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A Life-Changing Ride

By: Zane State College Student, Haley Touvell

Incredible horseback journeys, exotic safari animals, and delicious food options are just a few words to describe the amazing adventure you can experience at The Wilds! The Wilds has many food options to choose for all ages. By riding horseback, you’re not only putting your trust in the animal, but you’re also putting your life in its hands. With one wrong move, it could easily end. You could instantly get stepped on or paralyzed with one wrong move. People risk this for their love and passion for riding horseback. At The Wilds, the horseback riding safari obtains the best-trained horses for their guests. They make you feel safe, welcomed, and comfortable with the horse you ride. It’s definitely an amazing experience, and I would encourage everyone I know to give it a try. It’s also very important to feel safe when you’re riding a horse, because they can sense your fear and emotions.

The Wilds has great food and soft drinks; however, they are very expensive. There are numerous food options to pick from, which is great if you are a picky eater. They have the Safari Snack Depot, which mainly serves convenient snacks such as soft pretzels, popcorn, ice cream, coffee beverages, and bottled drinks to take with you on your tour. Another place to stop by would be the Terrace Grill. The Terrace Grill is the main place to go when you’re looking for lunch. They have grilled burgers, jumbo grilled hot dogs, Donatos pizza, fountain beverages, and more! It also includes a rooftop dining area with excellent views of the cheetahs and African painted dogs. Lastly, you could also visit The Overlook Cafe. The cafe has sandwiches and wraps. Their main sellers are burgers, chicken, salads, bottled beer and wines, desserts, and—my personal favorite—deli wraps.

Admission for the tour is $30 per person plus $6 for parking. An overnight stay is over $100, but it includes the Wildside Tour. Even though the price may seem steep, it is well worth the money with the two-and-a-half-hour tour. Each tour has a different time limit. The horseback riding safari is only 45 minutes long. It’s very pricy for $30 per person for just 45 minutes, but it was a very fun and wonderful ride, and the views are incredible! If you really enjoy The Wilds, you can also get a membership. They have a wide range of memberships to pick from to suit your individual needs. An individual membership is just $55 with free parking; an individual with a plus-one is $90 with free parking; a family plus membership is $150, which includes two adults and two named or unnamed guests; and lastly you can add the Columbus Zoo to your membership for an additional $75. By having a membership, you can receive multiple discounts. This includes discounts for the Wilds Connection Newsletter, food and beverages at The Wilds Overlook Cafe, The Wilds Gift Market, and premium safari experiences.

You have to care for your horse properly and treat it with respect. You have to be up and personal with the animal and show it you’re not going to harm it so the horse doesn’t throw you off. You have to show love and gratitude toward your horse and show it that you’re trustworthy so the horse will cooperate with you. If you don’t know how to saddle your horse, they will help you and give you pointers before you set off on your ride. If you have any questions or worries, you’re touring with multiple people, so just give them a shout, and they’ll be glad to help. The employees were so nice and understanding. It definitely makes me want to go back.

The location was very well thought out with all the acres and room for all the animals to roam on the property. The Wilds is located in Cumberland, Ohio, and is home to all types of species that are endangered. The Wilds opened in 1994 with 9,154 acres. There are so many fun activities other than horseback riding that you can do throughout the day. The zipline and the safari bus tour are two of the most interesting tours for tourists. During the horseback safari tour, they match you up with a horse that meets your skills and needs. If you’re a beginner or an expert at riding, they have different types of horses specifically for your skill set. I think that’s a really great idea, especially for little kids riding. This experience has leadership and teamwork, which is also a learning lesson throughout the tour. You guide the horse where you want to go, he listens and cooperates with you, and that’s what you call teamwork. Everyone should try this at least once in their life. It’s truly life changing.

It was really nice that I got to pick my horse out of the ones they assigned to me. It’s also really cool to ride up close and personal to the roaming animals of The Wilds. This is a memory I will never forget. I’ll never stop telling my friends and family about it and how they should give it a try. In conclusion, this experience was very unique. I learned how to put trust into another species as well as myself.


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