Wagon Trails Animal Park in Vienna open for drive through customers
Wagon Trails Animal Park in Vienna was always a popular place for school field trips and families with kids. With Coronavirus shutting down the state and social distancing in place, the park wasn’t sure if they would be able to open.
“It’s six months to feed all these animals for a year and that was something we were very concerned about,” said Christine Bertok, whose family owns the park.
The park decided to reinvent itself and has been open for about two weeks for drive through customers.
“We just couldn’t be happier,” Bertok said. “We didn’t know how well received it would be and it just exceeded our expectations in every way and people are so happy and just thrilled to be here and we’re thrilled to see them because we’re just so grateful we’re able to do this.”
Bertok said it took them about three weeks to get the park ready.
“We had to haul in a lot of gravel, do little changes here and there, move some things, move some animals,” Bertok said. “We had to change insurance, didn’t see that coming. We had to make a lot of signs, I’d say three weeks and we were ready to go but we were working hard to get ready.”
You can’t feed the animals for safety reasons but you will still see many of the more than 350 animals from six different continents.
“On our YouTube channel, we did a narration, it’s not going to be as long as you would get on the safari truck but it will have some animal facts, it will talk about the antlers as you go in and then you are going to follow the exact same path as the safari so you will go past the big barns, you get to drive over the coy bridge where the coy fish are, through the back, through the big barn,” Bertok said. “Nobody is driving through the water like the trucks used to, we didn’t do that so we skipped that part and then at the end you will go past the pond again and you will end up at the last stop with the zebra and the ostrich.”
The only animals you won’t encounter are the famous camels.
“We love the camels, the camels are the characters here, however, they proved to be not worthy around cars, no one would have windshield wipers or anything left on their cars so they had to go back to their winter home here but yeah, we are sad about that but I don’t think anyone would be thrilled about the condition of their car afterwards,” Bertok said.
People are also encouraged to go at their own pace, take stops and take their time driving through.
Bertok says they also set everything up so people will feel safe.
“We’re all about fun here but right now but we’re all about safety and that is our way to be completely safe and in the ticket booth here too. We have masks on, we wipe down, we have a drop box, you can put your money in and then off you go almost like a drive through if you were getting a cup of coffee, although we’re not giving you coffee,” Bertok said.
At the end of the day though, Wagon Trails Animal Park just hopes this will give people something to do and feel safe.
“I just want them to enjoy getting out of the house and feel safe,” said Bertok. “There’s no anxiety, you are not going to be around other people. You can bring your grandma, you can bring your kids, you can bring your newborn baby, we’ve had families come with tiny, tiny babies, you’re safe in your car. Kids are thrilled to get out, it’s just a nice day out.”
Adults cost $10 and kids are $5. The park is open everyday except for Tuesdays.
Currently the gift shop and petting zoo remain closed, but they hope to open soon.