Take a tour of Global Wildlife Center, one of the largest free-roaming wildlife preserves in the U.S.

This Northshore attractions puts guests face-to-face with exotic animals during guided tours.

One Northshore attraction offers animal lovers the chance to get up close to exotic species like llamas, zebras and giraffes.

Located in Folsom, Louisiana, the Global Wildlife Center is one of the largest free-roaming facilities for exotic and endangered animals in the U.S.

Global Wildlife Center is one of the largest free-roaming facilities for exotic and endangered animals in the U.S. NOLA Weekend photo

The 900-acre facility in Tangipahoa Parish is home to more than 3,000 exotic animals, and visitors can even hand feed them.

Global Wildlife tour coordinator Casey Cousins says guests can expect an “exhilarating experience” among the animals from the moment they arrive.

“So when you come out here, it’s unlike anything,” Cousins said. “It’s like you’re in the wild with them.”

Global Wildlife Center is one of the largest free-roaming facilities for exotic and endangered animals in the U.S. NOLA Weekend photo

Guests can choose from two different tours, and each offers a unique adventure.

The public guided safari wagon tour allows guests to touch and feed animals from the comfort of a canopy-covered wagon pulled by a tractor. During the one-hour and 15 minute ride, tour guides give fun facts about each species.

Global Wildlife also offers private tours for a more up-close and intimate experience. Private tours take groups off-the-road in a Pinzgauzer to places deep in the property where safari wagons can’t travel.

“You get that wow factor when you see in people’s eyes…they just light up because they’re not expecting a giraffe to just come through the window,” Cousins said.

Global Wildlife Center is one of the largest free-roaming facilities for exotic and endangered animals in the U.S. NOLA Weekend photo

Guests will come face-to-face with several different species, including critically endangered species like the Bactrian camel — identifiable by their two humps. Other species on the property include llamas, reticulated giraffe, Grant’s zebras, red kangaroos and American bison.

“We take a lot of pride in having to raise some of these animals, and then, later see them just released out onto the property,” Cousins said. “They have total independence, and that’s what I love to see out here.”

Cousins says the staff at Global Wildlife also enjoy coming up with creative names for the animals they care for at the preserve.

Two popular names include a giraffe named Elsa, inspired by the Disney animated film “Frozen,” and a giraffe named after former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

“We had to celebrate one of the best quarterbacks ever in history…but also to maybe get Drew Brees out here,” Cousins said.

Global Wildlife offers safari wagon public tours and private tours. NOLA Weekend photo

In addition to providing an immersive experience for guests, the staff at Global Wildlife Center says they prioritize caring for animals and preserving biodiversity.

The wildlife preserve has an on-site animal care facility, two veterinarians on staff and a brand new giraffe barn for weather protection.

Guests will come face-to-face with several different species. NOLA Weekend photo

Cousins says the goal is to provide animals a natural habitat to aid in conservation efforts.

“For the animals, it’s a lot more stress-free. This is going to add years onto lifespans,” Cousins said. “This is going to be a good place that you can support for the good and the better of that animal.”

Global Wildlife Center opens for tours daily. Pricing for guided safari wagon tours ranges from $13 to $19. Infants ages 1 and under are free. Group rates and military discounts are also available. Private tours cost $39.95 per person for groups of four to eight guests. Reservations are strongly recommended.

For more information about Global Wildlife Center, or to book a tour, visit the website.

Created in partnership with Global Wildlife Center


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