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Exotic fauna await at Oregon's Wildlife Safari in Winston.

Take a turn for the exotic on your family’s West Coast road trip with a driving tour of Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon.

If you ever find yourself trying to figure out how to break up your family’s road trip between San Francisco and Portland (as we do on an annual basis), Wildlife Safari in southern Oregon is worth serious consideration as a pit stop on your journey.

Whether or not you opt for the pricey but exciting drive-thru tour that commits your brood to an additional hour in the car (on an otherwise lengthy drive), there is much to see and do at Wildlife Safari without even paying a dime—which is exactly what we did on our last stop there.

Children's pettting zoo at Wildlife Safari

Say hello to the tiny goats and pony in the children’s petting zoo.

The Safari Village itself costs nothing to explore, and is home to more than 100 animals, ranging from exotic snakes and monkeys to a rescued cheetah, plus a petting zoo—and there is a shady playground to conquer as well. Of course, if you want to pay for a train ride around the village and through some of its animals, or a camel ride, or food to hand-feed the goats or pond koi, you are welcome to do that too.

See monkeys, snakes, owls, flamingos and more free of charge.

See monkeys, snakes, owls, flamingos and more free of charge.

Don’t get me wrong, it can be thrilling to do the drive-thu safari in your own family car as well, driving through herds of Asian deer, contemplating what kind of shaggy beasts you are passing by from the African plains, and playing chicken with… an ostrich. In secured areas, you will also drive past lions and bears – keep those windows up!

Where else can you play chicken with an ostrich en route to Portland, Oregon?

Where else can you play chicken with an ostrich en route to Portland, Oregon?

Plan your time: If you are up for the drive-thru safari of the 600-acre wildlife park, you may want to save that for last, after you’ve all had a chance to stretch your legs, refuel, and visit the restrooms. That way you will have one more chance to visit the potties (with diaper changing tables) after your 1-hour tour before getting back on the road. The fee for your drive-thru safari is $17.99 per adult, $11.99 per child 4 to 12 years, and free admission for  kids 3 years and younger (it entitles you to two trips through if you like).

Ride the Uganda Express railway around the Safari Village

Ride the Uganda Express railway around the Safari Village during your pit stop.

If you’re looking for a unique overnight stay on your West Coast road trip this summer, Wildlife Safari will be hosting overnight family campouts select dates this summer, for $40 per person (under 3 years camp free). The campout includes a nocturnal animal show in the Dome Theater, a scavenger hunt around the village, campfire with s’mores, continental breakfast, animal enrichment with host, a ride on the Uganda Express Railway, and your drive-thru tour of Wildlife Safari. Tent rental is available if needed. Click here to find out more about family camping at Wildlife Safari. 

Driving times to Wildlife Safari

  • 8 hours from downtown San Francisco
  •  3 hours from Crescent City, CA
  • 2 hours from Ashland, OR
  • 1.5 hours from Eugene, OR
  • 3.5 hours from Portland, OR

For more information about Wildlife Safari in Winston, click here to visit their site. For more ideas and inspiration for your West Coast family road trip, visit our Destinations page.

In like a lion, out like a lamb – “March of the Animals” is almost over! If you missed any of this month’s features of animal encounters, click here to browse through them all, from donkeys in Spain to sharks in California and beyond!

Safe journeys,

Shelly Rivoli
Author of the award-winning Travels with Baby and Take-Along Travels with Baby
Curious about this content? See my editorial content disclosure.
 
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