Friday Postcards from Rainforest Adventures in Sevierville, Tenn.
It’s not everyday that you meet a hybrid pigeon or fancy chicken that was rescued from a bizarre breeding ring. Or a cameron alligator who was fished out of the local river and plaguing the residents who called the river banks home. I saw all of this and more when I visited Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo in Sevierville, Tenn.
When you visit this tiny zoo, what you might not see is the team working behind the scenes. They swoop in when wildlife officers find rare and exotic animals being mistreated or illegally bred and have no idea what to do with them. This isn’t just a zoo for visitors to ogle animals; it is a safe haven for many animals who have not been treated well.
Not all of the animals were taken from their original owners though. Many are rare and endangered species that have been bred in captivity to make sure their species survives, or have been hurt in the wild and are not fit to return to their native habitats. Some have been moved from their home zoo because they weren’t getting along with their proposed mate or the rest of their tribe, while others are waiting to be moved to larger zoos.
Other small zoos may show their wear and tear, or not have the means to take care of the animals they have. This is not the case at Rainforest Adventures. The staff proves they care again and again, even going so far as to volunteer their time to make sure animals recover from trauma. You will see owner Bill Lucey in the muck with the rest of his crew, constantly educating the public on why these creatures are so important and must be treasured.
At least one animal show a day occurs to let visitors get just a little bit closer to the creatures that call this zoo home. If you happen to miss the show, have no fear. You can step outside to feed the sheep and goats, and if you are really lucky, you will meet Larry, a 2-week-old goat (when I met him) who acts more like a puppy than a goat. He was struggling to survive after being born and wasn’t feeding off his mother. The staff took turns feeding him around the clock and he is now thriving as one of the cutest addition to the Rainforest family.
I know a lot of people have issues with zoos and aquariums; many won’t even step foot in them. However, when it comes to protecting creatures and rescuing them from horrible living conditions (python in a frat house anyone? Ugh!), you really can’t turn a blind eye. The team at Rainforest Adventures isn’t looking to give you a grand show and make their animals jump through hoops (unless of course the animals feel like it that day). They want to educate the public so they know not to try to breed these animals at home, and also give you a glimpse of the beauty our world has to offer.
READ FIRST: Welcome to Friday Postcards, a place where I will share a small memory or “postcard” moment from our travels. I hope you will join me too. Link your favorite photo-driven post here if you have a blog so we can share the joys of traveling with each other. If you would like to spread the word, please link back to this post in your own post so others will know where to find a little travel inspiration to end their week. #fridaypostcards
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