I love taking spur of the moment, spontaneous vacations with my little family! The Hubby and I always try to find one or two fun activities when we go on vacation. Then, the rest of the time, we just hang out in the cabin and watch movies, soak in the hot tub, play games in the game room, etc. We just love being together.
Clay and I have had a rough time of it the last couple of months. Not marital problems or anything like that, but sickness, car trouble, occasional lack of work… Things like that. And kids pick up on the worry and frustration. So we decided to surprise them one afternoon after school and whisk them away on a little getaway. They were so excited. So we’re we!
We always head to the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. That is our favorite place to go and has become a family tradition. Another new tradition is that we vowed to always go to Circle G Ranch Drive-thru Safari when we are in Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg.
It is so much fun and a real adventure every time. We went back in October and fell in love. They have a lot of animals including emu’s, water buffalo, llama’s, goats of all varieties, camels, wallaby’s, yak’s and a ton of other animals. You drive-thru at your own pace, or the animals pace when they make a traffic jam and won’t let you through, lol. You can purchase little buckets of feed and the animals come right up to your windows to be fed. The llamas and emu’s, In particular, gather around your vehicle. They will NOT get out of your way and that is when you have some hilarious adventures.
We headed there a couple of days ago and had such a great time. We didn’t want to leave! It was cold, though, and the forecast called for snow so we had to hurry back to the cabin. We’re staying in the Sky Harbor area which is at an elevation of about 2500′. So when they are calling for 2 – 4 inches of snow and you’re in a mini van, not a 4 wheel drive, you want to get groceries and get in before it starts.
Anyway, we went through the ranch and got in some animal traffic jams. Those llamas just would not budge until they were good and ready. My feed bucket was in my lap so I could video and I had one llama stick it’s head right in the window into my bucket. It was so funny. Were we’re cracking up. Clay had a zebra in his face the whole time and liked to have never steered the van.
When we were back at the barn (petting zoo area) we were the last ones there. Raymond, one of the employees and guides, was super nice. He took us through the barn and showed us their new baby camels. Then he showed us the Wallaby’s that were in a little private section of the barn. The mama had one in her pouch and it would stick its little head out. It was so wonderful!
The baby camel, pictured below, is about a week old and they have another that was only 3 days old! I feel in love with this little fellow below. We got to pet it and love on it. It was so sweet.
There are so many animals there. And depending upon the weather, you may see different ones at different times. The last time we were there we say water buffalo, yak and all kinds of deer and other animals. We saw zebra both times but I don’t think I got a picture of a zebra this time. I think there are some in the post from October and you can see them in the video though. It was cold so many stayed either in the barn or out in the front paddock. Around the barn we saw a peacock strutting his stuff. He had his feathers out in all their magnificent glory and was rubbing his hind feathers back and forth in a mating dance. The female was perched in the back of a pick-up truck watching! Then all of a sudden, he flew up there and perched with her. It was amazing to watch.
Inside the barn we saw many animals that we were allowed to pet. There were llamas and emu’s, goats piglets and the baby camel. There were two baby goats and they were nursing on their mama. I have a video of that on my other camera.
There a few turkeys, roosters and chickens running around too. They were all really pretty and the kids loved being so up close to them all.
In the barn there was also a mommy Wallaby with a baby in her pouch! I couldn’t get an up close picture of the wallaby but the kids and Clay said the baby stuck its little head out. It has not yet been out of her pouch and will stay in there a few more weeks. I really wish I could have gotten a photo of that. I did get a picture of the bigger wallaby though. So pretty.
I already can’t wait to go back again. It only costs $9 for adults and $7 for kids so it is really affordable. You can sometimes find great deals for Circle G Ranch on Groupon too. We always look there first. Oh, if you’d rather not drive, you can reserve the guided safari truck instead for $15 per person. I think I want to do that on our next trip. You can also purchase a camel ride for about $60 that takes you on a personally guided trek through the safari. Now THAT would be awesome!
If you’re ever in the area, you really should check out this fun and adventurous drive thru safari!
Be sure to check Groupon for discounts!
Disclosure: I did not receive compensation for this post. We did purchase discount tickets at Groupon. (Check it out!)All opinions are strictly my own. My family has been to Circle G Ranch twice and have loved it both times.
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Hi! I’m Crystal Martin, a stay at home mom of 4, living in KY with my high school sweetheart husband of 20+ years. My husband and I are co-bloggers at Cinnamon Hollow where we write about homesteading, travel, beauty, our lives with our kids and pets, fun and free printables as well as the products and services that make our lives just a little bit easier – and a lot more fun!
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