Davis Column: When I’m wrong, I say I’m wrong
I kept seeing posts on Facebook about a drive-thru safari park in Salley, a town just south of Columbia. Lots of excitement about that little place, but I chalked it up to families desperate to get out during the Corona quarantine days.
Last weekend, I decided to check it out for myself. I expected a basic operation, maybe something a little on the tacky side, with a handful of animals. I could not have been more wrong.
Simply put, Eudora Farms is wonderful. Their drive-thru safari provides fun for all ages. Follow my tips to make the most of your experience.
If you are particular about your car, do not drive it on this three-mile safari. Animals are messy eaters and horned cattle and goats aren’t always careful.
Fill up with gas. Five or six cars run out of gas out on the trail on busy days. Don’t let that happen to you.
Go early. We arrived about five minutes before the 10 a.m. opening and were the fourth car in. The animals were very excited to see us. Afternoon visits can mean hours-long wait times.
While you’re getting your admission ticket, carefully read the rules on the large sign. Bring in your mirrors like they advise. There’s a reason why they tell you not to feed the zebras.
Buy more food than you think you need. You won’t get another chance until almost the end of the safari trail. We bought two buckets at $5 each and got two refills towards the end. When I go back, I’ll buy four at the start.
When the animals approach your car for the first time, it’s intense. Hold on to your feed bucket carefully. These animals are not shy and some have mighty big tongues. If you have young children in the back, you may want to keep their windows rolled up until they get used to the experience.
It’s ok to pull the bucket away from the animal. They will keep eating until you do. I thought the small group of animals that greeted us at the gate were all the animals we would see. Wrong. Hundreds of animals from all over the world roam the beautiful Aiken county property.
Pace yourself and ration the food. I got caught up in the excitement and went through both buckets of food within the first two minutes. Don’t do that. I hopped out of the vehicle to try to get the food that spilled all over the vehicle. Don’t do that either. There’s a reason why they tell you to stay inside.
If you’re worried about scratches to your car, keep your windows rolled up when the long-horned cattle or antelope stroll your way. If your window is down and they smell food, you might get a bump whether you like it or not.
Animals have personalities. I recommend feeding the calm, gentle deer for families with young or nervous kids. The adventure lovers in your group will enjoy the camels and ostriches. Camels take their kibble very seriously. What a camel wants, a camel gets. Take it from me: an ostrich’s beak is bigger than you think, and they peck aggressively.
Feeding the animals anything other than the food purchased at Eudora Farms is strictly forbidden, as it should be. Be mindful of snacks in your car. The animals don’t mind helping themselves. One very lively alpaca (or llama?) snagged a boiled peanut from the Piggly Wiggly bag on my floor board. Before I could take it from him, he pranced away and glanced over his shoulder with the look of an animal who knew he had gotten away with something very naughty. For the safety of the animals, put away human snacks.
Open one window at a time. We made the rookie mistake of keeping both windows down the whole time. While one person was feeding, the other was usually taking photos or videos. If your back is turned to watch the excitement going on at one, you maybe get a nudge or even a wet tongue from an animal wanting a treat from the other window. To maximize the experience, and reduce having slobber run down your neck, it’s probably best to have one window down at a time.
My first trip to Eudora Farms will not be my last, but their drive thru safari might not be for everyone. If you don’t want a mess in your car, don’t go. If you don’t want to find pellets of animal food in your shoes and in your purse and maybe even in your bra, do not go.
But if you want to laugh, get great photos and marvel at God’s creatures, Eudora Farms is the place for you. If you want to get up close and personal with ostrich and deer and long-horn cattle and zebra and camels, then plug 210 Salem Lane, Salley, SC, 29137 in your GPS. Throw on some old clothes, grab your fun-loving friends, hop in your family’s oldest vehicle, and hit the road. Go ahead and google the difference between a llama and an alpaca. I’ll save you the trouble and tell you the small cow with long hair is a Shetland.
Enjoy a morning in Salley, SC. Share your videos and pics from SC’s newest must-do adventure on social media. And, remember, I warned you about the camels and the zebras!
Visit Tammy Davis at www.tammydavisstories.com.