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Get Out of Town, | May 09, 2018

Meet the elephants in the room


Paoli isn't the African savanna, but you can still have a safari experience.


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After learning about African elephants, visitors can touch them and take photos. /Photo by Anna Makris

Three African elephants -- Makia, Lou and Lovie – spend the summer and fall months at Wilstem Ranch. Owner Jerry Fuhs and his family house many animals at the ranch, including giraffes and kangaroos, but the elephants are special guests, and visitors can get to know them personally.

The girls, as they are fondly called, spend the winter months in Florida, where they graze at their owners' home. When they stopped at the ranch on the way to an event two years ago, they brought so much interest that their owners decided to continue bringing them back.

“They all have their own personalities,” says Audrey Brames, the marketing director for the ranch. Makia is the matriarch, and Lou is laid-back and loving. Lovie is the teenager of the group. They roam the ranch’s 1,100 acres of rolling pastures. Brames stresses that Wilstem Ranch is not a zoo. “You go to the zoo to see animals,” she says, “but you come to Wilstem to meet them.”

Visitors can choose between the two-hour Spa Experience, where for $79 you can give the girls a bath and a pedicure, and the one-hour Elephant Encounter, where you can interact with the elephants and learn about them for $29 (children under 2 are free).People come to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries or even marriage proposals, Brames says. Don’t forget your tissues -- tears are a common sight when meeting the gentle giants.TIP:

Elephants aren’t the only attraction at the ranch. Wilstem’s giraffes and kangaroos are there year round. You’ll also find zipline tours, horseback trail rides, ATV tours and cabins starting at $139 per night.

INFORMATION:
When the elephants are there: March 10 - November 4

Where: Wilstem Ranch, Paoli

For more information, visit wilstemranch.com.

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