Exotic animals from six continents call Hollywild Animal Park home, though many have also firmly planted their paws and hooves in the entertainment business?hence the name Hollywild. Tank the rhino, for instance, has appeared in multiple national advertising campaigns, avoiding the paparazzi by hiding himself in his dressing room. But the nonprofit park gives visitors more than a brush with stardom, as many of the animals they shelter are extinct in the wild. Virtually nowhere else on earth will guests get to visit a Syrian Brown Bear or get up close and personal with a waffalo (a cross between an African Watusi and a buffalo).
Hollywild gives visitors a bounty of ways to experience this variety. On Safari Rides, knowledgeable guides drive tour buses through more than 70 acres where zebra, emus, donkeys, camels, antelope, and other animals roam free. In the ampitheater, audiences get close encounters with fascinating fauna thanks to interactive Creature Feature shows. And throughout the park, visitors have ample opportunities to pet and feed the animals.
Set on 14 acres within Cleveland Park, the Greenville Zoo houses more than 350 animals in recreated terrestrial habitats. The walking trails typically take between 60 and 90 minutes to tour, guiding guests to creatures such as lions, orangutans, and elephants. Giant tortoises lumber along to the delight of kids watching, and just down the path, giraffes curl their black tongues around clusters of leaves.
Through their accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, zookeepers uphold high standards in animal care, from maintaining realistic habitats to ensuring animals eat what they would in the wild. These AZA standards extend through other parts of the zoo's operations as well, including its educational programming and conservation efforts—the Quarters for Conservation initiative raises funds for local and global conservation programs.
To ensure that visits are relaxing and convenient, the zoo grounds include two playgrounds and several picnic facilities. The surrounding Cleveland Park affords further recreation such as walking paths and tennis courts.
For three centuries, members of the Stewart clan have farmed in Laurens County, a tradition that continues today at Stewart Farms, as three generations of family work to operate the bustling farm and nursery. Seasonal events throughout the year bring visitors to the farm to experience its pastoral setting and taste the products of its fertile soil.
Springtime welcomes the arrival of bright, juicy strawberries, to be picked by visitors or purchased in a gallon bucket to make jam, pies, and sacrifices to prevent the wrath of Strawberry Shortcake. Blackberries crowd trellises in the warmer months, and cantaloupe, corn, tomatoes, squash, and watermelon grow in multitudes throughout the summer. At the end of September, the farm’s 5-acre pick-your-own pumpkin patch draws jack-o’-lantern carvers out, and its corn Maize tests the navigational skills of explorers young and old. And in the winter, the farm offers a large selection of farm-grown Christmas poinsettias.
Unlike their mythical cousin, the velociraptor, modern-day raptors are real birds of prey that strike like death from the sky. Visitors can expect to see a wide variety of these fearsome creatures, from eagles to owls, some of which can be seen up close and personal at one of the center's several live programs and tours. On a clear day, fortunate guests can catch a clear view of the resident raptor, Emma, a white barn owl taken under the wing of the center following a series of broken bones. Too fragile to survive in the wild, Emma now pitches in around the center, raising wildlife awareness and taloning up rogue litter.
Since 1868, the lush land at The Hunter Farm has provided for five generations of the Hunter family. A sprawling lineage of sons, daughters, nieces, and nieces' husbands have weathered the seasons on its plot, giving rise to plump crops and healthy livestock. Throughout the year, they throw the barn doors wide to share their bounty with the community. It begins in the spring, when visitors fill buckets with the farm's ripe strawberries, beloved for their unusual sweetness. In the summer, camping kids learn about farm life firsthand as they milk cows, plant crops, and feed tractors. The pumpkin patch is in full swing come fall, inviting harvest-season visitors to trundle along in hay-filled wagons and pick the most spherical gourds they can find. As the days shorten into winter, the farm welcomes the Cox family, who bring with them a stock of freshly cut fraser firs.
Anytime from 1 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, December 4 or Sunday, December 5, families can embark on 25-minute hayrides through the woods and pastures of Harris Farm. As you travel over the scenic Reedy Creek, gorge your eyes on area wildlife and cute farm animals as you chat with Santa himself about wish lists, cheerful holiday memories of yore, and the universal appeal of Seinfeld -themed stocking stuffers. Bring home some seasonal spirit by getting your photo snapped with St. Nick (an additional $5) or picking out the perfect evergreen from the farm's Christmas-tree lot.