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Wilstem Ranch in Paoli, IN

Wilstem Ranch in Paoli, IN

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.

We’ve heard some people refer to it as the elephant ranch in Indiana. Which is a pretty accurate name for this unexpected place to see elephants in Indiana.

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, we 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 “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.

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.

Lemur Encounter

The lemur encounter is located inside of the Roos and Crew area. Should you have lemur fans in your family, this is the perfect add on to your time at Wilstem. The number of participants allowed in each encounter is limited so that you can have one on one time with the lemurs.

Grizzly Encounter

There are several options for the Grizzly encounter and the price ranges from just a basic time with the grizzlies to preparing their breakfast.

The encounters range from $29 per person to $99 per person depending on the level of access you’d like to have with the grizzlies.

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!

Spa Appointment with Elephant Encounter

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

Other activities at Wilstem Ranch

Since the inception of Wilstem Ranch, there have been other non animal related activies added to the list of offerings.
Guests can choose from side by side ATV tours, zip-lining and horseback riding.

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.  You can see more details about the cabins here. 

Pricing at Wilstem Ranch

There isn’t an admission fee to enter the property but each attraction is priced individually. Our best suggestion is to price out the attractions that you and your family will want to do ahead of time so that you don’t have sticker shock.

Wilstem Ranch Hours

The ranch is open 7 days a week (except major holidays) and the ticketing office for encounter reservations is open 8am – 5pm.

Roos and Crew is open from 9am – 5pm. The various other attractions are open at different times depending on the schedule for the day.

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

Ever want to get up close and personal with an elephant or feed a giraffe? The Wilstem Ranch in Indiana or otherwise known as the elephant ranch offers all of that and more!