Salinas Travel Guide
Elephants, zebra, water buffalo and ostrich roam the play pen surrounded by bungalows at Vision Quest Ranch
Last week we tried to stump you with another game of Guess the Hotel, sharing a photo of an elephant who had joined us for breakfast off our porch at Vision Quest Ranch B&B. We figured you'd assume an African lodge and never an exotic wild animal retreat in Salinas, California, but doggonit, you done figured it out in less than 24 hours in one correct reply. Right on, hotel smarty pants!
We shared a full report about a year ago when we recommended you Please Feed the Animals at Vision Quest Ranch B&B, but visited again recently as we were dying to bring the kids along and also wanted to check on rumors of a new, onsite zoo.
Lifting the flap of our military-grade safari tent for a peak outside, we looked across the tall grasses and waited for the elephants to come. The air was cool, but inside we were warm and incredibly comfortable. With a powerhouse heating unit, electric heating blankets, a mini fridge and coffeemaker, full bathroom (!), HDTV (!!), and a sitting area, youíd never guess this was the inside of a tent. You might also think you were on an African savannah, never imagining you were actually in Californiaís Salinas Valley, just a 30-minute drive from Monterey.
Itís one of many big surprises we got from our stay at Vision Quest Ranch B&B, a super cool hodgepodge of a place thatís hard to limit to one description. Itís a ranch with awesomely equipped tents, itís a zoo called Wild Things for retired and rescued exotic animals, itís a training compound for animals who participate in TV and films (and its famous for the retired Hollywood animals that have called it home), itís an education center lead by a remarkable team of trainers, and, of course, thereís a dog kennel onsite, too.
Every stay includes a guided tour of the grounds, including the zoo-like compound area, and we experienced ours when we arrived the day before. No joke, we saw every kind of big cat -- lions, tigers, lynx, cougars, leopards Ė plus bears, elephants, zebra, monkeys, wallaby, kangaroo, hyenas, even tortoises (who happened to be getting quite busy). Many of the animals are actually walked daily so we promptly picked our jaws up off the floor on seeing a baboon and a red kangaroo out for a leashed gander.