After a crazy couple of weeks of flying home from Manila, then to Tampa for a wedding, then to San Francisco to see about some job opportunities, then back to Tampa, it was time for a little fun. So that Saturday, we went to the Giraffe Ranch Farm, located a few miles away from Dade City.
In addition to giraffes, the Giraffe Ranch Farm has a number of other animals who feel at home in areas similar to African grasslands. One such animal is the camel, and they offer camel rides.
It turns out that camels, when treated well, absolutely love humans. The camels at the ranch love greeting visitors and almost beg to be petted.
The ranch offers a couple of camel rides: a ten-minute ride, where you do a quick tour of their large “front yard”, or a much longer ride, where you take the grand tour of the ranch on camelback. Since that’s considerably pricier and the sun was blazing that day, we opted for the ten-minute ride, preferring to do the tour in their covered open-air bus.
Here we are, about to start our camel ride.
Here’s Anitra after the ride, petting the camel she rode. His name is “Doofus”.
They make it simple to hop on a camel for a ride: you climb a set of stairs onto a raised platform, which makes it easy to board them.
After the camel ride, we were given a short presentation about the animals on the ranch. They passed around a number of bones and horns from the various types of animals there, and I couldn’t resist playing with them.
I think I found this year’s Halloween costume idea.
For a little extra money, you can go inside the lemur cage and feed them grapes. There was no way that we’d pass up this opportunity.
The lemurs are more than happy to hobnob with humans. They’re a lot like the way they’re depicted in the Madagascar films, minus the I Like to Move IT musical number and Sasha Baron Cohen’s fake South Asian accent.
You can feed them either by holding out a grape, which they’ll take with their teeny hands, or pop it in their mouth. They’re pretty gentle either way.
Here’s a lemur taking a grape from my hand.
One of them decided to get a closer look at my leg…
…while another preferred Anitra’s.
There’s a matriarchal social order to lemur society, and it showed in the way they lined up to be fed.
We were told not to choose which lemur to feed, but rather to let them work it out. It seemed to work out pretty well, and even the babies got to have some grapes.
While posing for pictures with the lemurs in the background, a few of them got pretty friendly…
…and a couple of them even climbed on me. They didn’t have claws like cats; their hands feel more like those of a tiny baby human’s.
Here we are, looking contemplative.
And here were are, best of buds, having a grand ol’ time.
Next: More scenes from the Giraffe Ranch!