Have you ever had this happen? Everything you had planned just didn’t work out the way it should and what finally happened was so great that you wish you had planned that in the first place? Well, that very thing happened to a group of my friends and me just this week.
We were having a girls’ brunch with several activities arranged for the rest of the day. For several reasons, nothing was working out according to the schedule. It seemed that this was going to be a disappointing day. Then, as we sat around the table after a very nice brunch, our hostess said, “Who wants to go to Oasis?”
We all looked at each other. “What’s Oasis?” we asked in unison.
“Oh,” she smiled. “It will be a surprise!”
So, trusting friends that we are, we all piled into our cars and headed out over hill and dale, across gently rambling streams and past picturesque homesteads until we came to the entrance marked ‘Oasis’.
Oasis, it turns out, is an exotic wildlife preserve. Smack in the middle of northeast Oklahoma. It is billed as an animal adventure and an animal therapy center for abused children and their families through the equine-assisted learning program. It is open for field trips and you can even book it for birthday parties.
The animals who live at Oasis include sloths, zebras, kangaroos, ringtail lemurs, donkeys, sheep, cattle, goats, a bearded dragon, camels, chickens, turtles, and peacocks. It is a wonderful menagerie! And it is hands-on. Where else can you go to get to touch with nature and interact with the animals on such a personal level?
When we were there, a baby sloth was on display. I have to admit that sloths are not my favorite animal but it was interesting to learn about them and their habitat. Sloths are an endangered species, so I think it behooves us to learn more about them and try to reverse the trend. They fill a valuable niche, even if it is not always apparent to us as humans. Once something is gone, there is no bringing it back.
Another animal that we were able to hold and learn more about was a six-month-old kangaroo joey. He was very calm and, wrapped in his pouch, seemed comfortable being cuddled and petted by all the people who wanted a chance to get their hands on him. His handlers were knowledgeable and eager to share information that would enlighten the audience about these Australian marsupials.
I, being the animal lover that I am, could not wait to get my hands on the newborn camel on exhibit. He was just a month old and looked very much like a big dog. The instant I saw him, I fell in love. The moment I touched him, I became a babbling idiot! If you have never snuggled up to a baby camel, you have not lived! The hair is short and curly and so soft it feels like air beneath your fingertips. When I hugged him to me, he made soft, contented sounds deep in his throat. He recognized a mamma’s touch when he felt it.
I didn’t want to leave him there. I would have brought him home with me had I still lived in the country and actually owned a place large enough to house a full-grown camel. City ordinances where I live now probably don’t allow for a camel in the backyard. I don’t know what I would have actually done with a camel, but I would have faced that another day…
Our time at Oasis was an enjoyable experience and worth the drive through the beautiful green country of northeast Oklahoma to get there. It is a wonderful destination for a day trip. I highly recommend it. You can find out more information at www.OasisAnimals.com. When you go, please say ‘hello’ to my little friend, the camel. You won’t be disappointed!
Oh, yeah. There are camel rides, too.