WELLFORD, S.C. (WSPA) – It’s that time of year when Hollywild Animal Park turns into Holiday Lights Safari. But how does the 100-acre park they keep things running during the winter months?
“We have all sorts of themes, and every year we pride ourselves on trying to invent something new so people are not seeing the same things over and over because after 31 years, we have done a lot of things,” Hollywild co-founder Lucia Meeks said.
They also have a very unique experience with their live animals.
“Typically, the animals are free-roaming in the 100-acres of land. During the holidays, we just confine them in an area so people can approach them and feed them. There’s everything from camels, large cattle, zebra, donkeys, deer, sheep. All sorts of different animals that you can actually come into contact with,” Meeks explained. “At the end you, can greet Santa. That’s always a favorite for the children. You can get candy for the children. “
To keep all these fabulous displays running more smoothly, Meeks said they now use LED lights.
“The LED lights are much more forgiving of any type of humidity. If it rains, we normally close. Since it is a preserve and it is the home of the animals, we don’t have paved roads. We intentionally have gravel because this is their home,” Meeks said.
Snow is okay if the roads aren’t too bad, and the displays have an absolute beautiful look and feel. But what about extremely cold temperatures?
“Specifically because people are staying in their own vehicles, it is not a problem. We are open here no matter what the temperature is. Its really just moisture or rain or sleet or ice or that sort of a thing that will prevent us from opening the park,” Meeks said.
They don’t have a lot of tropical animals but for those few, they keep a close eye on the weather.
“We count on that forecast just pretty faithfully because we decide a lot of the activities for the day for the animals depending on what the weather is going to be. The rhinoceros, for example, is one animal that we do have in a heated facility. But if it’s going to be a balmy, South Carolina Fall day then he has a chance to come out,” Meeks explained.
From the animals to the displays, Meeks said Hollywild loves bringing smiles to the community.
“It’s such a feel-good event for families. We just considered it sort of a gift to the community to be able to just step away from people’s concerns and worries and get away from the shopping and just go do something with your family,” Meeks said.