Why do I love Bayou Wildlife Park so much? You can get really, really close to some of my favorite animals:
|iPhone? I can haz?|
I love ostriches and emus, and this ostrich was pretty interested in me as well. I think he thought my phone was a snack I was failing to share!
The park is basically a private zoo / wildlife preserve. When you pay for admission at the front gate, you can also purchase buckets of food. When we went last time, we were accosted by emus as soon as we pulled through the gate: they just walked right up to the car because they knew what we had in there! We stopped and rolled down the windows, and soon emu heads were darting in and out of the car windows, emptying our bucket as fast as they could! This time we didn't have an emu welcoming committee, but by the time we got to the parking area there were a few assorted beasts waiting for handouts.
There are some animals housed near the parking area (like this ostrich) who you can interact with over a fence, plus a petting zoo area with goats and pigs. The giraffe enclosure is by the petting zoo, but the giraffes weren't interested in us. We were told they don't eat the food you can buy at the gate, so I guess that's why. There were some deer just wandering in the picnic area, though, and they were happy to walk right up to you for a handout and a scratch behind the antlers. Touching (most of) the animals is allowed, but they caution against holding onto any animal, especially by the horns.
The highlight of the visit is the tram ride through the park. It takes about 40 minutes, and you want to be sure to still have plenty of food in your bucket, because the animals come right up to the tram for a snack. Animals you'd never expect to do this, like ...
Camels! They had both one-hump and two hump varieties, but the two-humper went to the other side of the tram and I didn't get a good picture of her.
And buffalo! Around the time I was taking this shot, there was a Watusi bull on the other side, with a horn-span wider than the opening in the tram! His horns kept banging on the sides.
And a zonkey! (Because who ever expects to see a zonkey, anyhow?) She was really sweet. I'd love to have my very own zonkey! There were lots of other animals too, some of them endangered. Not all are willing to approach the tram, and some (like the rhino) are kept fenced off because they are more dangerous. I think many of the animals were born at the park, and there are no predators in the mix, which probably helps with their placid demeanor.
Anyhow, I had a blast, and I want to go back soon. I have a lot more photos that I haven't had time to edit yet, but as I get to them, I will put them in my Bayou Wildlife Park flickr set. Incidentally, all these photos were taken with my iPhone, and post-processed in-phone with an application called PictureShow. Here are a few more shots:
|Emu (black swan in the background)|