“You are captive, they roam free,” says a sign skirting the road leading to Wildlife Safari in Southern Oregon. It’s the first indicator that the park you are about to enter is unlike any zoo or menagerie you’ve ever visited before.
Three hours south of Vancouver, in the lush hills outside Winston, Oregon, giraffes, rhinoceroses, zebras, bison, elk, and ostriches roam free throughout the only drive-through park or zoo between Portland, Oregon and Sacramento, California. Additional species such as lions, cheetahs, tigers, bears, primates, and elephants live within cleverly designed and amazingly authentic enclosures, designed to give both animal and human a wild-like experience. Here, as in places such as Yellowstone National Park, it’s apparent that we are guests in these majestic animals’ home, rather than the other way around. This environment gives families, and children especially, a unique opportunity to gain a special respect and appreciation for wildlife in their natural habitat.