This weekend, we headed up to Lion Country Safari with the kids. I had actually gone with them last year and we had enjoyed ourselves, so we decided to do it again since we didn't want to spend the weekend watching Netflix. In case you haven't heard of it, Lion Country Safari is a drive-through zoo attraction located in Loxahatchee, FL. It's about an hour and fifteen minutes north of Miami. There is a campground, the drive through safari, and then a theme/water park attached. I have only ever done the drive-through safari, which is what is open right now.
We purchased our tickets online ($19 plus tax per person - kids 2 and under do not need to pay) on Friday for our visit on Saturday. Tickets are sold through Eventbrite, which you can access on their website. I printed them out at home, but I didn't need to do that. Once we arrived at the admission gate, which has a plexiglass panel between you and the attendant, they asked us for the name on the reservation, confirmed we had purchased our tickets, and waved us through. As soon as you drive in, there are restrooms and a snack stand in a parking lot off to the right hand side. We stopped to use the restroom, which is manned by an attendant - everyone wore their masks, the doors are left propped open to minimize touching surfaces, and everything felt very clean. We did not purchase anything from the snack stand, but it was open.
Once you drive in, the drive-through safari part is about an hour/hour and a half. We arrived around 10:30 and there were a good amount of cars, but we never had to wait. While you are in the drive-through safari, you can NOT get out of the car. You cannot open the windows, and there is nowhere to stop and use the restroom/eat/etc.
The last time I went, we were given a CD to play while we drove through and a pamphlet to follow along during each area, but to limit the amount of contact, they ask you to stream the audio through their website and to read about the animals on their site. You can find the guide here and the audio here.
There are a lot of animals to see. All the animals were out and about - some of them we had to look closely for, and others came right up to our car. An ostrich passed right by us, a rhino crossed the road two cars in front of us, and we saw two impala fighting right by the road. The kids loved it and were bouncing around the car from window to window the entire time.
Once you leave the drive through, you can get down to use the restroom again or visit the gift shop (we didn't do this). There is also a large parking lot where you can stop to buckle the kids back in to their car seats, pick up any messes they made during the safari, etc. Overall, it's a really safe experience and the kids truly enjoyed it. It took up the entire morning and the kids napped for the majority of the ride back, which is always a good thing!
I put up a question box for you all on Instagram, and here were some of the questions you had!
Are there educational or interactive aspects for older kids?
I think the audio tour and the brochure are really good for older kids. Eddie and I were the ones reading and listening and then translating for Caleb. But for older kids who can read, it would probably be good for them to read up on some of the animals as you're entering each section and then identify them while you're in there!
Was it a long wait time to drive through?
Not at all! We didn't wait to get in at all, and once we were inside we went slowly through some attractions behind other cars (where animals are gathered, people tend to slow down, stop, take pics).
Did you make any stops? Did the kids get fussy in the car for such a long time (travel time included)?
After the drive up from Miami, we stopped to use the restroom. But that's all. My kids do really well in the car and on road trips. They are used to being in the car for extended periods.
Worth the drive?
I think it depends on your kids! If they like animals, definitely worth it. I can't think of anywhere else where the animals are so close to the car!
Potty situation for a pregnant woman? Too full on a weekend?
We were there early, and when we arrived at the restrooms, there was a steady in/out of people, but nobody was lingering. They have an attendant for the bathroom and marks on the floor to maintain distance, but remember you cannot stop or get out of the car during the actual safari part.
Did it keep Chloe's attention or did she get antsy?
Between the snacks and the animals, her attention was held! She went back and forth from the backseat to my lap, but it was fine!
Is there a long wait time to reserve tickets? I checked last month and you had to reserve far out.
We bought our tickets on Friday morning for Saturday, and there were people purchasing their tickets right outside the gate (on their cell phones), so I think it should be fine.
Lots of animals?
Do you have to have any contact with anyone at the entrance to check in?
Nope! They are in their guard house and there is a piece of plexiglass in front of them.
Were you concerned that the animals could damage your car?
It honestly never crossed my mind, but I guess it's an inherent risk. While we were there, we did see some of the staff trucks and one of them looked like a rhino had charged into it - which I guess is a very real possibility lol) but we never felt concerned for that.
Do you have to stay in the car the whole time?
During the safari, YES.
How long is the drive through the park?
1 - 1.5 hours.
If you head Lion Country Safari, let me know if you use any of these tips and how they work out for you!
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