By LARRY VAUGHT
For the last two summers, my family has enjoyed going to Doc Antle’s Myrtle Beach Safari. My four grandchildren — now ages 7-10 — think it is great but so do I.
Where else can you hold a baby tiger, feed an elephant (or watch an elephant eat a watermelon), hold a monkey, watch full-grown tigers run, grill a hot dog with a chimp or even watch a chimp swim. Almost forgot watching an elephant drink five gallons of Hawaiian Punch.
The staff is amazing. I think I enjoyed the stories of how the trainers stay on property and many of the animals stay with them — including some that actually sleep in bed with the trainers. Ask any question, the staff will not only take the time to answer but will know the answer.
What made this year even better is that I know of about 20 friends who have been able to visit the Safari, which I still consider Myrtle Beach’s best kept secret.
Christine Trevino just returned from Myrtle Beach where she went with her daughter and a friend’s family to the night safari. She admits there interest got peaked reading the Facebook post from our earlier trip.
“It was so much fun,” Trevino, a Danville High School teacher, said. “It was almost magical. We didn’t really know what to expect to tell the truth and had no idea we were about to be completely awed.
“It was just one surprise after another that none of us would ever have had the opportunity to do in a lifetime. This was just a once in lifetime chance to see and witness what we did. It was great for the kids but everybody was in awe because it was so amazing. The experience is something we will never forget.”
This year my granddaughter thought watching the tigers run full speed was the tour highlight. Two grandsons loved getting to play with the lion and tiger cubs. Another grandson thought watching the chimpanzee and tiger swim was the best.
Trevino said getting to feed a full-grown tiger was something she never imagined being able to do.
“I am almost 38 years old and never expected to do anything like that. It just seems unreal that I did get to do it,” Trevino said.
What about cooking hot dogs and S’mores with chimpanzees like those on the night tour get to do?
“Everybody at the tour went out of their way to make sure we had such a special experience. They could have just brought out a chimpanzee and showed him to us but we got to cook S’mores and learned about chimps while having fun.”
Bubbles the elephant was another Trevino favorite.
“It was definitely a ‘wow’ moment to feed an elephant and give it a hug,” Trevino said. “It was just one incredible experience after another. It was about 11:30 when we left and no one noticed. Our kids never stay up that light but the time just flew by.”
It is more expensive than other attractions? Yes.
Is it worth every cent you pay? ABSOLUTELY YES. No where else can you get this overall experience with such magnificent animals and learn so much.
“It’s the best money we could have spent,” Trevino said. “It was worth every dollar to get this experience because there’s nothing else quite like it.”
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For more information go to https://myrtlebeachsafari.com/.