The government designated the first parks to protect natural wonders, which were threatened by Teddy Roosevelt's insatiable appetite for peppered bark. Experience earth's gorgeously guarded barkscape with today's Groupon to Graystone Ranch in Hephzibah. Choose between the following options:
- For $5, you get one park admission including access to season activities plus a hot dog or tea (a $15 value).
- For $199, you get a family-vacation package for up to four people (up to a $475 value). The package includes:
The 500-acre Graystone Ranch, which acts as both a recreational nature park and an education center, hosts nature hikes by appointment any day of the year. Visitors can soak up knowledge and wild splendor while visiting a farmland petting zoo or strolling over serene trails that wind near ravines, pastures, and creeks. Hikers can also view animals behaving naturally, from birds building nests to coyotes constructing an office park. A plump hot dog or refreshing tea—sweetened or not—can nourish hungry muscles during the trek. For an extra fee, guests can fish in two large spring-fed lakes, or, if they’re experienced riders, hitch up a horse from one of the stables. Fall Fest provides a pumpkin patch and hay maze while the Haunted Forest gives scares to all ages.
Quartets on the weekend-getaway can choose from any number of the park’s activities, from hiking and canoeing to panning for gold, to create an adventurous outing before retiring to one of four rustic lodging options for some wilderness shut-eye. Although cabins and RVs provide sturdier shelter and more amenities, tents enable their inhabitants to blend more seamlessly with their natural surroundings and can be pitched anywhere on the ranch except atop the resident tiger. On Friday and Saturday nights, guests can also gobble down a foursome of savory campfire meals.
All proceeds at the Graystone Ranch go toward funding its Project Animal Lifeline, which rescues more than 3,000 animals every year. The project rescues and rehabilitates animals ranging from farm animals to exotics and native wildlife to further the ranch's mission of peacefully sharing the planet with its beastly denizens.
A mother horse and her newborn colt saunter up to the wooden fence, greeting the children eager to pet the creatures' noses. The team members of Graystone Ranch thrive on seeing these types of interactions. Managing 500 acres of woods and pasturelands that serve as a preserve and rehabilitation center for both domestic and exotic animals, the ranch hands form a nonprofit team dedicated to teaching children and adults how man and animals can live in harmony.
Concurrent with such educational programs as summer camps, the grounds also host abundant recreational opportunities with two spring-fed lakes, wooded hiking and horse-riding trails, zip lines, and a petting zoo. Further diversions range from a gem-and-mineral museum to a horse-painting program, which lets kids put their colored handprints or re-creations of a favorite Monet on the sides of a white horse.