Thursday, October 2, 2008

Lion Country Safari

Okay - this is our substitute for shoddy work on Nicolette's birthday. Since we didn't get any pictures of her at Build-A-Bear, we took advantage of a partnership between Jungle Island, an animal park that we have annual passes for, and Lion Country Safari, a real drive-through safari park up north. It turned out to be lots of fun...and fairly affordable, since our passes to one got us into the other and we only had to pay $4.00 parking!! (Yeah - I love a bargain!!)

The safari is WAY up in Loxahatchee, Florida, by West Palm Beach...and it was REALLY great. You drive through the park in your own car with a CD narration of what you're seeing. The safari takes about an hour and a half, and you travel through several habitat representations.

Now, I have been to some AWESOME zoos...moving around like we have has given us a lot of opportunities to visit zoos and wild animal parks all over the country. We've visited San Diego Zoo and the Wild Animal Park...both legendary. We've visited the Los Angeles Zoo MANY times...which has become QUITE a destination. We've been to Brookfield Zoo and Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago...historical AND absolutely AMAZING!!! Dallas Zoo was BEAUTIFUL. And now we have those annual passes to Jungle Island here in Miami...which isn't a ZOO as much as a highly commercialized wildlife sanctuary. But the Lion Country Safari was something I had never experienced before...even in some of these WORLD-CLASS zoos, it was still 4 or 5 animals in a pen. Even at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, with their MASSIVE expanses of land, you travel through the park in a tram, and sometimes the animals are so far away it is hard to see them. But here, at Lion Country Safari, you DRIVE RIGHT THROUGH THEM. Herds of Zebras are frolicking and running and splashing through the ponds and the antelope bound right in front of your car and the giraffes were lounging right next to the road and we were only 2 FEET from about 10 HUGE White Rhinoceros. IT WAS INCREDIBLE.

Now - you're not supposed to roll down your windows. And I think we were the ONLY people following the rules - so some of my pictures have the unavoidable glare of the glass...but I did my best.

After the safari, you can go over to Safari World, the little theme park attached to the safari. They have carnival rides (like a Merry-Go-Round and Ferris Wheel), miniature golf, a boat tour around the islands that house the monkeys and apes, a splash park to play in your bathing suit, petting zoos, and lots and lots of animals. The kids FAVORITE activity was feeding the giraffes. It was a totally new experience for them, especially when one named "Bobby" tried to eat Brigham. Brigham did not know what to do about that long black tongue licking him all over!!

All in all it was a great day, and I got TONS of pictures, so I feel marginally better about the "Nicolette birthday fiasco". I highly recommend it should you ever visit the Palm Beach area of South Florida!!

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