Thailand is home to many elephant parks that tourists come to visit on their holiday. The Thai Elephant Conservation Center is a camp located in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It is a non-profit organization. All the money received from ticket sales and souvenirs goes directly into helping maintain the park and giving the elephants care from their onsite hospital and nursery. This park has many places to visit, but the main attraction is watching the elephants create beautiful paintings with their trunks.
Showcasing strength and agility during the elephant show
The elephant show occurs twice a day and showcases all the elephants at the park’s front and center. Each elephant comes out with his mahout (elephant handler) to do a series of skills. Elephants in Thailand were once used for logging; the older elephants showcase their strength by pulling and pushing logs with their trunks. The next portion of the show has the mahouts recruiting some of the audience to play a game of catch, where the participants throw balls to the elephants, and then the elephants throw the balls back.
Watching elephants create beautiful pictures with their trunks
There are many camps that showcase elephants painting pictures. This is the main attraction at most of the parks. The elephants are taught at a young age to paint on paper with a brush using their trunk and are rewarded with sugar cane when they do a painting correct. There has been a history of elephants drawing in the sand with their trunks, and this is how the paintings came about. A mahout gave an elephant a paintbrush and paper, and now the show has become a popular phenomenon that many come to witness. The elephants that are trained to create paintings only do the shows for a few months then are rehabilitated back to living on the conservation ground.
Visiting the animal hospital and nursery
There are two sections of the hospital, one for the infectiously-diseased animals and one for non-infectious creatures. Most of the problems are skin diseases and eye infections. The sick elephants reside here while they heal, and are monitored 24 hours a day. Don’t miss out on the nursery while at the park;, it is sure to be the best part of your visit. You will have the chance to see mamas and their babies and for 20 THB (0.30 USD) you can feed the babies a bunch of bananas.
Leave Thailand with a unique piece of art
The cost of admission is 150 THB (4.25 USD) which includes entrance to the elephant show. During the show, a few elephants will paint pictures for the audience. These paintings are then auctioned off. You can bid on one of the images during the show, but don’t worry if you don’t win, you can still purchase one that has already been created at the gift store. The paintings range from 500 - 1000 THB (15.00 – 30.00 USD). Each painting comes with a stamp from the conservation center, the name of the elephant, age, and sex. The proceeds from the pictures go directly back to the conservation to maintain the park and to help the elephants. Leave with a great keepsake and souvenir from your visit to Thailand. This place is not to be missed when you travel to Chiang Mai!
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