For our first weekend in Bali we decided to spoil the kids (and ourselves too!) and take a visit to the Elephant Safari Park north of Ubud in Taro. It comes highly recommended as the place to see elephants, though you need to be careful that you are not taken to one of the copycat places which may be cheaper but are not as good and do not treat the elephants as well.
There were no prices listed online which was disappointing. At the gate we had to decide on what ticket package we wanted. You can get an inclusive ticket that includes entry, lunch and an elephant ride. We opted for just the entry, which was about $20 for adults. It was another $45 each if we wanted an elephant ride, and we had been on elephants in Laos and Thailand so we were not particularly keen to spend that amount on another ride. Fortunately we found in the fine print the short ride for kids option, and Olive was up for it. We could not see Jetson and Casper riding an elephant on their own.
Olive’s ride was first, we were quite surprised when this huge bull elephant came over to pick her up. She did not seem phased and in her usual confident style jumped right on. The elephant took her on a short lap of the main park area then down through the pool, taking about 15 minutes.
While Olive was off on her elephant, the boys had the chance to hand feed some elephants pieces of bamboo. Jetson was so excited doing it, but Casper not at all.
We then went to see the baby elephant. We had seen one before at the Melbourne Zoo, but from a distance. Here we walked straight up to it and had a pat, not something you could do back home. It was very curious about the smells of our pram, maybe something to do with the dirty nappy under it. It surprisingly had a good patch of spiky hair on its head.
We had a buffet lunch at the restaurant on site, a good way to sample a few more Indonesian dishes. It was not cheap, but there are no other options. You can also stay in accommodation on the grounds, and they will bring you to your meal on the back of an elephant each day. Pretty unique.
After lunch they had a short elephant show, doing tricks like painting, sitting down, walking the plank, and spraying water on the crowd. We thought we had a good view at the front, but were not so sure about that after we got covered in elephant snot.
If you do visit, on the way out make sure you explore the small ponds on the scenic walk, as one contained a huge fish, really!
Overall it was an excellent day out. It was not cheap, but we did not expect any different. Overall it cost us about $160 for the day, including all the above, lunch and the taxi there and back from Ubud.