Don’t Put that Thing on Me! Critters at Alisal Guest Ranch

Tarantula at Alisal Guest Ranch

What creepy, crawly things do you fear? Is it massive, hairy tarantulas? Maybe lizard-looking creatures with long, blue tongues that slither? Or fat, constricting snakes that coil around your body? My hair is rising just thinking about it. But this weekend at Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort I had to suck it up and show Athena that there’s nothing to fear. I couldn’t, after all, impose my irrational apprehensions on her. 

Birds at Alisal Guest Ranch

While at Alisal Guest Ranch this weekend, we were given a unique opportunity to hold, touch, and learn about a few critters that we’d normally shy away from. After our Hay Wagon Ride to the Old Adobe, we returned to the barn area and were greeted by a staff member setting up a few small fences for “critters.” She had birds, a boa snake, two types of lizards, and a Blue Tongued Skink.

Normally I’m someone who faces fear head on but put me near any creep crawlers and I can’t even stand still. Athena hasn’t developed that fear of anything that crawls so when she wanted to explore the possibilities a little more, I didn’t want to show my true colors.

Everything that I touched or held, so did she. So… I had to touch and hold them all.

Bird on my head at Alisal Guest Ranch

Birds at Alisal Guest Ranch

Blue Tongued Skink At Alisal Guest Ranch

Athena holding the Blue Tongued Skink at Alisal

When we were walking back to the room, though, and noticed a massive tarantula stealthily crawling across the street, that’s where I drew the line. Forget it!

Tarantula at Alisal Guest Resort

I’m fully aware that tarantulas are some of the least aggressive and dangerous spiders around, but those legs aren’t getting anywhere near me.

I was able to set my fears aside and give my daughter an opportunity that most don’t experience. She’s turning into a fearless little lady and visiting places like Alisal Guest Ranch allow us to learn and grow from unfamiliar things.

Would you have done the same even if it was something you feared? 

You can watch a video of our full trip here:

29 thoughts on “Don’t Put that Thing on Me! Critters at Alisal Guest Ranch

    • She’s been having lots of animal interactions lately and she loves every second of it. I just worry that she thinks all animals are friendly. She’s always asking me if she can pet things… at least she asks. 😉


  1. I’ve not much a problem with critters. I love those long tongued critters like the Jackson Chameleon, or cool birds and animals. I loved the photos of the big lizard. I do, however, draw the line at tarantulas and cockroaches. Roaches because I just find them repulsive and the giant spiders because they are furry! I once jumped at the opportunity to help carry a 12 ft. long boa. It was so big and heavy that it took five of us to carry it. It’s nice that Athena was able to fearlessly hold some of the critters. I’m sure she will grow up brave like her Mom.


  2. I would have done the same as you in order to encourage my children to learn and explore. I believe these opportunities not only allow our children to grow as people, but us as well. When you put yourself out there and face your fears so that you can experience and learn something new, you are helping your entire family unit to dive into the unknown and come out a little braver, a little more confident, and a little more knowledgable. So yes, I would do the same thing.


  3. I’m pretty good with most creepy crawlies, but arachnids- and my kids know it. They think it’s funny to tease me when we’re at some kind of animal exhibit-they tell me to look into it, knowing there is a tarantula or- the worst, a scorpion- inside.


  4. I really enjoyed reading about your splendid experience, As a young child 50 or so years ago I grew up living the experience of camping all across the USA. My father was a teacher and the Delegate for the San Antonio School System. So as soon was out at the beginning of summer we took off and camped State to State to where ever or as my dad always said “Everwhere I Go”. I always knew where I would be on my birthday on July 27th because the convention was always the last week of July. It was an awesome and wonderful and the majority of my fondest memories are from those days. Thank you for sharing your experience. Your daughter will carry those memories forever.


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