Eagle Rock-based zoo opens bed and breakfast

Friday, November 28, 2008

Promised Land Zoo, which is located in Eagle Rock, began offering lodging accommodations at the end of October. The Promised Land Bed and Breakfast is located at zoo owners Jeff and Diane Sanders' family home.

"We love spoiling people and going over the top to ensure they enjoy themselves," said Diane. "As foster parents, we are used to catering to and spoiling people."

When most of the Sanders' children moved from their five-bedroom family home, which is located southwest of the zoo, Jeff and Diane began to think about ways to utilize the extra space in their residence.

"We are almost empty nesters," said Diane. "We have all this room and people have always wanted to stay here. Right away, people were interested in staying at the bed and breakfast. It's very exciting."

Earlier this year, the Sanders began advertising the Promised Land Bed and Breakfast on their website. They began to receive inquiries before their first room was completely renovated.

"We finished the first room and then began to receive calls from families or parents with adult children so we had to hurry up and finish the second room," said Diane. "We have just been trying to keep up with what God is doing for us."

The bed and breakfast offers two uniquely decorated rooms, which have been designed to reflect the native continents of the Promised Land Zoo animals.

The Maharajah room is decorated in neutral colors and features an inviting window seat. The Wild America room is decorated in rich burgundy and offers visitors a convenient desk and chair. Both rooms offer large beds, flat screen televisions with DVD players and radios with CD players.

"It's still a work in progress," said Diane. "We are working on the Sahara Sunset Suite, which will have a private bath."

Individuals and families who choose to stay at the Promised Land Bed and Breakfast receive dawn-to-dusk access to the Sanders' personal zoo walk-through area, free high-speed wireless Internet access and free passes to the drive-through portion of the Promised Land Zoo, which features around 500 animals and 32 different species.

"Our visitors spend a lot of time with the animals, which is very interactive for the animals too," said Diane. "We provide feed for our visitors so they can feed the animals from the walk through.

"People who stay at the bed and breakfast also spend time reading outside and enjoying the quiet, peacefulness here," said Diane.

Bed and breakfast visitors can also choose to participate in a private tour at dusk for an additional cost. The tour is conducted using the feed truck, which makes the tour group very popular with many of the animals that live at the 100-acre zoo.

"I can't think of a better way to spend my time than spoiling people and making sure that they get exactly what they want," said Diane. "We make sure they get whatever they want."

Visitors are treated to hot and cold beverages and freshly baked cinnamon cake when they arrive at Promised Land Bed and Breakfast. The Sanders refer visitors to local restaurants for their evening meal.

"Breakfast is catered over the top with farm fresh ingredients," said Diane, who has gained cooking experience by preparing meals for a large family over the last 30 years. "I serve things like biscuits and gravy, Belgian waffles, blueberry pancakes and country fresh eggs, sausage and ham."

After enjoying the hearty breakfast and between visits to the Promised Land Zoo, visitors can utilize the bed and breakfast's exercise area, which offers weights, an elliptical trainer and a treadmill. Visitors can also choose to relax in their rooms with a movie from an extensive DVD library or in the swing on the walk-around porch.

Jeff and Diane have planned a grand opening and open house at the Promised Land Bed and Breakfast from 2 to 5 p.m. on Dec. 15. All community members are invited to attend the event and tour the rooms and grounds.

For more information, call 217-WILD.