Sunday, June 22, 2008

Lion Country Safari, Florida

As part of my recent trip to Florida, with my granddaughter, we made a visit to Lion Country Safari. This was kind of a last minute decision because I knew it would be an expensive day. However, having decided that she is worth anything, and she wanted to go very badly, we went.

It was a good decision. We had a wonderful day. We got there at 9:30 AM when it opened. Yes, it is expensive with adults at $22.95 and children 3-9 (I think that's the right lower limit...I was more interested in the upper limit as she is 8) are $17.95. On top of that, they charge $4.50 for parking. However, I did manage to save $5.00 per person with a coupon printed off of their web site.

The first part of the park is the 'safari'. When we paid we got a CD that we played as we drove. It described the areas and the animals. We drove through areas with unfenced animals. Yes, some of the animals were fenced like the lions and the elephants. But a lot weren't which made it quite exciting for my granddaughter when we had to stop and wait because white rhinos and zebras were crossing the road right in front of us. It took us about 1 1/2 hrs to travel the safari. There weren't many cars that early in the morning and I could stop as long as we wanted and even back up if necessary. Upon leaving the safari area, we returned the CD.

We then parked and walked into the nature/play area. There are several rides included in the price of admission. We also played minature golf, included. We walked around the nature area where I took the pictures of the flowers in this post. There were flamingos, and koi ponds. We saw a duck with ducklings and turtles. We got to take out a paddle boat (included) on the small lagoon.

Then came the splash park, also included. This is an area of water spraying out all different ways in all different directions. There is a changing room where we both changed into our bathing suits. My granddaughter had a fantastic time here as did all the other kids in the area. Not many other adults were in bathing suits but I didn't care. I got in there and got wet and played with my granddaughter. It was HOT and I enjoyed it as much as she did.

There are chairs and lounges around the splash area, with a good number in the shade. We were there about 1 1/2 hours. I think she would have stayed longer but, typical of Florida summer days, thunderclouds were rolling in.

There are opportunities to feed some of the animals and that all costs extra. She had a great time feeding giraffes and got really blown away by the length of their tongues. And she fed the lories (they are about the size of a robin but have the colors of a parrot) and enjoyed that so much that we had to go back a second time.

Finally, after some ice slurpies, we moseyed through the gift shop (didn't buy anything) and then finally left the park at 3:30 PM. (Park closes at 5:30 PM with last admittance at 4:30. However, if you can't spend 4-5 hours there to take advantage of most of what is offered, I don't think it would be worth the price.)

As a final note, there is plenty of food and drink available for purchase. I had brought sandwiches and water with us and there are picnic tables and benches throughout the park.

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