Last year we had a great time bathing an elephant at Wilstem Ranch. So when we heard about the new Wilstem Ranch giraffe encounter, we had to experience it.
After checking in at the office, we drove to the barn that was specially built for the giraffes. Our guide, Gloria, met us at the door.
Gloria lives on the Wilstem Ranch property and cares for the two giraffes, Burt and Jabari, 24 x 7. It’s obvious that she loves the giraffes and has a special bond with them.
Like the Elephant Encounter, the Giraffe Encounter includes an education segment. Gloria filled us in on all kinds of facts about giraffes in general and also specifically about Burt and Jabari. Here are a few fun giraffe facts:
- Giraffes eat about 75 pounds of food a day. They’re herbivores and in the wild feed mainly on leaves. It takes a lot of leaves to add up to 75 pounds, so they eat most of the day.
- They sleep only about four hours a day and usually in the form of naps that last as little as a minute. They usually sleep standing up—with their eyes open
- Giraffes can go for several days without water
- A giraffe’s tongue reaches about 20 inches in length. The front of the tongue is dark bluish. The dark color protects the tongue from the sun.
- Giraffes give birth while standing up. Baby calves can stand within a half hour of birth and can run in about ten hours.
Following the educational segment of the Wilstem Ranch Giraffe Encounter, guests are free to feed, pet, and take photographs with the giraffes. We fed them carrots. It’s amazing how gently they took the carrots.
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After the Giraffe Encounter session, Gloria opened the big overhead door so Burt and Jabari could go outside. It happened to be quite warm that day, so they refused to go out. They preferred to stay in the climate-controlled building.
Currently they don’t have access to trees in their outdoor area. Plans are underway to extend the fencing to encompass trees on the property. However, ranch owners must first make sure there are no cherry trees, as cherry leaves are extremely poisonous to the giraffes.
To experience the Wilstem Ranch Giraffe Encounter…
Wilstem Ranch is located at 4237 W US Highway 150, about halfway between Paoli and French Lock, Indiana. The ranch holds Giraffe Encounters four times a day, seven days a week. They recommend advance reservations. Visit the website for specific encounter times and further details.
Disclosures: Visit French Lick West Baden hosted our visit to Wilstem Ranch. Our Giraffe Encounter was complimentary. However, any opinions expressed in this article are my own.
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