16/8/11 woke up in Springfield, Missouri

First thing in the morning, we decided to head over to the Wild Animal drive-through Safari. It used to be called Exotic Animal Paradise, but I can see why they have renamed it.

The first thing you see when you walk in (apart from the gift shop..) are tigers in a really small enclosure. For 5 USD you can feed the tigers with chicken, which seems fun, but kinda got me thinking: “are they actually being fed with anything else, just in case there is no one willing to pay a fiver for the pleasure? The moment Leah stuffed the dead poultry through the cage (there was a special hole for that purpose, and you were to serve the meat on a long stick, although personally I think it would be more fun to be a bit closer to the big cats..), they were all there like a shot! Beautiful creatures, shame about the cage. I hope they go somewhere else at night.

Well, that was just the beginning, as the cages just got smaller from there. They were the old fashioned type, where animals were in full view with nowhere to hide.

The worst moment of this visit was seeing a wolf in a really tiny enclosure, covered with just pavement, no grass, no nothing. It’s a wild animal! Pavement?! Wtf?? This was too much. The wolf was pacing back and forth, visibly depressed and no one was doing anything about it. This is so sick it should not be allowed.

After this introduction to the Animal Safari, we moved on to the main, drive – through part of the park, where in a massive enclosure, animals like donkeys, pigs, deers, ostriches, camels, are all running virtually free, happily accepting food (purchased for this very purpose) from the shop on the premises.
It’s a fun experience for the whole family, as the animals are slobbering all over the cars, sticking their long tongues through the windows and being very friendly whilst looking happy.

The Donkey Kiss

The Donkey Kiss

The park is a strange combo of a great outdoors with wild life at a hands reach with an animal prison just meters away.

After the Park, we drove to the centre of Springfield to see what was supposed to be one of the towns main attractions: one of the biggest outdoor and sports shops in the world, Bass Pro Shop. It’s huge. I have never seen that many fishing rods in one place, they even had a separate section with fishing rods for little girls, all cute and pink! Amazing.

The evening was approaching fast, but I decided that before we get out of the area, we need to visit the Richardson’s Candy House, where all products are made the old fashioned way, and the building itself is pretty cool (60 year old Rock Tavern). We were relying on the sat nav to help us find the way with turned out to be pointless, as it was doing it’s usual hide and seek the attraction game. After a good hour we finally got there but the choco-heaven was.. shut.
On the way to the factory, we drove past a small town called Joplin, which has recently been the victim of a massive tornado, and some cars were still upside down and trashed. The houses were gone and the land looked like there was a huge fire clearing everything on it’s way. The view was terrible. But amongst the debris, where the petrol station used to be, there was a board with a very uplifting message: “We will rebuild. Please use Raco car wash at 7th”.
The area seems to be prone to tornados, so I would probably consider building a house made of bricks, or a small shelter, or a cellar, but for some reason people go through it numerous times without taking this into consideration.

We crashed it Tulsa.