Then all of the sudden, i was getting peppered with food pellets from the seat in front of me.  My friend  began tossing food over her shoulder onto me now that there were no children in my lap.  I was laughing as hard as i was screaming for my other friend to save me from becoming a food tray for the ‘raptors’ and to step on the gas. i wanted her to get me out of this horrific section of birds.

We then went to feed the giraffes, which I thought was very fun.  Although my children had a different view of it.

Once we finished our safari, we parked the van and went to have lunch. We decided to leave the windows down to allow some ventilation into the vehicle. Big mistake.

As my friend drove home, she took at least 3,000 flies from the ranch with her because of the food that littered her floor. She said it was like something out of a horror movie. They had to stop and vacuum out their car for at least 30 minutes. As she was sucking up pellets, she would stick the nozzle of the vacuum into the air and swirl it around trying to suck up the flies as well.

my thoughts exactly, little one. Most of the trip felt  less like a zoo and more like a circus.

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