How to Survive a Wildlife Refuge
July 12, 2012 19 Comments
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.