When one of my friends told me about Lazy 5 Ranch a few years ago, I couldn’t quite grasp the concept of driving your car through a property full of free-roaming wild animals. Located in Mooresville, NC north of Charlotte, the “drive through animal park” is privately owned and has been a family favorite in the Carolinas since 1993. On my first visit to Lazy 5 last year, I almost gave up on finding the place after driving several miles into rural Mooresville. I finally spotted the Lazy 5 sign, pointing out the grazing animals to my then-one and a half year old daughter Katie.
The budget-friendly admission price makes Lazy 5 even more appealing for a family outing- only $9.50 for adults, $6.50 for kids 2-11 and free for kids under 2 (cash only). Make sure to pick up a feed bucket ($3.00) or two to ensure your appeal to animals (and prepare to find wayward pieces in your car for months).
We returned to Lazy 5 this past Mother’s Day with my husband, first checking out the mini-zoo past the entrance before venturing on the wildlife tour. Katie loved the friendly llamas, who nudged each other in competition for some of our feed.
You can sign up for a wagon ride through the property, but many people drive the 3.5 mile loop in their own cars. At the start of the tour, we cruised past pigs and ostriches who either ignored us or looked out for a snack. We let a few ostriches poke their heads inside our car for some feed, laughing as they pecked a few bites and leaned in for more.
More than 750 animals from 6 continents live at Lazy 5 – from goats and deer to zebras and camels.
You can always keep your windows closed to avoid getting up close and personal with the animals, but watching this cow slobber all over my husband was priceless.
The giraffes and rhino reside separately from the other animals.
Our Lazy 5 visit was the perfect outing for Mother’s Day – we will definitely make this at least an annual event. If you can time leaving the ranch with dinner, Mooresville boasts some great BBQ spots such as Lancaster’s.
Check out this clip of Carolina Traveler featuring Lazy 5: http://youtu.be/HDCig8xPxjE. For more information, visit: http://www.lazy5ranch.com/