While we were in Lakeland we paid a visit to the Giraffe Farm Tours in Dade City, FL. Don’t let the name fool you – there were tons of animals there and I’d say the giraffe were actually in the minority. But there were about 5 or so and it was one of the most interesting days I’ve had in a long time. I highly recommend this tour – if you can get a Groupon for it; but if not it’s still worth the money as the proceeds are going to feed the animals and support those that take care of them.
We paid extra and started our tour with a camel ride. It was supposed to be $20 for about 10 minutes and I doubt we really did 10 minutes but it was really different and fun so well worth the money. Also much less here than they wanted in Cairo and that was just to sit on or stand by the camel to take a picture with your own camera. Here I felt much safer and enjoyed the caravan type ride around the yard on the camel. My camel was named Abdul (I think) and Katherine’s was named Dufas. They were a bit stinky but really very sweet animals.
After this we had a 10-15 minute information session about giraffes given by our hosts. They showed us some bones and explained horns, antlers and those knobs on the top of the giraffes head called ossicones and what they are for and made of. Then we went into a pen where some people had paid to feed grapes to the lemurs. In that area where tortoises, budgies, monkeys and other animals to observe if you weren’t doing the feeding. After the education we went to the first animal pens were some people had paid extra to feed the Lemurs. In that pen were also chickens, ducks, monkeys, a tortoise and misc. birds. Once the feeding was over and we got some more information about free range chickens and eggs we went to the safari vehicles and loaded up.
Off we went into the prairie to see the zebra, donkeys, gazelle, hippos, deer, wart hogs, red pigs, ostrich and of course the giraffe. We were given information about the property, the animals and their acquisition, health and feeding. We were then given some live oak branches with leaves and cabbage to feed the giraffes. By hold the branches out very still these beautiful graceful animals came to us to eat their meal. Their long black tongues came out of their mouths and they ate all the leaves we had to offer them. There were majestic and so was the experience.
There were 3 that approached the truck while the others hung back being shy. The were quiet and gentle though so tall. A peaceful feeling enveloped the crowd as they feed and when it was over I think everyone was really glad they had come.
We left at the end of the day feeling stress-free and happy. It was really a fabulous experience for both of us and the pictures can’t do it justice. If you’re in the area take this tour. You won’t be sorry.