The Wilds

/ posted in: Hometown TouristPhotos

I got to fulfill a lifelong dream of mine recently.

When I was in middle school we had to write a list of things that we wanted to do when we grew up.  One of the things on my list was to sleep in a yurt.  This was way before yurts were cool in the U.S.  I only knew about them because in fifth grade I read a book about a man who went to Mongolia.  I think this was my first historical fiction experience.  Ever since that time I wanted to go to Mongolia and sleep in a yurt.  (He also ate sheep eyeballs and I totally didn’t want to have to do that to have my yurt time.)

I managed the yurt and no sheep eyeballs were necessary.

We stayed overnight in the yurt camping area at The Wilds.  I don’t think that the guy in the book I read had a yurt this fancy.  I don’t remember any descriptions of air conditioning, full bathroom, or wi-fi.

 
The Wilds is a 10,000 acre reclaimed strip mine in Ohio. It is now managed by the Columbus Zoo. It is a little like Jurassic Park with large mammals instead of dinosaurs.

ostrich

On the first day I went for a horseback ride. I was actually nervous about that. It has been a long time since I’ve ridden. We were told to mount at the mounting block and let the horse walk forward without putting our feet in the stirrups. I flat out panicked at the suggestion. They wanted to adjust our stirrups for us because I was the only person who had ever ridden before. However, stepping away from a mounting block without feet in stirrups is exactly what happened right before the accident where I broke my pelvis. I calmed myself though and got on and put my feet in immediately. Not doing that again.

The ride was fun once I let myself relax and stop overanalyzing. It was a trail ride on a horse who was used to this, not a ride on a high strung knucklehead like I owned.

After the ride we had a private dinner in a dining room reserved for overnight guests. We also had a large fire pit overlooking the camel pasture to relax at.

camel1

The next day we had breakfast provided and then we went on our tour through the park.

cheetahhead

The Wilds is a fun way to see animals in a slightly more relaxed environment than in a zoo. The herbivores are all wandering huge pastures and living their lives in a much freer manner than in most zoos.

cheetahlove

The Wilds is in Cumberland Ohio. It is absolutely worth a visit if you are ever in the central Ohio area.