On our trip to French Lick, Indiana we were wowed with all the family-friendly offerings. One of our most memorable experiences was our visit to Wilstem Ranch for the elephant spa encounter. Not only did we learn about elephants, but we were able to give the sweetest elephant a spa bath. And it was nothing short of amazing!
RELATED: Check out what else you can do in Southern Indiana.
Disclosure: Complimentary tickets to Wilstem Ranch were provided for review purposes. All opinions are our own.
Our experience at Wilstem Ranch:
We were so excited about this encounter that we arrived about 30 minutes early, which is usually unheard of with my family. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you drive through the cool covered bridge.
We first checked into the visitor center and then was guided to the Roos and Crew Encounter, a short drive away. What a neat area full of animals like lemurs, porcupines, goats, kangaroos, and more!
Then it was time for our elephant appointment encounter and we were ready to go! We walked up the hill into the elephant encounter building and took our seats. And then Lou the elephant walked in. Gasps of awe where heard as the elephant strolled into the building. After a little introduction by the caretaker, we were ready to begin her bath. One great thing about the experience is that everyone gets a chance to help out…and more than once! Most of the younger kids were in charge of spraying the elephant, while the adults were responsible for scrubbing and even cleaning the tusks. My daughter was super excited to help “paint” her nails. And the entire time, I couldn’t believe at how well-behaved Lou was. She was extremely docile and you could tell she was soaking up being pampered.
The last half of the experience ended with questions and answers. We learned that the elephant makes her way up from Florida and call Wilstem Ranch their home during the summer. During her free time, she is free to roam the 10-acre property. Her caretaker has had her since she was a little elephant and is not treated like a pet but rather as a member of their family, their daughter.
When our time came to an end, we were able to take photos with the sweet elephant. My husband may have fallen in love with her. In fact, we all fell in love with her. The entire experience was incredible — the chance to get up close and personal with the gentlest elephant will always be remembered.
Tips to enjoy your Wilstem Ranch experience:
- If you feel like getting up close and personal with other animals you have the opportunity to do so with grizzlies or giraffes.
- There is an option to learn about the elephants without a spa encounter, and at only $29 is a more affordable option.
- You can enjoy a variety of activities including ziplining, ATV tours, and horseback riding at Wilstem Ranch.
- Looking for a place to stay? They rent out cabins.
Location: 4229 US-150 W, Paoli, IN 47454
Ticket prices: The elephant spa encounter is $79/person, $69/child, children 4 and under are free.
Parking: Parking is free.