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Wildlife Safari Park in Winston, Oregon

I have been an animal lover since I was about five years old. From 1972, the first year the Wildlife Safari opened, I have been a huge fan.

Wildlife Safari park is a 600 acre home to many endangered species.

Wildlife Safari park is a 600 acre home to many endangered species.

What is the Wildlife Safari Park?

Frank Hart was a man who dreamt of creating a facility in the Pacific Northwest to house rare and endangered species from all around the world. Hart's idea came to fruition in 1972, when he opened the Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon. Now, almost 50 years later, the 600 acre park is a non-profit, internationally known space, dedicated to the education of visitors and the conservation of species. It has enough room to allow animals the freedom of movement in a natural habitat.

Since the opening of the Wildlife Safari, the park has remained the only drive through animal conservation space in the state of Oregon. There are over 600 animals living in the park, from all around the globe. The park is nestled in the breathtaking hills of southern Oregon, and as if that wasn't enough visually, visitors have an opportunity for an educational look at some of the rarest, endangered, and all-around awesome animals on the planet. Wildlife Safari provides an experience beyond any zoo visit, leaving the annual 200,000 visitors a memory that won't soon be forgotten.

The park is also internationally known as the number two cheetah breeding facilities, falling only behind Africa. Internships are offered each year through the international veterinary program the park offers. Hundreds of young students are educated about the animals who reside on the property, and many high school students attend ecology, mathematics, and English classes on-site.

Wildlife Safari hosts all of this as a non-profit and self-funded park. Through generous assistance from volunteers, donations, online ticket sales, event sales, purchases of merchandise, and even membership ticket sales, the park can provide the best care available for these animals and protect them from extinction. The park receives no tax funding, but they still work hard to maintain the highest standards in the zoological community through accreditation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). This designation is boasted by fewer than 10% of the country.

How Can I Find the Wildlife Safari Park?

Chilean Flamingos

The plumage of the Chilean Flamingo is more pink in color than the Greater Flamingo. The difference between the two species can be qualified by the pinkish coloring, but also the grayish legs with pink joints.

Bills of the Chilean Flamingo are more than half black, while the piece by the nostrils are white. Young Chilean Flamingos are gray, with no sign of pink until they receive their adult plumage.

Closely related to the American Flamingo and the Greater Flamingo, the species of Chilean Flamingos are listed as "Near Threatened" by the IUCN. Breeding in South America, from Brazil to Argentina, Chile to Peru, and to Ecuador, the species has also been introduced into the Netherlands. As with other flamingos, the Chilean Flamingo will lay a single chalky-white egg on the top of a mound made of mud.

Chilean Flamingos have comb-like structures to filter through plankton and algae from the estuaries, salt lakes, lagoons, and coastal mudflats where they reside.

In 1958, the first Chilean Flamingo was hatched in the Switzerland Zoo Basel. That same year, a Chilean Flamingo living in the Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City, Utah was overlooked for his routine wing clipping. The flamingo made an escape and became well known around the area. He was dubbed "Pink Floyd" and managed to live off the brine shrimp in the Great Salt Lake, but during the summer months, Pink Floyd traveled to Idaho and Montana. Pink Floyd became a tourist icon up until his disappearance, and probable death in 2005, on his way to Idaho. He was never seen again.

America's Most Successful Cheetah Breeding Center at Wildlife Safari

To date, 235 cheetah's have been born at the Wildlife Safari park in Winston Oregon. The breeding program for cheetah's started in 1972. In 1973, the first litter of cheetah's arrived.

Wildlife Safari's breeding program for cheetah's has made its way up into the second place position internationally, second only to Africa. The program is the top breeding program in the western hemisphere. Cubs born in the park have been sent to zoos across the United States, to hopefully ensure these beautiful large cats stay safe.

Cheetah's are known as the world's fastest animal, but they do take flight when frightened. Because of this fact, farmers in Botswana have been training dogs to chase away the large kitties to protect their livestock. In return, it saves the lives of the cattle and other farm animals, but also saves the lives of the cheetahs. Farmers do not have to kill the cheetahs because of their attacks on the livestock. The Cheetah Conservation Botswana has become one of Wildlife Safari's permanent conservation recipients of the cubs bred in the park.

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Cheetahs can run up to 70 miles per hour for shorter sprinting periods of about three seconds. They can get up to 60 miles per hour, and achieve that speed from zero to 60 in three seconds. The cats have large chest cavities for large lungs and hearts. Cheetahs also have a flexible spine that can extend and stretch as the animal runs. The cheetah's hind legs operate separately rather than together as other animals. This creates the ability to have all four feet in the air at once during their run, giving the appearance of being in flight. The tail of the cheetah serves as both rudder and brake during high speed pursuits. The flexibility of the spine can help with braking should the need arise, along with allowing faster speeds as well.

The cheetah species is considered to be in the "vulnerable" classification when it comes to the specie's existence, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. There are less than 10,000 individual cats in Africa, their native land. Namibia is home to about 3,000 of those cats, and Iran has less than 100 cheetahs left in existence, according to the Wildlife Safari's records, however, National Geographic has the cats listed as less than 7,000 remaining in the wild. The animals are disappearing due to the loss of their habitat, poaching, and farmers having to kill the animals to protect their livestock.

The average cheetah can weigh from 77 pounds to 143 pounds typically. The cats do not "roar," but are known to purr. Cheetah's coats can vary, depending on their environment. The open grasslands of Africa are the favorite home to these beautiful cats. Asiatic cheetahs, only found in Iran, are critically endangered with approximately 100 left alive. Cheetahs surviving in desert regions are found to be smaller, with pale coats, while some cheetahs in southern Africa have a genetic mutation that gives the cats spots and larger stripes. In Kenya, several spotless cheetahs have been reported.

Prices for Entry, Events, and Rentals

Admission times for entry into the Wildlife Safari park are as follows:

  • October 9 through November 7 ... 9AM to 5PM, with the last car being admitted at 4PM.
  • November 8 through March 10 ... 9AM to 4PM, with the last car being admitted at 4PM.
  • March 11 through October 8 ... 9AM to 6PM, with the last car being admitted at 6PM.

Restrictions for the park:

No open top vehicles. The top of all vehicles must remain closed at all times.

No motorcycles allowed through the park.

No dogs are allowed in the drive-through park area or the free village area. The park has kennels for your pet that are free of charge, however, if a lock is purchased in the gift shop/office, there is a $5 fee.

Prices:

Adults, ages 13-59 ticket is $23.95

Children, ages 3 through 12 is $17.95

Seniors, ages 60 + is $20.95

These prices are for today, June 30, 2022. Prices may change and should be validated through the Wildlife Safari park website before traveling to the park.

Other Options for a Day at Wildlife Safari

Fish food may be purchased through the office in the gift shop to feed the koi. Be sure to feed the fish before the ducks realize you have food! Otherwise, they may steal it from you!

The Wells Fargo Australian Walkabout is free of charge. Visit the wallaby's and experience the aviary to see various types of birds. Make a stop outside the walkabout to experience the kookaburra. Aviary bird sticks are available for $1 each. Check the website before heading out to the park to ensure the aviary is open for the day.

Children love to meet the chicken, feed the goats and pet the donkey inside the Wildlife Safari Children's Petting Zoo. Entry is free. Feed is available for 50 cents to feed the goats.

Enjoy lunch at the Safari Grill. Hamburgers, hot dogs, onion rings, salads and more are available. You can enjoy lunch in the restaurant or outside at the picnic tables.

The Safari Gift Shop is filled with stuffed animals, t-shirts, hats, rocks, and other toys. The gift shop is a great place to shop around, and purchase those extra event adventures you want to go on.

Take a camel ride! Visit the camel area in the free village and grab a ride on the camel. The cost is $10 per person. Pictures are available as well.

Even cheetahs need a break! The cheetahs are viewed inside the free village, but are given the chance to run outside and use those muscles. If you don't see the cheetah behind the fence on your tour in the village, they are out roaming the hills in their outdoor pen. You can still see them during the drive through portion of the tour.

After the tour, be sure to stop in to the gift shop and ask about birthday party rentals through the Wildlife Safari Park. Have a large group coming into town? Ask the staff about the space rental dates and prices.

Want to get up close and personal with the cheetahs? Call Guest Services at 541-679-6761, or send an email to guestservices@wildlifesafari.net. Learn all about the second best breeding program on earth, meet the cheetahs and even take photos with them! No fences!

Or, take a stroll with an ambassador cheetah! You will get the closest you can get to these beautiful, lean cats. Hear them purr and see how incredibly beautiful they are up close and personal! The adventure includes one 8 X 10 photograph of you and the cheetah. For more information, contact guestservices@wildlifesafari.net or call 541-679-6761.

Booking ahead for any encounter is advised. Always arrive 30 minutes prior to the arrival time scheduled for the encounter to ensure you get a ride to your event. The park does offer bus or open air rides to the encounter. Because of this, a drive through park entry admission fee is required before signing up for the events.

Explore the possibility of camps and classes to educate students on the conservation and the basics of the animals available at the park. This will give your student a hands on experience to learn why conservation and these animals are so valuable to mankind. Contact the staff in the gift shop to learn more about signing your student up for an overnight visit, or a day camp.

No one will protect what they don't care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced. -- Sir David Attenborough

Conclusion

These are not all the animals inside the Wildlife Safari park, but it gives you an overview of what is one of the most humbling, beautiful, educational experiences a visitor could have. There is a children's petting zoo, filled with opportunities for young people to pet, feed, and learn about miniature horses, pigs, goats, and other smaller animals.

Walking around the free village area gives visitors an insight into birds such as the ducks, an ostrich or two, parakeets or budgies, flamingos, an eagle, cockatiels, and the laughing Kookaburra.

Continuing along the path through the village, there are alligators, and the Royal Ball Python, western pond turtles and more. Take a moment to sit on a bench under a shade tree and take in the breathtaking sights of the rolling hills and forested areas that reside in and surround the park. Eat some lunch in the Safari Cafe, and then head out to any events you may have planned.

See elephants up close, as they paint pictures for you with their trunks. Visit the lion and lioness enclosure, and snag a portrait that a lioness artfully crafts for you. Climb into the open air vehicle to ride out to the giraffes and see them up close as they eat lettuce out of your hand. Don't forget to ride the camel!