For an unforgettable experience with giant creatures from half a world away, look no further than OstrichLand USA, a local landmark featuring dozens of flapping, galloping and eyelash-batting emus and ostriches. Here, visitors step into a magical place where our feathered friends live 75 years, sprint 45 miles per hour, stand nine feet tall and weigh a whopping 350 pounds.
For an unforgettable experience with giant creatures from half a world away, look no further than OstrichLand USA, a local landmark featuring dozens of flapping, galloping and eyelash-batting emus and ostriches. Here, visitors step into a magical place where our feathered friends live 75 years, sprint 45 miles per hour, stand nine feet tall and weigh a whopping 350 pounds. At OstrichLand USA, a 33-acre spread located on Highway 246, the entire family will find something fun to do, whether that means getting close to the birds and feeding them a bowl of ostrich chow, taking photographs or simply observing from a distance. Enjoy a guided tour of the property, wander at will or admire the original artwork, including one piece that lets folks snap pictures of themselves riding astride a high-stepping ostrich. “Kids are fascinated by these birds,” owner Trudy Brown says in a video linked to the OstrichLand USA website. “They’re such bizarre creatures and so big. No one leaves here with a frown, everyone leaves with a big smile. It’s just a rare, happy experience. “They’re fascinating creatures and I love birds,” she continues, “but if you’d asked me what I was going to be when I grew up, I would have never guessed the owner of an ostrich farm!” Brown purchased OstrichLand USA in 2003 and quickly put her retail background and “not afraid of hard work” attitude into action. She turned a bare-bones operation, comprised of a few birds and a simple shed stocked only with ostrich meat, into an upscale boutique and thriving attraction for wildlife lovers of all stripes. Founded in the early 1990s by a South African couple, OstrichLand USA today boasts more than 60 birds, as well as a reputation for amazing and delighting its many visitors. “Customers are immediately taken aback by the birds’ long necks and large size,” says Therese Fowler-Bailey, Brown’s sister and the artist responsible for the eye-catching murals that adorn a variety of surfaces at OstrichLand USA. “They’re amazed at their comical, big eyes with eye lashes to die for, and at the beautiful mountain background where the birds roam freely. “This is a family affair and people come from every corner of the world,” she adds. “We see everyone from babies in Mom’s arms, to 95-year-olds, and they all love every minute of the feeding process.” OstrichLand USA is indeed a family affair, for Fowler-Bailey’s son, Blake Fowler, along with his girlfriend, Nikole Sanchez, manage the day-to-day operations of the business, while juggling college coursework. They welcome visitors with warm hospitality and happily share their extensive knowledge of the big birds, always taking extra time with children boggled by the spectacle. For a singular, up-close and personal experience, guests with a sense of adventure can buy a bowl of ostrich food for a dollar, lean against a sturdy wooden barrier and feed the birds. It’s a rambunctious and amusing endeavor, because the shaggy headed birds peck at the morsels with vigor and enthusiasm. Those who browse the OstrichLand USA gift shop will find a bounty of unique ostrich- and emu-related items, such as fresh ostrich and emu eggs, as well as imported ostrich meat and jerky. OstrichLand USA does not raise it birds for the table, so all of the meat is imported. Also in stock are blown and sanitized ostrich eggs for display and/or decorating, faux ostrich accessories—from wallets to purses—ostrich hats, feather dusters and emu oil, an all-purpose beauty oil and remedy for a variety of skin and muscle maladies. And of course, there are plenty of t-shirts, mugs and hats to choose from, all sporting the OstrichLand USA logo. Blake and Nikole note that a number of celebrities—from Beau Bridges, to The Bachelor’s Andrew Firestone, to Bill and Giuliana Rancic from the E! Channel—have been known to frequent OstrichLand USA. “You never know who you might see here!” Blake and Nikole laugh. Fowler-Bailey herself has enhanced the OstrichLand USA experience by providing the artwork that graces doors, walls and windows. In fact, she created the luminous, reverse-painted window featuring a gang of the inquisitive, long-necked birds that greets visitors as they enter the facility. A long-time watercolorist, and since 1995, a muralist, she applied her skills to painting a variety of colorful scenes, including one of muscular ostriches loping across the sides of the company pick-up. “We are passionate about providing the healthiest environment for our Big Birds,” she declares, “and to creating Santa Barbara County’s best family outing for the money,” Trudy Brown says. Good naturedly billed as “Solvang’s best kept secret,” OstrichLand USA has been dazzling visitors long enough to qualify as a living landmark. Locals and out-of-towners alike will find plenty to admire and enjoy about the ostriches and emus, even if it takes a nine-foot ladder to look them in the eye.