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New giraffe exhibit allows an up close and personal experience for visitors

Visitors can feed the 2 new giraffes by hand at the African Safari Wildlife Park in Port Clinton.

PORT CLINTON, Ohio — After losing three giraffes to a fire nearly two years ago, the African Safari Wildlife Park recently welcomed two to the family.

With the new additions also comes a new, up close and personal exhibit.

"The giraffe are our favorite animals here, but we know they are guests' favorite. So we wanted to let people get up close and personal outside your car," said Kelsey Keller, director of the African Safari Wildlife Park.

Recently opened at the African Safari Wildlife Park in Port Clinton, a new giraffe habitat is now available for visitors of its walk-thru safari.

$5 for three leaves gets you a chance to stand right next to the giant creatures; a perspective many other giraffe feeding experiences don't offer.

Credit: WTOL 11

"Actually, I've seen many of them, but it's one of the first that you actually get to see up at it," said Debra Darling, who was visiting from Florida. "You get the whole body." 

"It is incredible. A lot of times zoos have you up on a platform, so you don't really realize how big his head is and how big his feet are," said Keller.

The giraffes, 18-year-old Randle and 16-year-old Bingwa, were life-long Florida Zoo residents and will now spend their "retirement" years here in the 419 munching on snacks from visitors.

Credit: Jon Monk
The new giraffe enclosure was created from a previous overflow parking and wooded area.

Currently, feeding times are limited from 10 a.m. to noon, and from 1 to 3 p.m.

Next season, once these giraffes get a little more acclimated to feeding in person, they're going to expand those hours.

"But we've got to get these guys conditioned to feeding. He seems to be doing pretty well this morning, I think the cool weather, which we're going to have all weekend, is really making him want to stay with me and not hide in the shade," said Keller.

After the Labor Day weekend, the African Safari Wildlife Park will be open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., and extended weekend hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.