I’ll put this as simply and bluntly as I can. If you have kids who enjoy animals and you pass through Louisiana without taking them to the Global Wildlife Center then you are an abusive parent who deserves to have your children taken away from you and raised by Republicans. Okay, so no kid deserves that fate, but I am serious: if you have a kid who loves animals then you really need to take them to the Global Wildlife Center in Folsom, Louisiana.
My wife and I took our youngest son to the Global Wildlife Center for his birthday and I must say it was one incredible success. The Global Wildlife Center is essentially a massive savanna on which animals roam freely. This is not a zoo and you won’t find a cage anywhere. There are essentially two ways to visit the Global Wildlife Center and we took the better one; a private tour with a bag filled with corn.
My wife and our two kids got in the jeep that was being driven by Erica. Erica is a nice young lady with more ambition than you’d find in an entire dormitory at FSU who makes the people who work at Disney’s Animal Kingdom safari tours look like Brit Hume; actors rather than professionals. (Interestingly enough, Erica is also the favorite employee of an exotic bird there that was as expressive as Bruce Willis when Erica was out of the room and suddenly became as animated and talkative as Sarah Palin when Erica appeared. You might also like to know that the parrot has a far more extensive vocabulary than Palin!) Erica not only knew the animals well enough to give us all the pertinent information on species and behavior that you might expect, but she knew the animals by name. She could actually tell us the specific behavioral qualities of individual animals. Try getting that at Animal Kingdom.
As soon as we pulled out we saw majestic giraffes off in the distance. At the sight of our jeep pulling away those animals were galloping with all the beauty of Gale Sayers breaking tackles and using blocks to hit paydirt. Soon they were upon us and sticking their heads into the jeep from which we fed them corn from a plastic cup. Open up those pictures up there next to name and you will see for yourself just close to you the animals at the Global Wildlife Center get. Even when you get the chance to feed the giraffes at a zoo, you don’t get this close.
They say camels spit more than Sparky Lyle in the bullpen, but the two camels who stuck their heads into the jeep were as polite Jim Palmer giving out free autographs. There was a shaggy camel as well, but the photo of the other camel that I have included (if you would be so kind as to take a look) reminded me of one of the camels that sing “We Three Kings” in a Claymation Christmas. I half expected him and the shaggy camel to burst into Christmas songs as we fed them corn right out of our hand.
My favorite animal right now and for the past few years is the American bison. That animal is just such an amazing creature that it managed to shove my former favorite animal, the penguin, right out of first place. Much to my surprise the Global Wildlife Center had some bison on hand and though conservatives would probably be offended by the interspecies mingling with longhorn steers, I think normal people would be equally amazed at the chance for their kids to actually pet one of the inspiring animals. Look at that picture and take special notice of the intelligence that you can see in that eye.
Near the end of the tour I made great friends with a llama. While the usual case was a murder of animals coming up behind the jeep, apparently this llama was their king. Giving him plenty of space, even those jerk zebras, I had him to my own for about five minutes. He ate from my cup and allowed me to pet him; I never knew just how soft a llama is. What I’m trying to say is that I now desperately want to own a llama as a pet.
A private tour, which is not nearly as expensive as it might sound, at the Global Wildlife Center is guaranteed to thrill you and the kids. In addition to giraffes, bison, and camels there are also more deer than you’d find at a rest home on family visit day as well as zebras, exotic birds, and kangaroos. Just make sure you shell out for the corn because half the fun is feeding these incredibly friendly animals. I rarely write an absolutely glowing review of anything, but our experience at the Global Wildlife Center was perfect and exceeded every expectation we had.
Visit the Global Wildlife Center web site here.