For years I’ve wanted to take the kids to Wildlife Safari, but it’s just far enough south that it never made sense to try and pack it into a trip from Seattle. Someday when we live closer, I used to think, a little morosely. Was I sad about not being within easy driving distance of what was surely an overpriced, cheesy operation filled with depressed animals pacing restless circles in their horrible enclosures which were roiling with exhaust fumes and peppered with junk food thrown from car windows? Yes I was, dammit.
It took us a year, but we finally made a trip of it this weekend — and as it turns out, Wildlife Safari isn’t depressing at all. It’s actually pretty goddamned great: filled with contented-looking beasts, beautifully located in a pocket of Eden-like greenery among southern Oregon’s gorgeous rolling hills, and at $60 for the four of us, not a bad deal considering we spent at least a couple of satisfying hours there.
We stayed the night in Roseburg just to make the visit last longer, and found a place on the Umpqua to play during Saturday’s summery weather.
Everything about this weekend — the pretty drive, the fun of exploring a new town, the delight on the kids’ faces when they saw the animals, even the tumble and chaos of sharing a hotel room — was perfect. The sort of memories I wish I could flatten between the pages of a book, run my finger over them years from now and remember everything exactly as it was.