Lion Country Safari: Drive-Thru Safari Park in Florida
A Great Place For the Family
Over the summer, we took the kids to Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee, Florida (near West Palm Beach). Before this, I had no idea that such a place existed, and I have lived in Florida for a few years. I am glad that we decided to go!! It was an amazing experience for the whole family. The kids loved it, and I did, too! For anyone that finds themselves in Florida, and want something to do that is a little bit different than all the theme parks, you need to check this out!! It is a bit of a drive from Orlando, but it's well worth it.
Basic Information for Lion Country Safari
Lion Country Safari offers so much more than just a drive-through safari park! That alone was amazing, but they offer a lot more! They have rides, animal interactions, and various other things to do throughout the park. A family could easily spend an entire day wandering around the park, experiencing all that the park has to offer.
They even have a KOA campground attached to the park. As I said, it is a bit of a drive from Orlando, and the campground may be the perfect option for those that do make the drive down there.
They have programs geared towards various different groups, including school and Scout programs, Adult and Toddler programs, and even a Day Camp. They also have special events throughout the year, including Halloween, Christmas, and New Year's events.
There are various ticket options, including annual passes. Further information on tickets can be found on their website. You can also find online ordering discounts, and discounted admission coupons on their website.
Hours of Operation & Ticket Information
Hours of Operation:
Monday-Friday 10:00am-5:00pm. Admission gates close at 4pm
Weekends & Holidays 9:30am-5:30pm Admission gates close at 4:30pm
Price of Admission:
Reg. Adult (10-64): $28.50
Child (3-9): $21.00
Senior (65+): $25.50
Baby & Toddler: FREE
Lion Country Safari is Located in Loxahatchee, FL
Lion Country Safari Website
- Lion Country Safari | Home of the Drive-Through Safari Adventure!
Florida's only drive-through safari and walk-through amusement park invites you to spend the day on safari with over 900 animals. With animal displays and encounters, animal feeding experiences, 6 rides, water sprayground, food, shopping and more, yo
South American Animals
Drive-Through Safari Park
The drive-through safari park is impressive in itself. After you have paid for admission, this is the first area that you encounter. You must go through the safari park before you get to the rest of the attractions. There is a CD to act as a guide to the park. Unfortunately, when we went, the radio in the car was not working, and neither was the CD player, so I can't comment on the quality of the CD guide. I had to act as tour guide. It didn't seem to really be necessary, but I imagine it would have helped a little in the identification of all the animals.
There are so many animals in the drive-through section of the safari park. You drive through various sections of the park. They each represent different parts of the world where various animals can be found. Included are areas of South America, most of the continent of Africa, and India.
The first section you encounter is the South American section. In the South America section, called Las Pampas, you find Aldabra Tortoises, Brazilian Tapirs, Llamas and Rhea. A Rhea is similar to an ostrich, though they are smaller and the coloring is different. We had one come right by our car. My daughter was so excited! The Tapirs are easy to spot. They are pretty strange looking. The tortoises were HUGE!!!
The next section you come to is the Gir Forest, which is named after a national park in India. Here you find Water Buffalo, Nilgai (they are hard to describe. They kind of look like thin cows.), Blackbuck antelope, and Kulan. Kulan are referred to as a wild Asian ass. They look like that, too. They look like a strange combination of horse and donkey.
From there, you move through various sections of African animals. These sections include animals from all over Africa, and for some reason, a lot of ostriches. Some of these, I had never heard of, and some I was more familiar with. Many of these animals are various forms of either antelope, cattle or similar types. The most interesting were the Greater Kudu, Impala, Gemsbok, Wildebeest, the Watusi(or Ankole Cattle) and the Waterbuck.
Also in these African sections you find lions!! Yes, lions! Thankfully, the lions are behind fences. As you enter the lion area, there are signs everywhere reminding you to stay in your car and keep your windows closed. Considering that they are fenced in, this seems unnecessary, but who am I to argue? There are also signs telling you that in the event of an emergency, the gates in, and out, of the lion area will close. It's a scary thought to be trapped in there with a lion. They have a great number of lions. I was surprised. I thought they might have a few, but they had quite a lot of lions. They are kept separate from the other animals for a good reason. Most of the other animals in the park are natural food for the lions.
After the lions, you encounter more animals. The most notable of these are the white rhinos, zebras, giraffes, and an entire chimpanzee island. All of these animals, with the exception of the chimps, are free to roam around as they please, like the rest of the park. There are signs in the rhino area that caution you to not stop your vehicle near the rhinos, because they may charge and damage your vehicle. My guess is that they would confuse your vehicle for another animal encroaching on their space. The many zebras wander near and far throughout the area, and quite often come up close to your car, as do the giraffes. This was incredible, and despite the fact that they tell you to keep your windows closed, I 'had' to open my window to get better pictures. The chimps and the white handed gibbon are hard to see, and I was rather disappointed by this, but considering the great experience of the rest of the drive-through area, I can't really complain too much.
Other Attractions at Lion Country Safari
After you are done with the drive-through part of the safari park, you come to a parking lot, and the driving part of your adventure is now over. Get out, stretch your legs, and enjoy. There is so much more to see!! I suggest making sure you have sunscreen, and this is a great opportunity to apply a liberal amount to everyone in your group. While the park does offer a great deal of shade, the sun in Florida can be brutal, and you will need the sunscreen.
The walk-through, more traditional park, named SafariWorld, offers a great deal in the way of attractions and exhibits. They have a small, walk-through zoo, in addition to the drive-through portion you already went through. Here, you find various animals. There are birds, including parrots, flamingos, cranes, and so much more. There are alligators (of course, it is Florida), snakes, and other reptiles. There are also monkeys, porcupines, and various goats and sheep. The petting zoo features a great number of pygmy goats, and you can even feed them for a small fee. My younger daughter loved the petting zoo!! She giggled as she got to pet the goats, and my older daughter enjoyed feeding them.
Goats aren't the only animals you are allowed to interact with. They have several ponds around the park that allow you to feed the hungry fish. Small vending machines dispense food for the fish(I think it only costs a quarter), and trust me, they are hungry!! They clamor for the food as you toss it into the water. They also have a Lory bird aviary, where you can interact with these cute, colorful birds, and you can get a chance to feed them, as well (there is a small fee for this). There is also a Budgie feeding area. A budgie is what is commonly referred to as a parakeet. You can also get up close and personal with the giraffes. You walk up to an elevated platform, where for a few dollars, you can feed a giraffe some romaine lettuce. This was my daughter's favorite part of the whole day, by far! You get so close!! The group of people in front of us were putting the lettuce in their mouths and craning their necks out to the giraffe, and the giraffe happily gobbled up the lettuce. My daughter was not as brave. You can get up close and personal with another of the park's animals by taking a camel ride. We weren't able to do this, due to time constraints, but I have always wanted to ride a camel.
Lion Country Safari Rides & Other Points of Interest
If all that weren't enough, the park also offers several rides, and other activities, all guaranteed to keep your family entertained all day. The rides tend toward the kid-friendly variety, as do the activities, though they are still fun for the rest of the family.
What animal park would be complete without a carousel, complete with a menagerie of wild animals to ride on? My older daughter is almost getting too old for such a ride, but she chose to go on with me and her little sister. They have benches for parents, or those riding with very small children. Another ride that is fun for the whole family is the hot air balloon inspired ferris wheel. We loved going up in our own balloon, and looking out over the park and the Florida wilderness beyond. The view is beautiful.
For the little kids, there is a train, of course! You have to have a kiddie zoo train! They also have a flying elephant ride. For the older kids, or the kids at heart, there are paddle boat rides and a fun slide. They also have a short boat ride for small groups. It's a nice pontoon boat ride around the waterway at the park.
In addition to the rides, they have numerous activities for your enjoyment. They have a dinosaur walk-through area, located near the lory bird aviary, where you can view statues of dinosaurs. The gem and fossil panning activity is a fun way for kids to get their hands dirty, and feel like an archaeologist looking for fossils. They have a safari maze and mini golf, as well. For those looking to cool down in the Florida heat, they have a splash park, with a sectioned off area for the littlest visitors, and they have an area where you can compete against your friends and family in a water balloon fight!
For those that make the drive down to the park, and are looking for a place to stay, the park has it's own KOA campground. The campground features RV sites, tent sites, and even cabins that you can rent. Pricing for these varies, and sites can be rented at daily rates or monthly rates, depending on the sites needed. There are primitive sites available, as well, but they require a minimum of 20 people per site, and do not have water or electrical hook-ups. The campground features a store, swimming pool, restrooms, laundry facilities, a playground and other activities. The website provides more information regarding the campground, including pricing and reservation information.
What an Adventure
We had so much fun, that we plan on visiting again. Hopefully, we can stay all day this time, so that we are able to experience more of what the park had to offer. If you have been here, please, let me know what you think of the park. If you haven't had the opportunity to go, I suggest you make a point to come down and check it out for yourself! You won't regret it!! Make sure you take plenty of pictures! The pictures I have included are only a fraction of the pictures I took while we were there.
© 2013 Anna Marie Bowman
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