On the Olympic Peninsula, we are so lucky to be surrounded by wildlife. I have the pleasure of seeing deer, rabbits, and eagles soaring overhead outside my office window regularly – it is truly magical. But rarely, does the chance arise to interact with wild animals.
My other half, Jake, and I are both HUGE animal lovers, so I decided was time to make a trip out to the Olympic Game Farm. The Olympic Game Farm is located in Sequim, a 40 minute drive from Port Ludlow. All of the animals at the Game Farm, including bears, bison, elk, peacocks, yaks, lions, llamas, and more are either rescue animals or overflow from other licensed animal facilities.
The Olympic Game Farm is owned by the Beebe family and in 1942, Lloyd Beebe bought the land that is now the game farm for dairy farming. Around the same time, Walt Disney Studios began producing nature films as the family began taking in wild animal orphans and filming short movies of their own.
Disney Studios invited the Bebees to Hollywood to discuss filming nature movies on the Olympic Peninsula and thus began the relationship between the Olympic Game Farm and Disney Studios which lasted for many years. After Walt Disney’s passing in 1965, Disney Studios slowly began to phase out nature films and in 1972, the Beebees opened the Olympic Game Farm to the public.
Jake and I headed out to the Game Farm on a Saturday morning for the driving tour of the farm. The driving tour takes about an hour, but on a busy summer weekend, it can take a bit longer. When we arrived we were greeted by a friendly staff member who provided us with a map of the Game Farm and we were able to purchase whole wheat bread to feed the animals. Both Jake and I were so excited and our enthusiasm was palpable.
The tour started with views of ravens, prairie dogs, peacocks and assortment of birds. As I looked out at the animals on at the Game Park it is hard to not be overwhelmed by both spectacular views of the Peninsula and the sights of different animals everywhere you look.
Deer and yaks visited us at the car as we happily greeted them with the whole wheat bread and it Jake and I were both laughing as we saw several llamas that seemed to be very uninterested in the food.
We drove over to the bear fields where some bears were snuggling (so cute!), others were relaxing, and the rest were ready for you to give them some bread. As we left the bear fields we headed into the predator area with wolves, foxes, and tigers.
The most wild and exciting part of our tour took place in the “High Risk Areas”. As long as you abide by the Game Park’s rules, I would say the High Risk stands for a High Risk of hysterical laughter. Buffalo would poke their heads into the car and one slobbered all over Jake and as deer chased the car begging for us bread. Jake and I laughed until our stomachs hurt and we were blue in the face.
After finishing our tour, I had some of the most fun I have had in a long time. I rode a camel! As I waited turn to ride the camel I enjoyed the beautiful views of the Olympic Mountains. It was finally my turn. I mounted the camel and to my excitement and surprise the camel’s name was Chester – my last name! Thankfully, my enthusiasm was matched by the camel handler’s as he has worked with camels for over three years and was incredibly informative. He told me that camels are more like elephants than horses and that their memories are fantastic. I had a new respect and understanding of this majestic beast.
It isn’t every day that you can get slobbered on by a buffalo, feed yaks, and ride a camel. This unique experience is not only fun but informative and gives you a deep respect for the animals. The Olympic Game Farm is a great activity for adults and children alike.
The Olympic Game Farm is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day and your ticket into the Game Farm is valid for the entire day – so take your time and drive through the farm as many times as you please. You will make memories that will surely last long after your time at the farm is done.
Written by: Kaitlin Chester