Go wild: Wilstem Ranch offers animal encounters in southern Indiana

Chuck Lofton got to feed Bert, one of Wilstem Ranch's residents. (WTHR)
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PAOLI, Ind. (WTHR) — I really thought I knew Indiana , but I have learned on this trip, there are so many hidden gems in this great state.

Ninety-six miles from Indianapolis near Paoli, Indiana is one of the 10 best places in America to have an encounter with animals, according to USA Today.

Wilstem Ranch specializes in connecting humans with animals in a comfortable, non-threatening way, especially children.

We entered the main encounter facility and saw lots of families and children making friends with kangaroos, goat even lemurs and hedgehogs!

(Steve Rhodes, WTHR)
(Steve Rhodes, WTHR)
(Steve Rhodes, WTHR)
(Steve Rhodes, WTHR)
(Steve Rhodes, WTHR)
(Steve Rhodes, WTHR)
(Steve Rhodes, WTHR)

The fun doesn’t stop there. The Ranch offers a giraffe encounter where you’ll meet the states tallest residents, Bert and Marchello. I fed Bert some carrots and learned that a giraffes black tongue is sticky and wet, but this docile big guy was a joy to pet and feed.

It’s not my cup of tea, but there is even a $99 grizzly encounter with bear expert, Jeff Watson. And elephants are visiting from Sarasota Florida for the summer. Visitors can feed and even bathe them!

I want to go back, and when I do, I’ll stay at one of the cabins in property and hit the ATV course.

Wilstem Ranch is a must see Indiana getaway!

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