Palm Beach probably isn’t the place you think of when you think of wild. But there’s a wild side to this area of Florida, that includes West Palm Beach. If you go a bit further east, you’ll find it. It’s Lion Country Safari, which is actually located in a small town called Loxahatchee. We passed the post office, so we know. Located adjacent to the attraction, that opened in 1967, is a KOA Kampground that is within walking distance to the park. This is definitely one of the best camping experiences in Florida.
You’ll find all the amenities and more that you’ve come to expect from a KOA branded campground here next to Lion Country Safari. There’s a wonderful pool and deck along with a small recreation room, clean laundry and showers, WiFi, and a plethora of outdoor activities including a kid’s playground, volleyball and lots more. We loved it here and the staff were great. In fact, there is a special that the campground offers for two night’s of camping that include tickets to Lion Country Safari.
The special costs USD135 and that includes two night’s of camping and admission for four at the attraction. This is an incredible deal and makes for a great family weekend activity at a very reasonable price. The cost of admission is normally USD29.95 for an adult alone. Though don’t let that scare you – it is well worth the price of admission! In fact, if you’re not camping, you can still go and I would encourage you to go! You can even find discount coupons in brochure racks or on the attraction’s website.
The Wild Bit
You can read all about Lion Country Safari in travel reviews but you’ve come here for a bit more I suspect. The entire experience is great when it includes the campground next door. We came in on a Friday and relaxed a bit, went for a swim, made dinner and settled in for an early night. The next day plan was to visit the park. We opted to take our bicycles to the park rather than drive the motorhome. The first part of your experience is the four mile safari ride in your own car (if you didn’t bring one like us, you can still hire one there – its basic but its cheap – and it has air conditioning).
I remember as a boy going through the Loch Lomond Bear Park in Scotland and thinking it was so cool. It had opened in 1972 and was closed by 1975 – though the Blair Drummond Safari Park is I think in the same location there. Well, nearly forty years later (or maybe more) I can honestly say this was just as thrilling in my fifties. It was an absolutely awesome time and the best thing was we were in air conditioning and comfortable in the little rental car and could go at our own pace. And we didn’t have to overhear conversations we didn’t want to hear. And did I mention the air conditioning? How cool is it to go through a zoo in the middle of summer in broiling heat and not break a sweat? This is a priceless benefit to visiting.
We entered a long corridor for cars that, for some reason, reminded me of going into Jurassic Park. I was kind of excited so my mind was probably over-imagining. You receive a cd or cassette (a little thing that came before cds that goes into a player in an old car that has music and voice on actual tape that goes around two spools). With this playing we started our safari. I was as excited as a little kid. The four mile road around various themed areas took us at least an hour and a half to complete. It was so nice to enjoy seeing the animals while in the air conditioning I will mention yet again.
We saw just about anything and everything and the tour was very informative and quite well done. The Ostrich were probably the most active when we went through and were all over the roads and fields. The rhinos were lounging together and looked like little puppies in some ways but giant massive puppies. The giraffes were active and elegant and were posing so well for my iPhone. It was a relaxing and exciting time doing the drive through the park.
There is a terrific walk-thru safari park that is also on the same property and easily accessible to the campground. If you opt for the two night camping package two days worth of the park are included. We had a great time in the park walking around and looking at the gardens, animals and more.
There’s a small water park that looked great and inviting but is mostly for families and kids. There were also rides but, again, mostly for kids. But there is so much to see and do, don’t let that change your mind to visit if you don’t have kids – this is a park for all ages.
Two of the best things were the giraffe feeding that we did. I never knew a giraffe tongue was so soft and velvety. And the camel ride was terrific. We went all the way to Turkey and intended on riding a camel and had to do it in our own backyard. Tiffany the camel was so friendly and the handler was very informative. It was a thrill to do as an adult and I’m sure even more exciting for a kid. In addition to this there is a bird aviary where you can feed budgies and a petting zoo with really fun goats.
Throughout the day there are various programs that will inform and entertain you. We managed to catch one of the animal shows and the staff were brilliant and the kids in the audience were captivated. It was very enjoyable and a nice respite from the sun. There’s plenty of opportunities for food and beverage in the park as well should you get thirsty or hungry. And there’s boat rides too! So much it is impossible to write about it all.
All in, this is an incredible experience in Florida and one that you shouldn’t miss – especially if travelling with children. But even if you are just adults, it was a lot of fun and educational at the same time. This is a treasured attraction in Florida and for good reason. And if you’re camping, you can’t get any better than this for a zoo experience.