VIENNA, Ohio (WYTV) – When Wagon Trails Animal Park comes to mind, you probably think of ditching your car in the parking lot and stepping onto one of their safari wagons.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that’s not the case this year.
“We have cars drive through now and everyone’s safe in their car and they can enjoy the animals from a safe distance,” said Christine Bertok from Wagon Trails.
The park relies on the summer months to make it through the winter. Bertok said if they weren’t able to get creative, they don’t know what they would have done.
“What we do in those six months gets us through the winter. We have a lot of mouths to feed,” Bertok said.
The park cares for more than 300 animals from six continents, including zebras, ostriches, elk and more.
“The donkeys have been very popular. They’ve been greeting everyone. Ponies and a beautiful fish pond with koi in it,” Bertok said.
The way it works is pretty simple. All you have to do is show up in your vehicle, put the exact amount of money in the box and drive on through.
“You can have your windows down, but because of COVID-19, we’re not allowing petting or feeding,” Bertok said.
She said people are enjoying the drive-thru safari so far. It has even brought it some who normally wouldn’t visit.
“Children that maybe don’t do well in crowds or around a lot of people with noise, they can go through for the first time and see the animals,” Bertok said. “We didn’t even think of these things but it’s really sweet to see that.”
Bertok said she isn’t sure if visitors or the animals are enjoying it more.
“They’re so close that everyone can see them… They’re being so good. It’s almost like we trained them to do this with cars, but obviously we never have, but we’re just so tickled with how they’ve been receiving the cars.”
The drive-through tours are $10 per adult and $5 per child. They are only accepting cash at this time and the ATM is not available.
Wagon Trails is located at 907 Youngstown Kingsville Road SE in Vienna.