For my first visit to Wilstem Ranch, I tried an adventure on their ATV tour that gave me more confidence that I could drive an ATV successfully over challenging terrain. For my second adventure at Wilstem Ranch, I discovered another reason that I HAD to go back.
An opportunity to encounter an elephant up close.Make that, three Elephants.
Makia, Luvy, and Lou are female African elephants that range from ages 31-42.
The Elephant Retreat at Wilstem Ranch offers guests a unique adventure that is hard to top with elephants.
You get to interact with elephants in an encounter that takes you up close and allows you to help with their pampering process as they enjoy living out their retirement. The elephants are at Wilstem Ranch from mid-March until the end of October and then they enjoy the warmer weather at their home in Florida with no public visits.
We participated in the Spa Appointment. It’s a two hour experience that starts with a small group where you take turn assisting with the bath time of 3 elephants. During the first hour, they get their baths and then you join a larger group for an education Seminar during the 2nd hour.
The Spa Appointments are extremely popular and I would recommend making reservations in advance to get your desired date. When you arrive at Wilstem Ranch, you check in at the main building and then take a very short bus ride to the area where the elephants are.
The elephants get baths twice a day and the retreats help pay for their care as they live out their retirement years. The average age of an elephant is 50-60 years.
My older son and I got to help scrub an elephant. I got the front half and he got the back. It was so amazing to be up close to such a magnificent animal. I loved that we were part of the pampering process.
What a cool experience to share together with my family too! How often can you say that you helped give an elephant with your teenage son?
We were guided as to wear to scrub and what sections to focus on. You can’t forget to scrub behind their giant ears.
My younger son and husband assisted with the mineral treatment on the elephant’s toenails.
It was great to observe people of ALL ages experience giving the elephants the spa treatment. Some people helped hose down the elephant, add the special bath wash, some scrubbed, and others did the pedicure of a mineral treatment on their feet.
The Educational Seminar teaches you about their tusks, what the elephants eat, how they use their trunks and the differences between the species.
A few kids in the audience helped show how the elephants use their trunk as they gave them a special treat.
There is also an opportunity to Q & A at the end. We learned so much during our session. After the educational seminar, guests were allowed to gently touch and take pictures with the elephants.
When our session ended, we watched the elephants go back out to the pasture to enjoy the rest of their day relaxing on 10 acres. They have a weather protected structure for sleeping that protects them from the elements.
They say that elephants never forget, but we will never forget this awesome experience!
Pricing and Hours at the time of our visit.
(Check website for the most up to date information)
You can find out more about the Elephant Retreat at Wilstem Ranch from their website.
Tuesdays-Saturdays at 9:30and 3:00 EST,
Sundays at 10:30 and 3:00 EST.
$59.00 for adults,
$49.00 for seniors and children under 12.
Children 2 and under are FREE.
*NO OPEN TOED SHOES FOR THE SPA!
Tuesdays-Saturdays at 10:30 and 4:00 EST
Sundays at 11:30 and 4:00 EST.
The cost is $25.00 per person.
(No price breaks for seniors or children.)
Children 2 and under are FREE.
Wilstem Ranch is located at 4237 W Us Highway 150, Paoli, IN 47454.
Thanks to Wilstem Ranch for hosting our visit. All opinions are my own.