Oregon road trip and the Wildlife Safari

In Family, Travel by VeenaLeave a Comment


As most moms know, there is a plan and then the plan changes especially after having kids. We had plans to make it to the holiday festivities at the Fairmont in San Francisco, the Oakland Zoo Lights and a couple other fun holiday themed events and then there was inclement weather and unexpected family we have not seen in several years that came into town for a week. So while that was a very, very pleasant surprise…our Winter Wonderland Plans were derailed; however, we made one family New Year’s goal:

More family, more friends, more memories!

So with that goal in mind, we woke up on New Year’s Day and decided that there was no better day to start our goal than January 1st. So we packed our bags, loaded our 3 dogs in the truck and took off for Oregon. Where in Oregon? We didn’t totally know. We knew we were starting off in Bend to play in the Mt. Bachelor snow and then see where the wind blew us.

Eddie Sledding

We arrived in Bend and it was 1 degree…WHAT?!?! Eeeks! Thankfully it warmed up during the day to the high twenties so we were able to do some snow hiking and sledding fun. Family Travel Tip:  Make sure you have wool base layers and socks for your kiddo and family..my personal fave is Smart Wool.)

After a couple days we were ready for some warmer temperatures and so we headed off to Belknap Springs where it was in the mid 30’s. After some beautiful snow hikes and sledding, we relaxed in natural hot springs. Wow! There is something incredibly relaxing and amazing about swimming in a spring that is 95 degrees naturally with snow falling all around you. Our 2 year old was beside himself being able to swim and have snow falling all around. Too fun!

Not knowing where we wanted to plant ourselves next, we headed towards Eugene. After stopping for some lunch we decided we wanted to trek on. As soon as we got back on the freeway, we saw a sign for a Wildlife Safari. Hmmm…the last time we road tripped/camped through Oregon, we stopped at an amazing Wildlife Preserve where we held baby lions and baby Bengal tigers. Was this going to be the same? Better? Who knows except we knew we were going to pull off the freeway in 100 miles and find out!

And so we did…free dog kennels were available. Sweet! Wildlife Safari was a reciprocating member of our Oakland Zoo membership so tickets were half price…Yes! One ticket allowed you to go through twice…Awesome!

Wildlife Safari is 600 acres in Winston, Oregon where you drive through at 10 miles an hour and have ostriches peck at your window, have to stop for a herd of zebras, spy at Tibetan Yaks, have a camel spit on your car and watch 2 rhinos descend down a hill for dinner. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Each time you drive through you are sure to see new animals as they roam free over 600 acres. Additionally, there is a fabulous petting zoo as well as a barrage of other animals like a mountain lion (being from California, it was AMAZING to see one alive), wallaroos roaming free, black swans and much more…So much more that after one go around the safari and children’s area, we loaded back up in the car to do all it all over again. Simply unforgettable! We will certainly be back!

The rest of the trip home was seemingly uneventful in comparison to the Wildlife Safari. A couple snow hikes and sled rides here and there but nothing to exciting. While we do not know where exactly we are headed to next..we cant wait to get to be back on the road again!

Crownholm Family 2013

Have ou been to Oregon?  Do you have any great Oregon tips to share?

Meet the Author | Veena

Veena is a former Miss California as well as 4th runner-up to Miss America. Pre-baby, Veena worked in the non-profit field specializing in Special Events and Development/Fundraising as well as a Program Officer for a family foundation. Now as a mom of a 2 year old, she spends her time running after her little one as well as branding and marketing consultant. Veena and her husband and son enjoy hiking, camping and traveling. She resides in Walnut Creek, California with her husband Ryan, son Eddie and their 3 dogs.

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