You know it is a great family friendly destination when your kids say “we want to go again”…before your day is done. On our visit to Hidden Valley Animal Adventure that is exactly what happened. The kids loved it!
Nestled among beautiful landscape in Varysburg, New York, you will find Hidden Valley Animal Adventure. A unique and family fun animal experience where you can feed water buffalo and get close with a camel. My family was invited to visit and we were so happy we did. It went beyond my expectations and it is a great place for families.
We love to do day trips from our home outside Rochester, New York. We have visited Corning Museum of Glass for the day and visited Niagara Falls for a ride on the Maid of the Mist. Rochester is a great location for family day trip destinations and we were excited to add Hidden Valley Animal Adventure to our list.
Hidden Valley Animal Adventure is home to over 400 animals. Opening in 2010, Hidden Valley Animal Adventure offers guests a Wild Game Safari tour and a Small Animal Adventure petting zoo. During the tour you can feed and enjoy seeing some of the animals as they graze through the open fields. The Small Animal Adventure is an open area that you can feed donkeys and pigs. They also offer excellent dining options from full sit down to quick snacks and treats.
Directions to Hidden Valley Animal Adventure from Rochester, New York
Getting to Hidden Valley Animal Adventure park is easy from Rochester, NY. It is a little over an hour drive.
- Take 490-W to the 90-W
- Take exit 48 Batavia to NY98-S/Oak St.
- Continue on NY-98 S (about 21 miles) to Royce Road.
Hidden Valley Animal Adventure Address: 2887 Royce Rd, Varysburg, NY 14167
A Day at Hidden Valley Animal Adventure
We had a few activities for our visit. The Wild Game Safari Tour, Small Animal Adventure area, and lunch at The Trailside Grill. Our first stop was the Wild Game Safari Tour.
Wild Game Safari Tour
We loved the Safari Tour. After purchasing tickets, line up for the 55 minute safari tour. The safari tour is an open air wagon pulled by a tractor. It is covered to protect you from the sun, but I suggest you apply sunscreen before you arrive. As the tour begins our host explains the rules of the tour.
- Stay seated until the tractor stops.
- Two horn beeps means it is time to sit and move on to our next attraction.
- Extra feed can be purchased for $1.00 a cup.
- Do not pet the animals. Feed from the cup.
We entered the safari tour through a gated area and continued on through the woodsy path and out into an open field. As we approached the animals we were quick to learn how to feed them, and they came over quickly to the tour.
Our first animal encounter was the Bison. They came right over and the kids found it easy to feed them. When you feed them you tilt the cup into their months. My five year old could easily do this. Smaller kids may need more parent help but it is really fun for all ages.
The Bison’s tongue was so funny! It was a lot longer then we expected and it was fun to feed them. As we moved on to the next area of the park there were a few bison that followed us. The kids had fun feeding all the animals. The tour also has a few zebras but they were enjoying grazing on the grass and didn’t get close enough for us to feed them.
Two things really stuck out for me during the safari tour. One-the animals are well taken care of. They have wide open spaces to roam and are never forced to come over for the tour. There were times in the tour when the animals preferred to graze on the grass or lay in the sun. It is at the animals discretion if they come over to your tour. Two- I felt very safe during the entire tour. In all honesty, I didn’t know what to expect with the tour. I felt the staff was knowledgeable and at all times safety was top priority.
Near the end of the tour we stopped to see camels and ostrich. The camels were very friendly and had no problem sticking their heads right into the wagon! They got very close! The ostrich was interesting to feed because he pecked at the cup. We were told to hold our cups at the bottom and feed the ostrich from the cup. This was another time I felt the staff was really helpful and kept us safe.
During the tour we purchased 1 extra cup for our family. We started the tour with one cup of feed each. When you are going through the safari pace yourself with the feedings but the one cup per person is really enough. At the end we had about 1/2 a cup left over and poured it out for the ostrich. After the 55 minute tour we headed over to lunch.
Dining at Hidden Valley Animal Adventure Park: The Trailside Grill & Bar
The Trailside Grill & Bar offers lunch, snacks, and dinner. If you are looking for a quick snack, they have a counter service area that you can order ice cream or chips. Lunch and dinner are sit down meals. They also have a full service bar. At times the park hosts weddings as special events, be sure to check website for dining operating hours.
We decided to sit down and enjoy a nice lunch. I had heard so many great things about The Trailside Grill and I was excited to try it. My husband had been reading up on the menu and we decided we would try the water buffalo. I figured it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to try it. You also had the option of trying elk or bison. We even got 2 out of 3 of the kids to try it!
We also tried the Beef on Weck. I grew up in Buffalo and I have high expectations for Beef on Weck. This one was good! The roll was perfect! My husband and I split the two meals so we could try them both.
The menu also had kids meals for $6.00 each. They had Chicken Fingers, Mac N’ Cheese, Hot Dog, Pizza, Hamburger, Cheeseburger, and Grilled Cheese. Each meal included chips and animal crackers. The prices for the water buffalo/elk were a little higher at $16.00 but that was to be expected. A regular burger was $10.00. I highly suggest you upgrade to the sweet potato fries because they were incredible!
Small Animal Adventure
The small animal adventure was an open area petting zoo. Inside the petting zoo were donkeys and a few pigs. You could also walk around the outside to see peacocks, goats, and bunnies. The walking area is free but there is a entrance fee for the small animal adventure.
This fee is included in your safari tour. If you decide to only do the small animal adventure it is $5.00. Grain is not included on either of these tickets. We purchased a cup for each kids upon entering at $1.00 each. You can enter without feed to see the animals.
These are typically the areas I don’t really enjoy. I am nervous around animals but I braved it and was surprised at how comfortable I was as we walked. The animals came over for your feed but they didn’t swarm you the minute you walked in. We also ended up having a donkey friend who followed us. The kids loved him!!
Tips to Visit Hidden Valley Animal Adventure
- Purchase tickets when you arrive that include the Safari Tour and Small Animal Adventure.
- Ride the Safari Tour first.
- Bring cash if you would like to purchase more feed for the animals during the tour.
- Eat before or after you arrive. No food or drink allowed during tour or near the animals. There are many food options available at the park.
- Hold on tight to your cups. The animals will try to take them!
- Wear sneakers or close-toe shoes. This is especially important at the small animal adventure area.
Our Day at Hidden Valley Animal Adventure:
We had a blast at the Hidden Valley Animal Adventure Park and can’t wait to visit again. The safari tour is a unique experience that will be different every visit and will be a summer family tradition we will look forward to again and again.
More Family Day Trips from Rochester, New York:
- A Family Day in Buffalo and Niagara Falls
- Family Weekend in Corning, New York
- Rochester Day Trip Inspiration
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