Instead, we decided to have a belated anniversary date once we got to Eureka Springs. It was a fun day, but not what we had planned! We went to the Promised Land Zoo at their Eagle Rock location, which is just outside of Eureka Springs. We had a good time while we were there, but I will say, I was disappointed overall by the quality. I'll start with the downsides.
Our tickets were $16.95 each, & included the drive thru park, petting zoo, baby bottle feedings, & parakeet paradise. The website advertised & implied much more than what we got to actually experience.
On the website, the drive thru park advertises free range bison (my favorite!), deer, camels, llamas, & more. I called ahead to see if we got to interact with the bison, & the worker said she wasn't sure. We got there, & there weren't any bison at all. Unless they were somehow all hiding somewhere, there were none. That's something a worker should know - & they're prominently shown on the site. Also, the drive thru park was 99% emus & deer. The rest was mostly fenced in animals that couldn't approach the car.
As for the petting zoo, it wasn't really a petting zoo. The website advertises that it is in fact a petting zoo that includes lemurs, small mammals, reptiles, & tropical birds, among other things. All of the animals were fenced in, & we were on the opposite side of the fence. We were given a cup of animal feed & could feed about 1/3 of the animals, & you could kind of pet some of them while you fed them. But most of these animals were farm animals I could see for free at friends' houses, & most of the exotic animals (like the lemurs, exotic cats, & reptiles) were blocked off so you couldn't get close. That's definitely not a "petting zoo."
We saw a building with tropical birds, & I assume that's where the parakeet paradise is. The website says that you can feed some of the birds, but there were only two people working, & neither of them came outside to open the building up for us. One of the parrots kept saying "hello" to us though, so that was entertaining!
I was most excited for the baby bottle feedings. The website says, "Not only can you look at camels and zebras, pygmy goats and baby calves, but you can also pet them and feed them a bottle!" The site shows photos of people feeding baby camels & zebras. While I realize that they can't force animals to have babies constantly, it doesn't imply that they consistently have babies for people to feed. The site also says to arrive early, because feedings are first come, first serve. So we arrived right when the park opened, & were the only ones there. When I asked, the worker said that feedings weren't for another three hours, & they only had three baby cows available to feed. Obviously, we didn't stick around for that.
All that being said, we still had a good time. We stayed for about an hour total, starting out feeding the animals in the "petting zoo." I absolutely LOVE goats, so I enjoyed hanging out with all of their goats & feeding them, & watching them greedily follow us around to beg for more food. Laker liked the kangaroos most, & gave one little fella a lot of attention. The drive thru zoo was a neat experience, mostly because there were sooo many emus. It almost reminded me of Jurassic Park, & I could understand the whole "dinosaurs came from birds" argument for the first time, watching them run around & swarm the car.
When we got back to the house, my parents were about to leave to go grocery shopping, which meant a trip to another town an hour away. We tagged along, & were so glad we did, because their Walmart had a Pollo Campero! For those who aren't familiar, Pollo Campero is a fast food chain that originated in Guatemala. My in-laws grew up in Guatemala & Honduras, so they love to go to Pollo Campero whenever we come across one because the chicken is cooked similarly to how it was when they were growing up. They also have more traditional drinks & sides that are fun to try. Last time I got plantains & horchata, & this time I got street corn salad, an empanada, & guava juice.
Then it was back to the house!