Do you remember The Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights? You would sit around with your family, watching wholesome television like "Nikki, Wild Dog of the North" or "Charlie, the Lonesome Cougar." What you probably didn't know is the animals in those films were trained right here in Western Washington at Olympic Game Farm in Sequim. They worked exclusively for Walt Disney Studios for nearly 30 years, but today, it's open for all to enjoy.
"The way my grandma tells it," said Robert Beebe, co-owner at Olympic Game Farm. "A lot of the locals wanted to come see the animals but they weren't allowed it. So a lot of them would just drive up and down the road to see what they could see. So that's when they got the idea to open up to the public in 1973 and see how it would go. They told Disney Studios how well it went and Disney said go ahead and do what you want to do."
Robert Beebe is one of three owners at Olympic Game Farm. And for him, it's definitely a family affair.
"I was born into it, yeah," said Beebe. I'm third generation."
He took over daily operations of the farm with his brother back in 2008. Right now, there is about 12 species of animals living on the farm, which adds up to about 240 animals.
Tigers, cougars and wolves! Oh, my! Not to worry, any animal that can hurt you lives behind a secure fence. And, there are plenty of animals to see and feed as you drive around the 84-acre property.
"Llamas really like to eat from the cars," Beebe explained. "Everything comes up to your car, except for the wild animals, like the bears. The bears, since they were all hand raised, they love to do little things to get your attention. They'll waive at you, or they do some cute thing and grab their toes and walk around. They know how to work people. People get excited which tells the bears, hey, if I do this then I'll get this in return. And that's all there is to training. People like the buffalo because of their really long, purple black tongue that you will probably see on your way around. That's our claim to fame, is the buffalo slobber on the car windows and the bears like to wave."
You can only feed the animals wheat bread, which you can purchase at Olympic Game Farm or bring you own. And, be sure to bring plenty of loaves because the animals are ready to step right up and grab a bite.