I arrived in Solvang not knowing much about the area (Santa Ynez Valley). I just knew about the Danish fame of the small town. Well, Solvang did not disappoint. I could have stayed there for days. However, there was a nearby activity that caught my attention.
I grabbed a regional visitor’s guide in the hotel check-in area. After flipping thru a few pages, I saw the ad. There was an ostrich farm 2 to 3 miles from town!!!!
I giggled uncontrollably for a couple of seconds. I ran towards my husband and showed him the ad. While jumping with excitement, I said: “We have to go, we have to go”.
See, I get very girly girl (translation: ridiculous) when faced with the possibility of being in contact with animals. My husband, on the other hand, can care less about this type of encounters. But, you know, I insisted and insisted (that is what wives do best) until we got into the car to ride the few miles separating us from the farm.
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But not everything is so sweet in Ostrichland USA. What I am trying to say is that ostriches are not a friendly or cute as I wanted to believe.
I saw the first distressing sign when parking. A big banner with a vicious looking ostrich was pointing to the farm. Below the photo, the following words were written: “Feed this bad boy”. As you can imagine, I ignored the “warning” since I was in an excited state (ostriches, yes!!!).
We entered, paid the admission fee ($4 for adults, $1 for kids), grabbed the food and headed straight to the ostrich area.
Tell me they don’t look cute.
Then, the moment of truth arrived: it was feeding time. I started to freak out since there is a sign advising visitors the following: “Yes, we like to bite”. I don’t really like when ostriches talk to you in the first person.
Then, the moment of truth arrived: it was feeding time. I started to freak out since there is a sign advising visitors the following: “Yes, we like to bite”. I don’t really like when ostriches talk to you in first person.
To make things worse, the feeding rules were kind of scary. In summary, they told you how to feed the ostriches without losing a finger, an eye or another important part of your body (yes, they like to bite and they can cut one of your fingers).
The feeding utensil consisted of a small shovel with a plate glued to it. In that way, you can hold the shovel tightly by its handle and avoid having the plate taken by the ostriches.
I tried to clear my mind for a few minutes and headed to the pen. Once the ostriches saw me with the food, they started to move towards me. I started to move the utensil close to them.
They started to grab the food like crazy. In fact, they were reaching for the food so hard that I felt like they were going to break their beaks. Some of the ostriches tried to grab the plate as forecasted by the instructions. It was not pleasant to see them in their feeding frenzy.
There is an opportunity to fee emus too. They are smaller than ostriches but not less menacing. They have creepy orange eyes and blue heads and necks.
Ok, it is confession time. After feeding the ostriches and emus for the first time, I ran to get more food for another feeding round. Well, I guess this activity can get addictive (even if it involves a certain degree of danger). There were other birds in the farm but I am not sure about the species.
I survived my first ostrich and emu feeding experience!!! I am kind of dramatic but you know I am not the bravest person in the world.
All things said, do I have to advise you to visit these movie stars? I’m not being sarcastic. Almost forgot to say the ostriches were featured in the Oscar-winning movie Sideways.
So there you have it. A cool idea to keep in mind in case you visit the Santa Inez Valley.
Interesting Ostrich Facts
- Adult ostriches stand 8’ to 9’ tall and weight 250 to 350 pounds.
- Ostriches mature at 2 to 3 years.
- An ostrich can reach speeds of 45 m.p.h.
- The ostrich is the only bird with two toes.
- An ostrich egg weights 3 to 4 pounds.
- A good hen lays 40 to 60 eggs a season.
- Each ostrich produces 1.5 pounds of feathers per season.
- An ostrich chick grows one foot taller each month.
- Ostrich farming started in South Africa in 1857.
- The ostrich is native to Africa.
- Ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand.
610 E Highway 246
Solvang, CA 93463
(805) 686 – 9696
An ample parking lot is located in front of the property.
Santa Ynez Valley Access
The ostrich farm is located about 35 miles from Santa Barbara, 70 miles from San Luis Obispo and 128 miles from Los Angeles.
By car, it can be accessed through US-101 or CA-154. Both routes are scenic.
The closest airport and train station are located in Santa Barbara. If you arrive in the area by one of those methods, you will need to reach the Santa Inez Valley by rental car, public transportation or guided tours.
Nearby Towns and Attractions
The Santa Ynez Valley is full of beautiful towns. Combining a visit to Ostrichland USA with other towns in the area is a good idea.
Solvang – the Danish capital of the USA! Tons of cute buildings, bakeries, restaurants, and museums. I recommend you take a look at my detailed article on Things to Do in Solvang.
A few more recommendations if you are interested in visiting the town:
Solvang Pictures: The Danish Village of my Dreams
Solvang Images: A Piece of Denmark Close to Home
And, if you have a sweet tooth, do not miss the bakeries and shops recommended in this article:
Solvang Bakeries and Sweet Treats
Los Olivos – probably my favorite town in the valley. Find wine tasting rooms, gardens, and nice restaurants.
Santa Ynez – this is the cowboy town of the valley
Buellton – another small town with good restaurants and several tasting rooms
Lompoc – this town located 20 miles from Solvang is known for its flower fields, downtown murals, wine ghetto, and beaches.
Quicksilver Ranch – ranch breeding miniature horses. The public is welcome to stop by to take a look at the horses for free
Chumash Casino Resort – this is a spot for those who enjoy gambling and buffets
Many, many vineyards – it is impossible to name every single vineyard located close to Solvang. If you have something specific in mind, you can get recommendations at the visitors center or at the tasting rooms in town. Companies such as Grapeline, Stagecoach, and Artisan Excursion offer wine country tours.
More of Southern California
Find out how to spend one fun-filled day in Los Angeles
Get inspiration by reading my Los Angeles Ultimate Bucket List
Have you visited Ostrichland USA or fed an ostrich (somewhere else)? Let me know in the comments section below.