Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Wildlife Safari - Winston, Oregon

Winston, Oregon is about midway between Eugene and Medford off the I-5. We were driving through Winston in early September and saw signs for Wildlife Safari. We decided to follow the signs to it and got there just as it was closing. Judy suggested we come back the next morning which we did, and were very happy as it turned out to be one of the most fun activities of our trip. 
A gray-crowned crane, a beautiful African bird which we've seen in the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. 

One of the wonderful things about these safari parks is that you can get some of the wildlife to come right up to the side of the car. 

Blue wildebeest. We've seen these in the wild in Etosha NP in Namibia. 

An eland. We've seen these in the wild in Nairobi NP in Kenya. 

Burchell's zebra which we've seen in the wild in Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. 

A lion behind an additional protective fence. These enclosures are just a step-above a normal zoo and not as interesting. 

The biggest surprise was to be in the same enclosure with several southern white rhinos. At Fossil Rim these were in protective enclosures. Very cool. We've seen them in the wild at Nakuru NP in Kenya. 

A wild turkey vulture visiting under its own volition. 

Other wild visitors included Rio Grande turkeys which were in several enclosures as well as the road outside the park. 

Ellipsen waterbuck which we've seen in Buffalo Springs NR in Kenya and the Okavango Delta of Botswana.  

Guanaco, which we'd hoped to see in Patagonia earlier this year, but our trip was cut short by Covid. 

Black bears in a controlled exhibit with additional fencing. 

By far my favorite enclosure was huge and included bison and large Roosevelt elk. It stood out for the size of the enclosure, the beauty of the setting with hills and trees, the quantity of the bison and elk and the sheer size of the huge elk. 

Two hippos in an additionally secured enclosure. 

Nilgai antelope. I think these are the first I've ever seen in a zoo or otherwise. 

Rhea, a South American bird we'd hoped to see in Patagonia before our trip was terminated by Covid. 

White-naped crane, another animal I've never seen before. Beautiful. 

Wildlife Safari is on about 600 acres. It consists of a Safari Village, which did not do much for us, which includes a petting zoo, restaurant, gift shop, playground and some animals in cages. The reason to go is found along a 4.5 mile drive: free-roaming animals wandering in very large fenced-in areas which cars can drive through. There are also some areas with more dangerous animals that cars can only be viewed through cages along the drive, including hippos, elephants, black bears, brown bears, lions and cheetahs. Those areas are okay. The real treat are the animals in the huge enclosures that provide a semblance of the animals in their natural habitat. 

Aside from a real safari in an exotic location, I rate this as the second best experience we've had, behind Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glenrose, Texas. 


  1. Having seen and become familiar with most of these animals in their natural African habitat, it was even more fun to see them here. The park did a really great job, for the most part, of creating habitats, and there were LOTS of animals to see. I loved it. Great photos.