The Wilds: Gonna Take Some Time to do the Things We Never Had

Are you ready for a wild adventure, overdue for exotic sights and thrilling, up-close encounters? Is it time for your first safari, but the vacation time and funds needed to travel to Africa are just slightly out of reach? Consider a visit to The Wilds, in Cumberland, Ohio. Yes, Ohio!

“The Wilds is a private, non-profit safari park and conservation center that combines cutting-edge conservation science and education programs with hands-on experiences and one-of-a-kind adventures” (The Wilds – Wikipedia)

Yep – that snapshot sums it up pretty well, but hardly captures the experience! I’m confident that we can do better than that, and paint a more vivid picture, with the help of Toto! (Toto: Africa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTQbiNvZqaY )

I hear the drums echoing tonight
But she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation

The Wilds 2018 (44 of 92)

A dozen or so city folk piled into a transport that resembled an elongated jeep. We had 3 hours of exploration ahead of us, our cameras (mostly attached to our cellular phones) were at the ready, and the day is blessed with long stretches of green grass and puffy white clouds, against a blue sky. There had been threats of rain, but it looked like a dry day. The temperatures were below normal, for a Midwestern August day. We’d left the umbrellas behind, and were excited for a day with the animals.

I stopped an old man along the way
Hoping to find some long forgotten words or ancient melodies
He turned to me as if to say, “Hurry boy, it’s waiting there for you”

The Wilds 2018 (52 of 92)

The Wilds 2018 (57 of 92)

The landscape was taken over by bison, as soon as we started our tour. They were putting on a show, with young calves jumping, posturing and playing, stomping the earth, rearing their heads, and seeming to glance over, to make sure we were watching. But this wasn’t a circus, or even a zoo, but a focused effort to showcase a majestic species. The tour guide let us know that most visitors only see the bison at a distance, and we were lucky to see them up close, putting on a bit of a display.

Just a little further along, our vehicle came to a halt, so we could get a good look at Struthio camelus, the largest bird in the world! “They are omnivores and eat plants, roots, and seeds but will also eat insects, lizards and other small animals they can chase down,” the brochure explains. Getting up to speeds of 43 mph, the Ostrich could have chased down our transport. But instead, he just meandered over, curious about the creatures hanging out of the vehicle. I’m sure there has been at least a handful of cell phones dropped, extended out, to capture a selfie.

The Wilds 2018 (13 of 92)The Wilds 2018 (16 of 92)

I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

There’s a checklist of over 25 species we might see during our visit – from antelope to amphibians, birds to wild horses, and camels to wild cattle. Colorful photos are accompanied by descriptions of the animals, their behaviors, population, geographic range and telltale markings. Zebra are easy to spot, as well as cheetah and giraffe. Someone in the group is checking them off, but I’ve lost count! The cloudy skies and cooler temperatures have brought everyone out to play.

The four categories of antelope were a bit more challenging to identify: Common Eland ( Taurotragus Oryx), Fringe-eared Oryx (Oryx Gazella Callotis), Sable Antelope (Hippotragus Niger Niger), and Scimitar-Hornec oryx (Oryx Dammah). We were lucky enough to see all four, including species that have been extinct in the wild for several decades. I couldn’t tell you which is which, but our tour guide did!

Perhaps it’s part of the price of admission, but our tour guide made us feel like our tour was exceptional, something quite special. We were glad that we took seats that were spread out throughout the vehicle, to make it onto the 10 am tour, rather than wait another half hour, just to sit next to one another. The most memorable moments didn’t happen while we were seated, anyhow, but while we were up on our feet, snapping photos, the vehicle stopped, so we could enjoy the show.

The Wilds 2018 (29 of 92)

The wild dogs cry out in the night
As they grow restless, longing for some solitary company

I know that I must do what’s right
As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti

As we pulled into carnivore territory, through a Jurassic Park-style metal gate, there was intense animal energy surging through the air. The Cheetahs were alert, pacing along their fence line, slowly making their presence known to us, before retiring to a shady spot, at the base of a tall tree. The day was getting hotter, and the animals had a lot of room to roam, which meant large areas of open sunshine.

Across the way, the African Painted Dogs (Lycan Pictus) were chasing each others’ tails, like. . . well, like dogs. There were several pups, young and spirited. They ran, splashing, through the watering hole that was in their enclosure. They ran, with abandon, across the grass, landing in a tangled pile, where they would wrestle for a moment, then start the whole thing over again.

By the time our group was headed back to the vehicle, and the next group of visitors were arriving, the African Dogs were spent, curled up and sleeping in a big pile – not much for the next group to see. The cats napped quietly and the dogs snored loudly.

I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

The Wilds 2018 (22 of 92)

The Wilds 2018 (12 of 92)

Back out on the open fields, the rhino at The Wilds might get it in his head that it would be a grand enough time to chase the wild horses, but the wildlife control officer has other ideas. . . he has a bucket of food, and a gentle “shake, shake, shake” is enough to pull his attention away, for now. Our tour guide confessed that she’d been hoping we’d get a chance to witness the chase, for the show of it. (We have her tour 5 stars anyway!)

The camels, they didn’t spit, but they did let us get up close, and my Canon’s zoom lens got me even closer. We refrained from asking this fella what day it was. . . !

The Wilds 2018 (91 of 92)

I bless the rains down in Africa
I bless the rains down in Africa
(I bless the rain)

If you get out to The Wilds, and have a bit more time to spend, consider taking the Zip line tour, all throughout the park. Or spend a few nights in a yert, waking up with the sun, and taking in the view. “Get in touch with your inner Hemingway. Picture sitting on the deck with Rhinos in the distance. It’s not fiction. It’s an overnight experience at The Wilds.” (The Wilds website)

There’s adventure to be had, and The Wilds is an unexpected place to find it. If you get to Ohio, I hope you do!

The Wilds 2018 (81 of 92)

(Ah, gonna take the time)
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

Join me on my next adventure,

~ Kat

Related Links:

The Wilds: https://thewilds.columbuszoo.org/

The Wilds – Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wilds

Toto: Africa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTQbiNvZqaY

“Africa” lyrics (full lyrics below): https://genius.com/Toto-africa-lyrics

I hear the drums echoing tonight
But she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation
She’s coming in, 12:30 flight
The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation
I stopped an old man along the way
Hoping to find some long forgotten words or ancient melodies
He turned to me as if to say, “Hurry boy, it’s waiting there for you”

It’s gonna take a lot to take me away from you
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

The wild dogs cry out in the night
As they grow restless, longing for some solitary company
I know that I must do what’s right
As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti
I seek…

The wild dogs cry out in the night
As they grow restless, longing for some solitary company
I know that I must do what’s right
As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti
I seek to cure what’s deep inside, frightened of this thing that I’ve become

It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

Hurry boy, she’s waiting there for you

It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
I bless the rains down in Africa
(I bless the rain)
I bless the rains down in Africa
(I bless the rain)
I bless the rains down in Africa
I bless the rains down in Africa
(Ah, gonna take the time)
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

 

One comment

  1. I truly enjoyed this, especially with the song reference. What an experience! Your photos are extraordinary as always. This is definitely publishing worthy.
    BLOG ON!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s