Winston Wildlife Safari

Right at the tail end of Spring Break, Cameron and I decided that while we were still in Corvallis we would make the drive to go do something that had been on my “Oregon Bucket List” for awhile. We made the 3 hour drive south to go check out the Wildlife Safari in Winston Oregon! Being situated in Corvallis, we are south of where we intend to move in May (Portland) so we thought it was the perfect time to take advantage of being an hour and a half closer. 
I want to put a disclaimer in this post that we heard that the wildlife park had faced some animal rights backlash prior to our visit. We contemplated not going, but did research into the claims and found them to be misleading and mixed. Animals in captivity and the welfare of animals in zoos and aquariums is something that has always been important to me, so with that in mind I never want to knowingly recommend something that endangers them. Do your research, always choose facilities that are AZA accredited, and decide to support conservation based organizations. I want to keep this post timeless so just in case there was something we missed when looking into it or new information comes out, I thought I would mention our experience in choosing this particular visit.
With all of that said, our impression was that the animals were well cared for and we were overwhelmed with the habitats and landscape. I personally didn’t see any animals in situations that were exploitive or put in situations for human entertainment during my time there.
Getting there is pretty straightforward, it’s just off I5 and there are plenty of signs directing you when you get close to the exit. If you are looking for somewhere to eat and you are coming from Portland or Corvallis stop in Eugene (recommendations here) along the way.
Here are some of the animal friends we saw on our drive. In case you are wondering, we kept a pretty good distance from the animals in our vehicle but we were able to get really close photos of them with this telephoto lens. I have had it for awhile and this excursion was a great excuse to try it out.

One ticket buys you twice around the loop and it took us a good two hours to complete, some people went much faster than us but we wanted to stop and observe so we didn’t even end up needing the second run. Pricing is per person and not per car, so check Groupon if you want to find a better deal. The course is huge and is divided into sections with animals from different regions so give yourself enough time to experience it.

Depending on the animals schedules, sometimes keepers are out to talk to you about the animals and offer food to feed them. During our time there, the grizzly bears were very active and were accepting fruit from the keepers and visitors. We chose not to feed them, but got some amazing pictures and learned more about the bears individual habits and personalities from the roadside staff. One of them was very enthused with the activity, and the other was snoozed over a log the whole time. Very cool to see them so close.

Another animal that gave us some unexpected camera time was the giraffes! One minute they were eating and then they started making their way over so we stopped the car until they passed. They were so huge it is overwhelming, and they spent a ton of time munching the various trees nearby.

When you are finished with your drive, there is a walking zoo near the parking lot that is completely free to visit! They have a ton of animals there, way more than I expected! So if you are on an I5 road trip with your family, this is definitely worth a pit stop for the bathroom break alone but also the free activity! They have fish, snakes, kangaroos, a petting zoo, flamingos, tamarins, parakeets, and two rehabilitated alligators that we ended up not seeing because it was winter time 🙁 As you guys may know I love alligators and crocodiles so this totally bummed me out, haha.

They also have native Pacific Northwest animals like cougars and birds of prey!

We really enjoyed our visit and I wanted to post this in depth review to share just some of the 1000+ pictures we took there. Winston Wildlife Safari will definitely be added to my Oregon Guide with a link to this post so check that out if you guys are making a road trip up to Oregon any time soon. Definitely something to see and experience if you love watching animals!

You can learn more about the Wildlife Safari here.


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