My absolute favorite destination in North Carolina is the privately owned and family run Lazy 5 Ranch located outside of Charlotte in Moorseville, NC. Lazy 5 Ranch is not just for kids; I think I enjoyed it as much as the children around me, if not more. I was extremely excited to take the 3.5 mile guided safari wagon tour throughout the interactive zoo seeing more than 750 animals from all over the world. Animals from over 6 continents roam free throughout the park in their re-created “natural” habitats. During the horse drawn wagon ride, I had multiple opportunities to take pictures of the many animals, feed the animals, and pet the animals during the stops along the way.
The ranch is open Monday through Saturday from 9am until one hour before sunset and Sundays 1pm until one hour before sunset. The animals can also be viewed from the comfort of your own vehicle which you can drive throughout the park for under ten dollars. I opted for the more rustic and close up experience for an additional five dollars. Discounts are provided for children, seniors, and groups. Be sure to go early to have time to feed the animals in the petting zoo. When you purchase a ticket on the wagon, you get one bucket of feed to share between two people throughout the tour. The animals are friendly and eager to be fed and pet by the excited visitors.
My favorite part of the day was feeding the giraffes. I’ve been to plenty of urban zoo’s like the Santiago Zoo and NYC Zoo, which I love and adore, but I wasn’t able to get up close and personal with the animals like I was able to do at Lazy 5 Ranch. For over ten minutes our wagon stopped to visit the giraffes, while the gleefully happy passengers, myself included, fed the giraffes. How much better can it get?
Lazy 5 Ranch is always changing with the addition of new exhibits and an increasing variety of animals. Lazy 5 educates visitors about animal protection in a fun way. Many of the animals have been rescued or the species may be nearing extinction including the Grey Zebra, Scimitar Horned Oryx and Ring-tailed Lemur. One unique species living at Lazy 5 Ranch is the White African Rhino. The Scotch Highland Cattle, Watusi, Texas Longhorn Cattle, Mammoth Donkey, Himalayan Tahr, Eland, Dromedary Camel, Red Kangaroo, Rhea, among others are waiting for your arrival.