Betsy has lived all around the world…Liberia, the Philippines, Nigeria, Indonesia, the UK. She has done all sorts of great things like visited remote villages in West Timor, gone on safari in South Africa, hung out with orangutans in Indonesia, and laid out on the beaches of Bali. But there is one thing that Betsy has always wanted to do, and it took her all this time and a trip down Interstate 81 to near Roanoke, Virginia to finally do it — that is hand feed giraffes of course!!
In Natural Bridge, Virginia, there is a place called Virginia Safari Park
. It is about 75 minutes from Charlottesville, just north of Roanoke right off of I-81. It costs $14 per adult, and there is some pretty neat stuff to do there. The main attraction is to buy animal feed from the front gate and drive through their 180 acre park. When you drive through the park there are animals EVERYWHERE! There are tons of different types of deer, moose, pot-bellied pigs, zebras, ostriches,
emus, camels, llamas, buffalo, and more. As you drive through you stop and hold buckets of feed out the window and the animals come right up to you and eat! In fact, sometimes they come all the way into your car (Betsy got surprised by a very hungry zebra).
After we drove around (it took at least 45 minutes, maybe longer), we parked the car and walked through the Safari Village. This is a walking tour that is especially well suited for the kiddies. There are goats, really big tortoises, monkeys, birds, and a warthog. The kids can hand feed some of the animals like the goats. But the main attraction is at the end of the walking tour, the giraffe feeding station. There are four giraffes, two parents and two babies, in a large field. You can stand up on a large platform about 15 feet in the air and if one of the giraffes comes over you can feed it. The problem is that the giraffes are perfectly content chewing on the grass in the field. We waited up on the stand for about 30 minutes, and finally “Katie” the giraffe came up to us and let us feed her some millet. By the way, Betsy thinks every giraffe is named Katie. She was a beautiful giraffe, and very shy, but she got up the courage to come up to us. Betsy hand fed her 3 times! We stood right next to her. I think she liked the attention because after she was done eating she stuck her head over the fence and looked at all the people in the park.