Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lions, and Tigers, and Bears, Oh My!

I am a huge fan of random, unplanned day trips.  Nothing fancy-just exploring a new place and hanging out with my hubby is guaranteed to leave me very happy. 

Yesterday, we drove 50 miles west of Seattle to Sequim, WA.  A short ride across the Puget Sound on the Edmonds Ferry, followed by a nice drive through trees, charming towns (Port Gamble), and alongside the Olympic Mountains took us to this town we've heard so much about. 

To be honest, I wasn't immediately impressed. Sure, it's nice, but what sets it apart from all of the other towns in that area?  After exploring for a bit, I began to find this picturesque town quite enjoyable.  The town is simple, but the views are the exact opposite of simple. One side is bordered by the Olympic Mountains, while the other is water and beaches. 

But then we found something truly awesome in the little town of Sequim.

Olympic Game Farm. 

This place is amazing. We actually had to sign a form acknowledging that we understood the risks. The rules are simple. Stay in the car. Only feed the animals bread. Don't feed the caged animals. 

The caged animals include Kodiak Bears, Black Bears, Siberian Tigers, African Lions, Timber Wolves, and Cougars. 

The free range animals include Zebras, Llamas, and Tibetan Yaks, not to mention the hundreds of rabbits that roam the farm, along with peacocks at every turn. 

The above picture is a view of the farm.  Out the window to my right were Prairie Dogs and Eagles in the trees. 

This peacock came right up to my door.  During high school, my family temporarily had a peacock, so I always have a certain affinity for them.

This pesky Llama ran along side our van just begging us for food (don't forget that llamas can weigh up to 500 pounds and reach 6 feet in length).  If I would have had the window rolled down, he would have snatched the bread out of my hands and would probably have scared Nate, who was sitting on my lap, basically in awe of the dozen or so animals running up to our van.  Never in my life have I been so close to Llamas, Yaks, or Zebras. 

This Yak looked a little bummed when we drove over the cattle guard and took the rest of the bread with us. 

And the bears! The bears were amazing. I've seen bears at the zoo, but usually they are huddled somewhere and are barely visible. Or they are asleep.  I don't know how many times I've seen a pile of fur hidden behind some rock or tree.  The fur is moving up and down, but it usually isn't very exciting. 

This time was different. We drove alongside Kodiak Bears (reaching 9 feet in height and 1800 pounds), as well as Black Bears (6 feet in height and 350 pounds) and were literally feet from them. Since Nate was able to sit on my lap during the drive through the farm, he got a really good look at them.  The bears were massive! We kept wondering how easy it would be for them to hop the fence, but instead decided not to focus on it too much. 

These Buffalo may not look too menacing, but in reality, they are ginormous (length 9 feet, height 5 feet, and 2,500 pounds!). We were told that a group of military guys drove through this section and their vehicle was surrounded by these humongous monsters.  Within minutes, the strong, brave military guys were crying and screaming for help. And I don't blame them! 

Even in our mini-van, I had no doubt that they could do some considerable damage to it if they got angry, not to mention the fact that they could probably puncture a hole straight through the van door and into my leg.

Luckily, they kept their distance and didn't venture onto the roads while we were driving through.  

My husband found a cool article about this gem of a farm (can you even call a place with Lions, and Tigers, and Bears a farm?).  It was first developed in the 1950's.  During the 50's and 60's, they worked exclusively with Walt Disney Studios.  All of Roy and Walt Disney's animal actors remained and were cared for here. In 1972 (after Walt and Roy's death, and ultimately the demise of Disney's nature films), they opened to the public, allowing visitors to drive through the farm (usually taking about 45 minutes), but only after signing a waiver acknowledging all risks involved, and swearing not to open any vehicle doors or exit the car at any point during the drive (you better use the restroom beforehand).  

Sound exciting enough for you? You can read more about them here.  If you are planning on visiting Washington any time soon, I highly recommend making the drive to Olympic Game Farm. It's an awesome experience unlike any zoo is able to offer. 

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Olympic Game Farm. They have no knowledge of this post. The above opinions are purely mine. 


  1. We went there a few years ago. I got some incredible photos of the brown bears and a elk licked my husband's face! One of my favorite places to go.

  2. I remember going there as a kid years ago when we lived in Washington. I have always wanted to go back. Hopefully when Steven gets some vacay and we head that way we can all go!

  3. Hi there! I'm following you from Twitter Hop Thursday. I would love a follow back :)

    Thanks, Misty
    Misty's Thoughts Too

  4. Stopping in from Twitter Thurs. : )

  5. great pics! Im coming from the twitter hop.. would love a follow back thanks!