Wilstem Ranch in Paoli, IN

Wilstem Ranch - Elephant Encounter

My family recently had the pleasure of an afternoon at Wilstem Ranch, located in Southern Indiana.  This quaint ranch is nestled between the small towns of French Lick and West Baden Springs, Indiana, about an hour outside Louisville.

You know you’ve arrived when you go over one of the prettiest covered bridges you’ve ever seen.  We could help but hum the theme song from Beetlejuice as we went over it.

From that first impression, I liked the place already!

Wilstem Ranch Paoli, Indiana

Roos and Crew

We had an hour to spare before our main attraction so we went to visit the new “Roos and Crew” facility where we looked at snakes, an iguana, pig, goats, and kangaroos.

The facility was nice and clean and the staff was knowledgeable and seemed to truly care about the animals in their care.  It would have been nice to see a little more stimulation for the animals, such as toys for the kangaroos.  The animals just seemed a bit bored, but their enclosures were nice and clean and I did see outdoor enclosures.

Giraffe Encounter in Paoli, Indiana

The “Roos and Crew” building is also where you can see the two giraffes, Bert and Jabari.  They do offer a giraffe encounter where you can get up close and personal with these gorgeous creatures.  We were fortunate to be there on a quiet weekday and were able to feed and pet the giraffes on our own.

Elephants at Wilstem Ranch:

The main attraction for us was the Elephant Spa Encounter.  We participated in a fun interactive encounter with the ranches 3 female elephants.  These big girls are every bit “retired” as they recently returned from their winter in Florida with the rest of the snowbirds.  They will be at Wilstem Ranch early March through early November, roaming their 10-acre enclosure, before heading back to the sunshine state.

Elephant Encounter in Paoli, IN

The Spa Package is for the elephants, not for us tired moms in case you were wondering.  You will spend an hour with other guests bathing all three of the elephants, Makia, Lovie and Lou.  It is apparent that the elephants are enjoying the pampering as you get to work hosing and scrubbing these gentle giants.  Guests will take turns soaping, rinsing, and painting their front toenails with mineral moisturizer.

The second half of this encounter is the Elephant Encounter which can also be purchased separately. This hour is an interesting Q&A with their handler Jorge Barreda.  The elephants will do some demonstrations and show off a bit of their adorable personalities, like playing the harmonica with their nostrils.  Ask questions and then take photos with the elephants to show off to all your friends!

Where to stay while visiting Wilstem Ranch

Wilstem Ranch would be a great place for a short getaway given it’s proximity to French Lick and West Baden Springs.  Wilstem Ranch offers pet-friendly cabin rentals if you are looking to stay in the area.  There are several other outdoor adventures in the area, including zip lining, hiking, horseback riding and more.

Pricing at Wilstem Ranch

Spa Appointment with Elephant Encounter

$79 adults, $69 children, children 2 and under are free

Elephant Encounter

$29 per person, children 2 and under are free

Giraffe/Kangaroo Encounter

$25 per person, children 2 and under are free

*Tickets to this attraction were provided to us free of charge, however, our opinions our are own.

Ever wanted to get up close and personal with an elephant? Wilstem Ranch offers a chance to pet a giraffe and even help give an elephant a pedicure!

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