My family recently took a trip to the 400-acre safari, tucked away just north of Gentry, and loved every minute. We encountered free-roaming herds of many animals including antelope, wildebeest, buffalo, yak, zebra, sheep, llamas, camels, zebu, ostriches, emus, and ankole-watusi.
There is just something about seeing herds of wild animals in a natural setting. Observing them in the wild is a thing of beauty.
At five minutes before noon a herd of 14 zebra began running. When we rounded the corner just minutes later we spotted them in a grassy field eating lunch with at least 30 deer. It was as if someone rang the dinner bell! Moments later we saw a pot-bellied pig with his piglets trailing behind.
Being close enough to be nose to nose with wild animals filled my little ones with excitement. An ostrich came right up to our car and looked Hunter in the eye – making us all laugh hysterically. Good thing we had the windows up (which by the way is a safety requirement).
Soon after, a camel was parked on the path blocking traffic flow. When he finally decided it was time for us to pass, he gracefully stood to the side and peered through our sunroof – as if to tell us, “This is my turf.”
We passed by many exotic cats and mammals in enclosures. There were African lions, Bengal tigers, leopards, cougars, bears, wolves, and even a Nile River hippo taking a dip in his own pond. Hunter and Emily Claire were bouncing back and forth from chair to chair to get a better view of each animal.
Before leaving, we hopped out of the mini-van for a stroll in the walk-thru petting zoo. To our surprise, this wasn’t the standard run-of-the-mill petting zoo. They had llamas, macaws, porcupines, deer, warthogs, miniature donkeys, miniature horses, capybaras (the largest rodent in the world), and even kangaroos.
The up-close visits continued in the safari barns that house giraffes, spider monkeys, gibbons, chimpanzees, and baboons. It was worth the stroll over to see these animals.
On our visit, they also had pony rides and camel rides. Others report additional animal encounters with a baby Capuchin monkey, a snake, and a lemur. So they have a variety of animals available to meet the public.
The safari is open daily 9am – 5pm. There is a $10 admission fee for ages 13 & up, $8 for ages 3-12. For this fee, you can drive-through as many times as you want. They do not accept debit or credit cards so be sure to bring cash. Check out their website for more information.