Touring a wildlife preserve is the easiest way to get close to wild animals without disguising yourself as a zookeeper or “accidentally” falling into the penguin pool. Cozy up to nature’s beasts the safe way with today’s Groupon to Giraffe Ranch Farm Tours in Dade City. Choose from the following options:
- For $24, you get a game-viewing safari tour for a child (ages 2–11; a $49.99 value).
- For $29, you get a game-viewing safari tour for an adult (ages 12+; up to a $59.99 value).
- For $75, you get a game-viewing camel-riding expedition (a $150 value).<p>
Tours depart each day at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Unlike traditional zoos, Giraffe Ranch functions as a wildlife preserve, with 47 acres of pastures and wetlands to shelter its endangered and non-endangered animal species, which hail from the Americas, Asia, and Africa. During 60- to 90-minute safari tours, groups pile into a shaded, four-wheel-drive vehicle piloted by a knowledgeable guide and traverse the facility. On the tour, guests peer at assorted, free-roaming tenants and occasionally stop to feed the giraffes, zebras, and animal handlers.
The 60- to 90-minute camel expeditions ferry customers throughout the grounds atop a terrestrial humpback—with up to two people per camel. Take in herds of diminutive irish dexter cattle and working austrian haflinger horses while witnessing the preserve’s ongoing conservation efforts. Giraffe Ranch recommends wearing an umbrella hat, sunscreen, long pants, and close-toed shoes for these expeditions.
Children 2 and younger may take the game-viewing tour for free but may not go on the camel expedition.
The husband and wife owners of Giraffe Ranch wake up each morning to the squawks, chirps, and growls of rhinoceroses, hippos, ostriches, and a menagerie of other exotic animals. After feeding their giraffes, they tend to the cattle and collect eggs from their free-range chickens that cluck across their 47-acre combination of a working organic farm and a wildlife preserve accredited by the Zoological Association of America. Encompassing four ecosystems, the preserve sprawls under 400-year-old oak trees and across native orchards into wetlands filled with nesting sandhill cranes. With the aid of their son, the owners lead tours through habitats for endangered or otherwise extinct African and South American animals, walking past pens of African crested porcupines, guinea pigs, fossa; as well as lemurs that guests can feed by hand or T-shirt cannon. Their tours never follow the same path, instead changing to skirt around grazing goats or to meet a brood of newly hatched baby ostriches.
Not content to simply lead guests on relaxing strolls, guides also load passengers into four-wheel-drive safari trucks—custom built by the owner after vehicles used in Africa—or onto the backs of camels for extended preserve tours that showcase larger game such as Indian rhinoceroses, pygmy hippopotamuses, llamas, and antelopes. Guides also steer tours toward feeding times, encouraging passengers to pass leaves to the preserve's namesake giraffes from the truck. An onsite shop boasts shelves of glass art, plush lemurs and giraffes, and T-shirts—many designed by the owner's wife—alongside handcrafted African decor. Shop staffers also proffer organic fertilizer, organic free-range eggs, and grass-fed beef harvested on the farm.