Car Wash, Anyone?


The Wildlife Safari car wash.  Photo by Sara Ottoman
The Wildlife Safari car wash. Photo by Sara Ottomano

By Sara Ottomano

Where would someone go for a car wash that doesn’t even clean the car? Why, Winston, Oregon of course! The Wildlife Safari with over 600 animals features a one of a kind elephant experience. Over the summer, trainers taught three elephants, Tiki, Alice, and George, how to give car washes, though the efficiency of the wash is debatable. For a small fee of $20, one can watch these three elephants suck up water, spray the car, and then promptly pick up a sponge and dry it off.

The original car wash idea arose after the recession hit the zoo hard.  Zoos across America have been forced to close or reconsider their finances. The Wildlife Safari has escaped closure with the help of its elephant friends.

The talent to wash cars is an ability that was added to the laundry list of other endowments that the elephants have.  Among their other talents are painting, and even playing the harmonica.  The paintings can be bought in the gift store allowing a patron to hang that painting alongside other masterpieces in their home.

The elephant car wash has been so popular that there has been a 28% increase in park sales, which is a big boost for the 600-acre drive-through zoo. Some people consider the elephant’s work to be animal cruelty, while others point out that the elephants love to do it; Tiki, Alice, and George are known for how much they love to play in the water. 

For more information, go to:

Perman, Cindy. “Elephants Start Car Wash to Help Zoo Beat Recession.” CNBC. 02 Oct 2009. NBC Universal, Web. 12 Oct 2009. <>.