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Friday, May 6, 2011

animal encounters

Two weeks ago today, we spent the day at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.  (Actually, we spent two days, but I'll explain that in another post).  I was surprised to find that, like Busch Gardens Tampa, Virginia's park also plays hosts to many different animals.  And, here I thought we were just going to go on some rides.

In an upper corner of the park, one walks through a "nature preserve" (more of a zoo), which houses birds, wolves, and various other animals.  There's an aviary in which you can hold or feed the birds and several animal shows as well.

Upon entering the Aviary, Alex had an opportunity to hold this little guy. 

One of Busch Gardens Williamsburg's best kept secrets is that they offer affordable (enough) behind-the-scenes tours.  While planning our trip, I had stumbled across some $200 per person tours in the theme park, so I automatically assumed that all the tours would be outside our budget.  On the contrary, the park offers animal tours at approximately $20 a head. 

Three types of tours are given throughout the day: Animal Encounters, Farm Animals, and Wolf Training.  We chose to take the Animal Encounter tour because we had already missed the daily wolf tours. 

We had a fabulous time.  Participants are taken on a behind the scenes tour of Busch Gardens' animal outreach program.  We were shown animals that are not typically on display in Busch Gardens Williamsburg, but who reside at the park for educational and/or rehabilitative purposes.  The animal handlers are incredibly knowledgeable about the park, its animals, and its mission.  The ladies who gave our tour were friendly and patient, willing to take as long as needed so that everyone could have their "animal time." 

As each animal was brought out and displayed, we learned facts about the species, threats to its survival, as well as the back stories of the individual animals.  For instance, we learned that their possum was one of two that had been rescued from a pouch when their mother became roadkill.  The two babies were taken to BGW and were raised there.  At the end of each animal's presentation, the children were allowed to go up to hold the animal, or touch it if it was especially large, and have a picture taken.  Private photos were allowed, as well, but BGW had a photographer on duty for anyone who wished to purchase photos at $10 a pop.  I declined and took my own. 

The smallest arm this parrot has perched upon

Oscar the Alligator with Alex and Katie


  1. Oh wow, that's really cool. I've been there several times but didn't know about this!

  2. Looks like fun. Thanks for sharing:-)

  3. I love Busch Gardens - what great pics you shared!

    I'm a new follower from Follow Me Friday. I hope you'll join me at Create With Joy!



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