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Wave Hello to Furry Hollywood Stars

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If you wanted to entice a Hollywood actor, you wouldn’t feed him a slice of wheat bread, would you?  The Olympic Game Farm’s actors, however, will wave to you for all manner of carbs. But these retired Hollywood actors aren’t ordinary stars—they’re furry, 1,800-pound Alaskan Brown Bears.

August marks 40 years of business for the Olympic Game Farm.  Located in Sequim, Washington, the Olympic Game Farm opened to the public in 1972, when it began offering tours—both walking and driving—for people interested in viewing and feeding rescue animals, and retired Hollywood stars, along with their offspring.

The Olympic Game Farm is home to myriad species of animals, including: zebras, Bengal tigers, African lions, cougars, panthers, black bears, Alaskan brown bears, black-tailed prairie dogs, llamas, domestic yaks, American bison, coyotes, wolves, and 23 species of elk.

On the most popular tour, the driving tour, guests drive in their own vehicles around the farm, feeding the animals as much—or as little—bread as they dare.  The vehicles must have enclosed tops, and be tolerant of a little animal slobber, especially when bison are present.

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Originally a dairy farm, the Olympic Game Farm was founded by Lloyd Beebe in 1942.  Beebe, whose hobby was taming wild animals, convinced Walt Disney Studios to use his animals and land for filming.  Among the movies filmed at the Olympic Game Farm are: “The Incredible Journey,” “Charlie the Lonesome Cougar,” “Never Cry Wolf,” and “The Beachcombers”.  Although filming discontinued in the late 1990s, guests can still tour the original studio barn that appeared in the cave scene from “Those Calloways.”

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The Olympic Game Farm is open 363 days a year, with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Hours run from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Sunday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturdays.  Depending on the tour, rates vary from $5 to $15.  For more information visit their website.             

Jenneke Oostman is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

Photos courtesy of the Olympic Game Farm.

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