52 weekend getaways: a year's worth of escapes
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Vision Quest Ranch( Jay Jones )
Home to dozens of critters -- lions and tigers and bears, and more -- the ranch invites folks touring nearby Monterey to take a walk on the wild side. Visitors have a variety of options, including a short, guided tour and a one-on-one encounter with Butch or another beast.
"To us, it's just introducing people to our friends," says Charlie Sammut, who in 1983 began providing exotic animals for roles in movies, TV shows and commercials. The tours and the B&B business came later when Sammut found Hollywood producers turning to overseas locations, where animals -- and their trainers -- work for considerably less money.
Read more: Wild times at Vision Quest Ranch in Salinas
-- Jay Jones
Planning your trip:
The ranch, (800) 228-7382, www.visionquestranch.com, is just off California Highway 68 about 20 miles east of Monterey. Guided tours are offered at 1 p.m. daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children. For bed-and-breakfast, the winter rate (through March 31) is $195, double occupancy. Children 12 and older are welcome Sundays through Thursdays.