By TMoM Team Member Laura Dydek
Heading off on a new adventure with a one year old is always risky! Will he behave? Will he be entertained? Will it be worth skipping a nap? What I can say about Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville, is YES to all of that and more! This trip was worth every penny and the entire family had a blast! The Lazy 5 Ranch is basically a drive-thru zoo. You can usually drive through in your own car, or enjoy a wagon ride. Because we decided to visit the park during COVID, we weren’t sure exactly what to expect. The entire park is currently closed except for the drive-thru option, which can safely be left open during this time because your family does not exit your vehicle the entirety of your visit.
You enter the park through the front gate and an employee is in a ticket booth taking payment. Please be aware they only accept cash! The park costs $11 per adult and $8 for children 2-11 and Seniors over 60 (under 2 is free). You can also purchase food to feed the animals at this booth for $3 a bucket. I would recommend 2-3 buckets. We purchased 2 and ran out before the end of the trip (my husband was quite generous with the animals at the beginning and we learned quickly we had to be more careful with our rations).
We went to the park at 9:00am (right when the park opens) on a Wednesday morning. We did not wait in line at all. When reading reviews online to prepare for our trip, others have waited hours to enter the park! My suggestion would be to go on a weekday and as early as possible to avoid a long line! Another perk of going early is avoiding the heat. Your windows are down during the entire drive so you can interact with the animals, so it can get very warm! We packed a cooler with waters for us to sip on during the tour and a few snacks, as it took us about an hour and a half to drive through the whole park.
The second our car went through the front gate, we were surrounded by animals! I was shocked! I did not realize just how up close and personal we really would get with all of the animals. They have no fear and are eager for a snack. My one year old was squealing with delight and it brought this momma so much joy! Emus, Ostriches, pigs, antelopes, and llamas surrounded our car within seconds! We had fun throwing the food out the window for them, and even offering them the bucket to help themselves (this is how we emptied the first bucket very quickly).
Animals come and go while you slowly make your way through the park. You are free to stop and go as you please to feed and take pictures, but you must remain inside your car the entire time (and its encouraged that you pull to the side to allow other cars to pass). Another thing worth mentioning is that we did find a few very minor bumps and scratches on our car after this trip. This is to be expected as some of these animals have horns and antlers and they get very up close and personal with your vehicle. Just something to keep in mind when visiting in your own car.
We saw deer, ducks, cows, zebras, elk, sheep, giraffes, and many more animals I could not name (they are all listed on Lazy 5’s website)! My husband and I truly had as much fun as my son. When we returned to the park entrance, we noticed all the additional exhibits they have available during normal business hours (pre-COVID). There are petting zoos, picnic areas, playgrounds, and many more up-close animal exhibits, as well as the option of the horse-drawn wagon ride through the park! Once they are able to safely open the farm back up to normal capacity, you could easily spend the entire day exploring there! We were able to get out of the car after our tour to use the restroom and the handwashing stations that were available (all of which were very organized and clean). We had a great time on our visit to Lazy 5 Ranch and are already planning our next trip! Visit their website here for hours of operation, rates, and COVID updates.
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