If you have driven south on I-95 through Florida, chances are you have seen billboard signs for a drive through zoo. Lion Country Safari, an African Adventure, is located in West Palm Beach. Their billboards show proud lions and zebras, rhinos laying in the shade, monkeys swinging in playgrounds, and kids petting animals. Lion Country is a drive-through adventure and a walk-through amusement park, which also offers a KOA campground nearby.
It’s all there and I was lucky enough to visit.
Adventures at Lion Country Safari
My daughter, Peyton, and I arrived at Lion Country in the early morning as that is when the animal sightings are most likely. The animals are fed early so a drive in your own personal vehicle through the park, yields up close and personal visits with zebra, giraffes, chimpanzees, and many other wild animals. Of course there are rules: you must keep your windows shut at all times, and if you are stopping to observe, you must pull to the side so cars can pass. Oh, and have a great time.
Upon entering the gates, you are given a CD that narrates the tour as you approach each segment of the zoo. The zoo is separated into the following sections: Gir Forest, Hwange National Park, Serengeti Plains, Buaha National Park, Gorongosa Reserve, and Las Pampas. I predicted it would take 45-60 minutes for the drive through portion, but it actually took us around 90 minutes or more to see everything. Good thing there is no time limit.
Some animals are fed near the edges of the road, allowing you a closer look at them; kind of cheating but I appreciated it, as will my viewers. The animals are monitored all the time. Eyes are watching from everywhere to ensure the safety of the animals, as well as the patrons. Many acted like they did not know we were there, while others showed off for the camera and played it to their advantage.
Discovering So Many New Animals
The animals at Lion Country Safari have plenty of familiar habitat to run around in, which may contribute to the reason USA Today calls Lion Country “one of the top 10 best drive-through animal safaris”. I liked seeing the more exotics such as the South American Tapir and the wildebeests. My favorite part of the drive-through zoo was catching a herd of kulan as they were crossing through the pond. It was a beautiful sight.
We finished the drive through and parked for the remaining exhibits, located at Safari World. We came across the adorable rhinoceros iguana from the Dominican Republic, and spider monkeys who thought they were the star of the show. There are many bird exhibits scattered throughout the property. We liked the African Grays, silky chickens, and the colorful parrots. The giant python was the scariest thing in the zoo; beautiful, but frightening. Check out the event board for the times of the animal talks and educational seminars.
More Fun Than Just Animals
Lion Country Safari has a couple of rides, paddleboat rides, pontoon boat tour, and a putt-putt course. Their large cafeteria-style restaurant will seat many, and sweet safari snack stands are available outside. We went to the Carvel ice cream stand and shared a hot fudge sundae and soft pretzel with cheese sauce. Prices were reasonable. While eating, we were entertained by a whole group of Caribbean flamingos, bright and beautiful in coral & orange hues.
Our favorite attraction of the day was the giraffe feeding and the petting zoo. A stand is available to purchase food for the petting zoo animals as well. One of the goats had two babies and I was just in heaven watching her care for them. The babies had soft white fur, not that we could pet them because the mom was way too protective, but she was so good to them, cleaning them and keeping them right with her. When the babies drank milk from the mom, they kneeled down on their front “knees”.
You couldn’t help but be filled with happiness just watching them.
Lion Country is a great place to visit and easily accessible from I-95 or the Florida Turnpike. They have been serving Florida residents since 1967. It is great entertainment and education for the whole family, or when you are looking for that special place to take out of town guests, here it is, plus open 365 days a year. Internet coupons are available.
Fun Facts About Lion Country Safari
Fact: There are over 900 animals at Lion Country. They are involved in the captive breeding program of threatened or endangered species, such as southern white rhinoceros, gibbon apes, and chimpanzees.
Fact: Lion Country is involved in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for white rhinos. They participate in a global plan for captive rhino reproduction. With wild populations continuing to decline due to poaching, captive breeding is essential to ensure the population of this magnificent creature. SSP is a pioneer of the rhino program.
Tip: Have children or grandchildren? Send them to Safari Day Summer Camp for kids ages 6-13.