Rural Dade City is known mostly for its strawberries, but word is quickly spreading about something else that makes people flock here: giraffes. These graceful creatures are the headliners at this nearly 50-acre ranch. You can view them as part of a safari-style vehicle tour or from the back of a camel; on either tour, you can hand-feed them cabbage leaves. You'll also see tons of zebras, a pair of pygmy hippos, a couple of rhinos, ostriches, and many other animal species
roaming the grounds. Near the ranch's welcome center and gift shop is a corral of enclosures where you can watch guinea pigs chomp on sweet-potato chunks, hold a baby goat, and, for a little extra cash, feed grapes to lemurs or bathe a rhino. The ranch's proprietors have encyclopedic knowledge of the animal kingdom, and the overall experience is meant to impart a sense of connection to the animal world—and the environment—on those who visit. Tours take about two hours, and reservations are required. Credit cards are not accepted.
Sep 1, 2012
The experience at the Giraffe Ranch beats out just about any other zoo. We took the camel ride through the facility, where you get to literally come face to face with many animals.