Over 75 different species of animals including lions, bears, elk, camels and chimpanzees are on display at the West Coast Game Park Safari, just south of Bandon. Established in 1968 as a roadside attraction featuring a few deer, it has expanded greatly over the years into the booming operation it is now, while maintaining the up close and personal feel of its beginnings. Visitors can roam freely throughout the park feeding and petting the tame and relatively docile animals while interacting with the more dangerous animals through cage bars and camera lenses. The habitats have been designed such that people can get a closer look than they would at other zoos.
Each day, the staff, some of whom have been with the Game Park Safari for over 20 years, present interactions with “ambassador” animals. These are the featured animals of the day, and visitors can experience them up close while learning about them and their natural environments. Ambassadors have included fascinating and typically inaccessible animals such as a caracal, baby black bear, bobcat, fox and skunk.
The staff assist visitors in interacting with other, typically more inaccessible and dangerous animals as well. Humans of all ages are seen petting skunks, raccoon, and ferrets as well as young lions, leopards, caracals, bears, and tigers.
Visitors are encouraged to purchase food for the animals roaming free, and ducks, rams, donkeys, llamas, peacocks, goats, kangaroos, deer, and geese are not bashful about approaching them for a treat. This gives the humans an opportunity to pet and feed them.
The staff have bred and hand-raised nearly all of the over 450 animals at West Coast Game Park Safari on site. They believe that it is important to educate visitors about conservation and extinction of animals, and they use the ambassador animals at the park to assist them.
No animal park would be complete without a gift shop. Visitors can find souvenirs such as figurines, stuffed animals, mugs and magnets to help them remember their visit, as well as memory cards and batteries for cameras. Small snacks and a soda vending machine are also available.
The park is wheelchair and walker accessible, and strollers and umbrellas are offered free of charge for the day. Humans of all ages are welcome, but dogs are not. The park recommends a nearby kennel for your dog. Group rates are available, and tickets can be purchased in advance by phone.
For those wishing to donate, the park is often in need of specific supplies for their variety of animals. They are typically in need of items such as toys, bottles, and chains, but see their website for a current list.
The West Coast Game Park Safari is open nearly year round, and the days and hours vary with the season.
Come for the animals, but stay in Bandon, just 8 miles to the north, for a while to enjoy the many shops, restaurants and of course the spectacular beaches. A variety of hotel options are available to make your stay more leisurely.
See The West Coast Game Park Safari’s website or call 541-347-3106 for more information including hours, current ambassador animals, and admission prices.