The Safari Park
- an African adventure here in the US!
A safari park is like a zoo, right? Wrong.
A zoo has wild animals in cages or enclosures. You see them from a distance. A safari park, on the other hand, allows you to drive through in your vehicle and observe wild animals up close and personal. Safari parks are usually associated with animals like lions, giraffes, zebras and elephants.
Since Africa has the largest game reserves and the most in number, that's where you'd typically go if you wanted to be on a safari. But America - believe it or not - has several excellent locations where you can replicate the experience. A day-trip to a safari park can therefore be an excellent option next time you're planning a long weekend.
Here is a list of recommended safari parks in America. Some of these are part of a larger theme park (e.g. Busch Gardens, or Disney's Animal Kingdom). Some are stand-alone attractions in their own right (e.g. Virginia Safari Park).
San Diego Safari Park
Lion Country Safari
Global Wildlife Center
Six Flags Great Adventure Wild Safari, Jackson
Wild Life Safari
Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch
Virginia Safari Park
And here are some useful tips from our readers, who've already made the trip:
- Check the season opening and closing times for the individual park you're planning to visit. Some parks are open year-round, some only during particular months.
- Don't take animal food with you. Wherever feeding is allowed, appropriate (and healthy) animal food would be available for sales through kiosks or onsite stores.
- A safari park is not a petting zoo. The animals are wild. Do NOT venture outside your car unless you are told it is safe. Feeding is usually done through an open car window.
- Unless you're particularly brave, don;t drive a convertible or an open jeep.
- While the roads are motorable, the terrain is designed to simulate wilderness. So drive in a four-wheel-drive vehicle, if possible (though that doesn't mean a two-wheel drive won't do).
- If you own 2 cars, take the older one (unless you like having your brand new car splashed with mud!). Better still, drive a rental.
- Take lots of pictures!
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