Steven was so excited for our day with the elephants. While fear of these beasts was more pressing on my mind, it is bucket-list material, and we went for it!
To climb on the elephant, you tell them you’re going to get on, and they lift up a leg for you to step onto. You pull yourself up using their ear, which they assured us doesn’t hurt the elephant. It’s a pretty cool system, but unbelievably difficult. These are some big beasts to be climbing onto!
To get off the elephant, you could tell him to lift one leg as a step, the same way you mounted. The other option was to have him bow his head and slide off his trunk! Such fun, but a surprisingly far jump.
After practicing getting on and off the elephants multiple times, we took them for a walk through the park and then down to bathe in the river.
We walked them back for the elephant show and helped in the show as they showed off their skills of playing the drums, lumbering, painting, playing catch, and bowing. In all we each spent about three hours with our elephant, and it was amazing to experience such an incredible animal up close.
We then toured the rest of the park, including the elephant hospital, elephant nursery (adorable!), and the paper factory. There are about 70 elephants at this one conservation center, and they recycle all the elephant dung to make natural dung paper.
Last, we took a ride through the jungle on an elephant with a seat. After riding the elephants bare-backed and learning to direct them ourselves, this wasn’t as epic, but still another incredible experience!