I’ve always wanted to go “glamping”. I’m a big fan of camping already, so having some luxury and not having to do all the work that comes with camping, BONUS! Running water? YES! Real beds? ALRIGHT THEN! We also LOVE animal encounters of all kinds. So when I heard about Vision Quest – Safari Style Bed & Breakfast, I was pretty excited! If you’re doing a road trip up to San Francisco, consider stopping in Salinas, for this one of a kind adventure! You do not need to spend the night to tour their facilities and zoo, they offer day tours as well.
We stayed in Monkey Manor, which was beautifully setup with two comfy beds (outfitted with heating pads), a TV, a full bathroom with shower, a small refrigerator and coffee maker. I had to keep reminding myself that we were in a tent! The whole place was on a wonderful raised platform that overlooked the grounds, valley, and mountains. I’ll NEVER forget the sounds of lions roaring and calling to each other at night (kids slept right through it) and in the morning. We were so close to them, that I felt like they were just outside our tent!
Vision Quest works with the Monterey Zoo, and Elephants of Africa Rescue Society, to care for and rehabilitate these beautiful animals. The staff cares about conservation and educating the public. They clearly love the animals that live there! There are many tours to choose from when visiting- but if you stay at the B&B, you are offered smaller, more intimate encounters via their VIP tours. We chose to do Crunch Time and Butch’s Bedtime.
Daughter is a cat lover, so we had to get some close up time with the big cats! Cheetahs, lynxes, tigers… she was in cat heaven. Once you hear these animals CRUNCH through bones like they are Cheetos, you’ll completely understand why the tour is called Crunch Time! The tigers are MASSIVE. Their paws…wow. After being educated on their stories, species and behaviors, we each got the opportunity to feed them. By hand. Just kidding. Why would you want to do that? You actually can feed them, but in the safest, most clever way ever- without losing a finger!
Elephants! Who doesn’t love these gentle, intelligent, and massive creatures? You get to see firsthand how they have “personalities” and relationships with each other, and the handlers. They are just like people, except with MUCH bigger hearts. I won’t ruin the whole experience for you, but each elephant has a story, including Butch who is the biggest of them all! Feeding the elephants was a slimy, pokey, funny ordeal that had us laughing and giggling the whole time. I love the organic smiles and happiness that spending time with animals, brings out in my children… it turns us adults into kids again, too.
If you spend the night at Vision Quest, you get some very special bonus time with different animals as part of your safari. The animal handlers will come around with different animals to each bungalow, so you can learn and ask questions. We got to meet the CUTEST skunk ever, a sweet opossum, and the funniest warthog who reminded us of Pumba from the Lion King.
Touring the zoo, watching bears swim, seeing and hearing Ed (the hyena) laugh, feeding tigers, tickling elephant tusks, sleeping near roaring lions… it’s enough to fill any animal lover’s heart to almost bursting! But that’s not all folks, you end your stay with an giant cherry on top! In the morning, Paula and Crissy who are bestie beasties, came to deliver our breakfast, and ask for more treats. Such a sweet farewell to a fantastic stay!
There are over a hundred animals (and counting) at Vision Quest, who have been rescued and are being cared for with the utmost respect and love. It says so much that the handlers know all of their heartwarming, and sometimes funny, stories of life, before they got rescued. Although it is not a big traditional zoo with a thousand animals, that’s why it’s so special. Ask about Fred the Ostrich, and why he hangs out with the elephants! Please visit this wonderland, and help them in their quest for conservation. They are continually trying to expand their facilities to give the animals even more space, and better conditions. To learn more go to Vision Quest.
Do you love animals? Have you done any animal encounters? What’s your favorite experience or what’s on your bucket list? Leave me a comment and tell me all about it!
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