My 7 year old daughter and I took a trip to the Exotic Zoo Resort. This place was very easy to find. It was just off Hwy 281, just north of Johnson City.
These comments are from my daughter:
This place has lots of animals that you can feed. Our tour guide was Tammy, and she told us that there were over 500 animals on the property, including the geese and other birds. Tammy took us on a tour in a wagon pulled by a tractor, and she told us facts along the way about each of the animals we saw. You could hand feed every single animal there (you could not feed the birds and zebras by hand because they bite). We saw zebras, ostriches, Scottish cows, goats, llamas, bison, emus, rheas (a type of bird), a bunch of different types of deer, kangaroos, yaks, camels, tortoises, and sheep.
When we arrived, we met a customer who had stayed at the resort , and he suggested that we buy 2 buckets of feed because they had run out of feed in the middle of the tour. So, we bought two buckets ($6 each), two for me, and none for my mom. My mom also bought me a mini-scope (like binoculars) and a whistle made from the tip of a deer antler.
We had a little time before the tour started, so we walked to the back area of the store. On our way to the petting zoo area, we saw some baby rheas in the back room. I thought the baby rheas were super cute.
We then walked to the very back area, where the petting zoo was. It was a big area with lots of animals. I was one of the only people there, so I was very popular with the animals. I thought the petting zoo was very fun because I could feed and pet lots of animals. The small llama was my favorite and my second was the kangaroo. My mom’s favorite was the baby white goats and the Scottish cow.
Finally, it was time for the tour. The tour was great because I could pet and feed a lot of animals. The best place to sit in the wagon is in the back, towards the left side (looking forward). The tour does get a bit dusty, so plan for it. For cows and bison, this is how you feed them – you take a handful of feed and put your hand above their face. The cow/bison will look up and stick its tongue out and you just drop the food in its mouth. Tip: Get an empty cup from the store so you can dump the food more easily in their mouths. Next, we saw the ostriches. The ostriches were 9 feet tall, and when I was trying to feed one of the males, he tried to take the entire bucket o from my hands, and I had to pull it back from the ostrich’s grasp. This also happened when my mom fed the ostrich. We learned that the best way to feed an ostrich is to tilt the bucket towards the ostrich, so he can peck at the food easily.
I still had about ½ bucket of feed by the end of the tour, which I used at the petting zoo. The animals were very excited at the sight of food!
The petting zoo area was dusty and “goat poopy”. So, don’t wear sandals unless you aren’t bothered by such things . They have picnic areas in the back, but be careful because the goats jump on the tables. There is also a large picnic area in the front – reserved for birthday parties.
Just before we had lunch, my mom noticed three tortoises next to the petting zoo area. At the very back of the picnic area, we also saw some ponies. And, there was also a very hungry, handsome camel, which we fed.
This is a wonderful place to visit with your children. We picked a nice day to go with beautiful spring weather welcoming us. The place was not busy at all on this Monday after Easter. The highlight of my day was seeing the zebras and bison. I also enjoyed seeing the animals galloping towards the wagon, especially the llamas. We spent about 3 hours there, including a picnic lunch. The picnic area also included a swing set that my daughter enjoyed.
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