I have had quite the history of being afraid of animals since I was little and almost bit in the face by a dog. To say it mildly, I have stayed away from creatures of all kinds for many years!
However, a few years ago, my family and I traveled down to Virginia for a vacation and stumbled upon the Virginia Safari Park.
Inside this park, we were able to drive through while interacting with and feeding the animals. Needless to say, after our third drive through, I was hooked! I couldn't get enough of these animals as they craned their heads into our van trying to get the food that we hid behind the front seats. (We had been told to do this, as these animals are quite greedy and the first few will eat all the food, leaving nothing for the rest of the animals further down the road.)
Imagine a bull elk or deer sticking its head into the front window of your vehicle as you allow it to eat from a bucket of food... It was quite the experience, although, we are still finding little pieces of this food in the oddest places in my van, even in the stow and go!
I wasn't a fan of the ostriches, as they kept trying to eat our windshield wipers instead of the food. The most interesting part of our drive was losing a bucket to one of the animals, as they love to steal them right from your hands!
After our drive, we walked through the area where kangaroos were sleeping and hopping around and pet some of the animals at the petting zoo.
My favorite part though was getting face to face with one of the giraffes! They are quite tall, and thankfully I had a platform to stand on, or I would have only come up to their shins! This gentle animal ate some food out of my hand and even stood there as my husband took a photo of the two of us.
My love for animals has grown since this trip, and I have even found myself holding a baby alligator and touching a sting ray or two. Oh, and one year, I went in the water with dolphins. But that is a story for another time....