Thursday, October 24, 2013

Bali Safari & Marine Park and Mara River Safari Lodge

After we left Ubud, we spent our last two nights near the coast at the Mara River Safari Lodge, part of the Bali Safari and Marine Park. The lodge was very nice, but I don't think any rooms in Bali are safe from geckos.... Though... by the end of our trip, their chirps in the middle of the night were strangely comforting and friendly. :) The lodge had a nice restaurant where we had free breakfast, and could go back for lunch and dinner. Staying at the lodge also gave us free access to the safari park. The first afternoon we arrived, we went to an elephant show not far from the lodge. 

See Thing 2 looking over there to the right?

As I was taking this picture, she was moving AROUND the little fence to go pet the elephant. Employees came running saying, "No!!" Yep. That's my kid.
The show was a lesson on the history of elephants in Asia and why they need to be protected. Towards the end of the show, the elephant rescues a "drowning" guy in the water. I look over to my right, and Jessica is SOBBING. Apparently, it was a very emotional scene for a pregnant woman. Haha.

One of the coolest features of the lodge was the restaurant that shared a window with the lion enclosure. This is what we had breakfast with every morning:

Our first full day at the lodge, we headed out to see the park in its entirety. 

These things are loose all over the park!

The largest statue of Ganesha in Indonesia at roughly 9m tall.

Playing in a gift shop while their moms look around.

Balinese dance costumes.

Doing a little practice....

Thing 2 took a Balinese dance lesson.

The other great feature about the lodge (and what really sold us on it when we were searching for hotels) was the fact that when we stepped out onto our balcony, we saw this: 

We were maybe 15 feet from these animals! And elephants, zebras, and wildebeests too. Our room even came with carrots that we could throw to the animals when they got close enough. Our kids REALLY liked that. 

Would I go back and stay there again? I'm not sure. If you are staying longer than a day or two, you might get really tired of the single restaurant available for breakfast and dinner. During the day, you can wander into the park and eat at the restaurant there, but you are still really limited in choice. And though our kids loved the animals, the lodge, and the park, once you had seen them all, you had done pretty much everything available. I'm glad we went, but I don't think I'd put it on my Bali "bucket list." It was, nonetheless, a nice way to spend our last couple of days on the island with our kids. 

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