WINSTON, OR. -- The Wildlife Safari in Winston is a popular spot for Oregon tourists to go, especially over spring break.
The last couple weeks of March and the beginning of April are big for the Wildlife Safari and Douglas County.
“Huge numbers. We have two hundred thousand people in a really compressed period of time that come from all over the world. So, it’s a wonderful thing for tourism. These people come to our area and spend money in the restaurants and motels. So, that’s spectacular in itself,” said Wildlife Safari Executive Director Dan Van Slyke.
Those tourists tend to be from other states and even other countries.
Van Slyke said they have tourists from countries like Germany, Japan, and India every year.
When they come visit the park, the staff see it as an opportunity for education.
“So that they really get an understanding about when we have endangered species, what does that really mean? A chance to get up close and really have that personal tale. Most of our staff are so committed, we have to force them to take breaks and vacations because they literally could stay out here twenty-four, seven.”
The number of visitors to the Wildlife Safari climbs every year, constantly breaking park records.
Van Slyke said this is a sign that tourism in Oregon and Douglas County is healthy.
“Tourism in Oregon as a whole, and especially Douglas County, has been on the rise. Our sales have increased year, after year, after year. Last year we had record sales, and this year we’re way above last year’s sales. And I think it’s a good measuring stick for the whole economy in our area. If we’re doing well, then tourism is going to be doing well in our area.”
The Wildlife Safari is wrapping up Oregon's Spring Break with an Easter egg hunt on Sunday, April 1.
Visitors will be able to help hide eggs and watch as the elephants try to find them.