To be honest, I’d never heard of Hidden Valley Animal Adventure until recently, and I’m kinda bummed about that. This place is wild – in the best way possible. We made this a total family event and brought along our big girls and our little ones. Everyone had a blast.
The park is just outside of Erie County in Varysburg, Wyoming County (about 45 minutes from downtown Buffalo). It’s not very far, but feels like 1,000 miles from civilization.
We arrived at the park on a warm, Sunday afternoon and the first thing we noticed was the gorgeous scenery. We made our way to the lodge to figure out how the adventure works. We weren’t sure what to expect.
It’s rather simple. You get your ticket, line up on the dock area and wait for the trolley to take you on the adventure. A trolley leaves the station every 20 minutes or so. We checked out the fish, ducks and geese in the pond while we waited.
The trolley was clean and comfortable. You can’t bring a stroller on board (although it is wheelchair accessible), which was fine for us since baby Ella wouldn’t have stayed in it anyway. So, we left our stroller parked on the dock. No biggie. Each person gets a large plastic cup filled with grain to feed the animals. My 4-year-old, Emma, was beyond excited. We all were.
We sat in the back of the trolley, listened to the dos and don’ts for the ride and we were off. There were about 20 people on board. We were pleasantly surprised at how close we got to the animals. Like, super-duper close.
The tour guide was very informative although we did have a hard time hearing her at times, so sitting up front is better if you want to hear all of the fun facts about the animals. We got the gist of it.
Every few minutes, the trolley stops and different animals come up to it - and you. Then, you feed them. The animals seemed to love it and so did all of the folks on the trolley. Especially the kids. It’s neat. And crazy. But, so fun.
Emma literally giggled through the entire adventure. We got up close with the wild animals as camels, zebras, wildebeests and more came right up to the trolley.
Each stop is long enough to feed the animals, take some pictures and check them out. Then, the trolley moves along to the next bunch.
The ride is 55 minutes long – which really flew by. There is also a small animal area which is fun, but the highlight is the trolley ride. We could have gone through a few more times and it would have been just as fun. I wish it was just a big longer.
Now, I will warn you – the smell is a bit, not great but they are wild animals, after all. It is an exciting and interesting ride. It’s nice to just sit, relax and not worry about driving yourself though the park. The trolley is covered – giving you shade – but it is still a bit warm on the ride.
We did not eat, but you can. The Trailside Grill and Bar is open limited hours from Thursday though Sunday. It offers casual dining including soup ($4), salads ($7-$12), burgers and sandwiches ($9 and up) and pizza ($15).
The park has special events including a Father’s Day Barbecue on June 19. It also host weddings and other private parties with a few hotel rooms for overnight accommodations.
The 63-acre animal park is pretty neat and believe it or not they’ve been open for six years. It is an experience you won’t soon forget.
The entire day was really fun for all of us. We loved learning about and feeding the animals. It was safe, thrilling and we can’t wait to go back.
It is a bit pricey for a family but the kids loved it and still talk about it now – a few weeks later. You totally get what you pay for and more.
HIDDEN VALLEY ANIMAL ADVENTURE
2887 Royce Road, Varysburg
Cost: Adults, $18.75; children 3-10, $14.75; under 2, free
Hours: Currently open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Daily hours begin June 10 with public tours starting at 10 a.m. See website for the full schedule.