This weekend, I took the kids and my mom out to the Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville, NC, and we had a fantastic time (my husband sat this one out due to environmental allergies). We couldn’t stop laughing as the animals literally poked their heads inside the car looking for food pellets. It was such a great time, my teenager even stated, “I’m having so much fun.” High praise, indeed.
Lazy 5 is a 185-acre safaris-style zoo that you can drive through with your own car or, for a slightly higher admission rate, you can take a horse-drawn wagon ride on the almost 4 miles of roads in the park. The animals come right up to your car looking for food which you can hand-feed to most of them. Also, near the entrance are a few more exhibits that you can walk through, as well as picnic tables and an ice-cream stand.
Mooresville is about a 45 minute-1 hour drive from Charlotte depending on where you live, and the ranch itself was no trouble at all to find. We went on a Saturday, and it was busy but not unmanageable. There was plenty of parking to see the walking exhibits, and we only waited in line for a few minutes to enter the driving bit. It took us about 3 hours to see everything, although I think we could have stayed a tad longer if we hadn’t been melting in the 90-degree heat. Uh…when was the first day of Fall?
The animals know what’s up in this place, and they are more than happy to pop right in your window to grab at the food buckets. The llamas were especially aggressive in a super adorable way and were my favorite to feed because they were dainty eaters that didn’t slobber all over you. The deer…not so much.
TIP: I recommend at least 3 buckets of food for the drive. We only purchased two and had to start rationing because we were running out about half way through the park.
The park was full of tiny baby pigs running around on their little stubby legs, and, oh my god, were they cute. I really wanted to snag one to take home!! When these guys started rumbling towards us, however, we chickened out and rolled up the windows. Those horns look menacing!
My mom loved the ostriches, and she couldn’t quit laughing every time she fed them. We let them eat straight from the bucket because we like our hands without holes in them, thank you very much. I am not gonna lie, it is a little bit freaky being stared down by a bird that is taller than you are. They get all velociraptor at your window.
At one point, we came upon a mini-herd of buffalo lumbering across the path. One stopped at the car window, opened his mouth really wide, and stuck out his tongue. We assumed that meant he wanted to be fed so my teenager threw a handful of pellets in his mouth. 😀
On the walking portion of the tour, we saw a very large turtle make a prison break out of his rock enclosure…
found a big, fat frog chilling in the koi pond…
and fed these adorable pygmy goats…
I 100% recommend making the trip out! It made for fantastic family time, and my little guy loved it so much, he wants to do his birthday party there! They do offer a group rate for parties larger than 10 people, so it does seem like an ideal place to bring a rowdy group of 11 year-olds 🙂
Tip: Lazy 5 is CASH ONLY!!!!! So don’t forget to stop by the ATM on the way up!
Have you ever been to the Lazy 5 Ranch?
Would you like an up-close encounter with the animals?