These different parks help provide up-close experiences with hundreds of species of animals, whether it’s petting a zonkey (zebra and donkey hybrid) or feeding a wide variety of exotic deer from the safety of your car. Put these drive-thru zoos and unique animal encounters on your list of things to do.
1. Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch (Texas)
Explore 450 acres of protected wildlife and see 40 different species of animals from across six continents. Feed the more than 500 herbivores that live on the ranch and visit the petting zoo to see the African Pygmy Goats and other four-legged friends.
2. Safari West (California)
In the heart of wine country, venture through 400 acres to see more than 800 animals. The standard safari tour provides opportunities to see creatures on both a driving and walking excursion over three hours. Need more? Try out their version of camping and sleep in fancy “tents” in a wild environment.
3. Living Treasures Animal Park (Pennsylvania)
With two locations in the Keystone state, the family owned and operated business offers opportunities to interact with and learn about a variety of animals. Get up close and personal with everything from giraffes and ponies to kangaroos and goats. They even offer traveling petting zoos for local events.
4. Bear Country USA (South Dakota)
The highlight of this South Dakota attraction is easily Babyland, where visitors can see bear cubs and other young animals play around. Outside of that, enjoy seeing the more than 100 bears that live in the park, which boasts being the largest privately-owned collection of black bears in the world.
5. Smoky Mountain Deer Farm (Tennessee)
Horseback riding is a fun addition to this park, nestled at the foot of the Smoky Mountains. Wander through the zoo and feed and pet dozens of herbivores, including reindeer, elk, baby goats, zebras, mini-horses, giant draft horses and kangaroos.
6. San Diego Zoo Safari (California)
Choose among 10 unique safari experiences, including an up-close-and-personal look at cheetahs, a traditional drive-through tour of an Asian or African sections, a zipline-style ride or the “ultimate safari” to get a unique look at the park that most visitors don’t get to see.