How to Survive a Wildlife Refuge

When we first arrived at the Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch, my first impression was the significant lack of sharks. My second impression was, that despite our best intentions to arrive ahead of the summer heat, it was hot, and crowded, and dusty.

Barrels attached to a tractor.
Innovation like you’ve never seen.

Little did we know it at the time, but this barrel ride was the highlight of the wildlife ranch. The little barrels attached to the tractor took off in a trail of dust as whatever stereo system rigged to this contraption blared music… “I like to move it, move it. I like to move it, move it.”

Then, we went on to stand in line for the tram that would take us around the park. More prepared parents stood with their children, feeing them goldfish and drinking sodas. Michiel and I waited as our boys informed us helpfully about the intense heat and the state of their starvation. It was looking pretty dire. I was worried that the boys would not survive, but it was more important that we get on the damn tram to look at the animals. I looked at Michiel hopelessly and asked her, “Why are everyone else’s kids so quiet??” She assessed the situation carefully, then answered, “Because they are EATING.” Lesson one in going to a terrible wildlife ranch, bring some freaking snack crackers.

This is a Zeedonk. I’m fairly certain this is NOT the scientifical term.

Next, we were shuffled onto this tram and shut in with wires and bars to prevent escape. Let the wild ride begin! Music blared over the makeshift intercom… the theme from Bonzana actually. Imagine hearing the theme from Bonanza as these wild horses run alongside the vehicle. It was exhilarating for about three seconds until we realized the horses weren’t wild, but rather sad, unfed creatures anxious to reach the food buckets attached to the tram.

The enthusiastic announcer seemed rather proud of the ranches crossbreeding efforts as he pointed out a “Zeedonk.” A mix between a donkey and a zebra. I know what you are thinking… what kind of sick perverts would do this?

Just as I getting over my donkey porn repulsion, the announcer says, “Say good-bye to your horse or Zeedonk! We are going on SAFARI!!” In the meantime, my kid is complaining that he is hot, the air is dusty, the animals smell, and that also, he is near death from starving. I assure him that everything will be fine once we go on safari, get infected with mosquito bites, and die from malaria. That is what happens on safari, right? I’m too busy looking up donkey on zebra porn right now to research it properly.

This is safari. Impressive, right?

Watch out little innocent zebra… you have NO IDEA what sordid events lie in wait for you. Run away! Run away!

The highlight of this entire tram ride was when daughter of the carefully prepared, snack laden family in the bench in front of us spilled her drink. The drink promptly run across the bench, wetting the clothing of an entire row of pre-teen girls. I should have felt bad for those parents, but FINALLY, someone else’s kid was complaining more than mine.

This is probably a handsome look for a camel.

Next, came the camels. Michiel’s son informed us that camels spit, so we were eyeing them suspiciously. Turns out, their main defense lies not in spit, but their foul stench. The smell rates not as high as a skunk, but is certainly comparable to unwashed dog or sweaty armpit hair. Imagine, as you look as the picture, the smell of dust, animal feces, and rotten eggs.


As a personal favor to anyone taking your child to a wildlife refuge in the near future, I have created this handy t-shirt of complaints. This way, your child will have the complaints pre-posted and will not have to alert you to them every ten to fifteen minutes. You’re welcome.



About lgalaviz
All of this hardly seems necessary.

19 Responses to How to Survive a Wildlife Refuge

  1. I want a zeedonk. Apparently, it is really a thing. It’s also called (according to my expert friends at Wikipedia) “a zebroid, zedonk, zorse, zebra mule, zebrule, or donkra.” Hee! Zebroid. I think I knew someone with zebroid tumors once. She had to have surgery. Also, Donkra will be the name of my first offspring. Donkra Jane Lucy’sFootball. She’s going to be very popular, I just know it.

    I think your safari was broken. I don’t think it’s supposed to smell that bad or be that depressing. Animals are supposed to be happy fun times. I’m really sad right now. Maybe the next time you go, you can bring a lot of goldfish crackers, and throw them at the zorses. Then you could start a STAMPEDE. Whoo! That’d be exciting! That would TOTALLY be a safari!

  2. jbrown3079 says:

    I was imagining the Sharkarosa as a working ranch. A large wooden shark over the entrance. All the cattle with a shark brand on their hindquarters. So I share your disappointment about the lack of sharks.
    Zeedonk sounds like a insult. “What the hell are you doing , you zeedonk.”

    • lgalaviz says:

      I think Sharkarosa must the name of the wildlife ranch owners. They really aren’t doing enough with it, in my opinion. They should hire a marketing team, or something. Or, alternatively… add some sharks.

  3. Rich Crete says:

    Very glad there wasn’t a zeerilla.

  4. Roxie says:

    I thought a zeedonk was gangster for butt. As in “Girl, get that zeedonk-a-donk over here!”

  5. debihen says:

    At least they didn’t name it a Striped Ass.

  6. I like zeedonks. They remind me of the extinct quaggas. Only a single female quagga was ever photographed alive; doesn’t she look sad to you?

  7. That ingenious barrel train – did it actually go somewhere, or did you just end up where you started?

  8. Actually, the bigger risk of a safari is getting bitten by a tsetse fly and die in trypanosomiasis or perhaps survive only to find out you’ve contracted elephantiasis instead.

  9. elisaashley says:

    I? Am so, so so very NOT jealous right now. You’re welcome.

  10. Whoremonger says:

    It’s true. We did all of this because of a groupon. Here are a few things she left out: 1. it took for effing ever to get out there 2. The bear “show”. 3. There were donation buckets everywhere-I’m assuming for the menagerie of non existent safari animals. 4. Did I tell you it was far? 5. We PAID for this. 6. I got a headache so bad the only thing that helped was Vicodin and vodka-together. Yep that’s how we roll…..adventures!

    • lgalaviz says:

      This is all totally correct. I was focused on how much fun I was having, I forgot how long we had to drive to get out there. Or, maybe I was focused on the dust in my eyes. Either way.

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