- reported by Sara Porch
Journey into the wild at Safari Wilderness Ranch
in Lakeland, Fla
. Guests can explore over 260 acres of wilderness and wildlife on a guided safari tour
. Each tour takes place on a canopied safari vehicle with a trained guide ready to lead a “natural adventure.” Guests can safely observe hundreds of exotic animals in their natural habitats and herd formations in an experience that is distinctive from those found at traditional zoos.
Because of its size, Safari Wilderness Ranch can accommodate larger animals in a setting that closely resembles their natural habitats. The ranch is home to water buffaloes, antelopes, zebras, waterbucks, lemurs, elands, greater kudus and many other exotic animals. Some of these animals are endangered or even extinct in their natural habitat. Safari Wilderness Ranch gives guests the rare opportunity to see and interact with these endangered animals.
Along with the guided safari tours, guests can get even closer to the animals at three additional attractions. In the walk-though lemur habitat, guests can hand feed grapes to ring-tailed-lemurs
. Guest can also feed Australian budgie parrots
at the ranch’s outdoor aviary. For those feeling especially adventurous, guests can choose to experience the safari on camelback
. Safari Wilderness Ranch, along with their sister property Giraffe Ranch
, are the only two places that offer a full camelback guided safari experiences in the U.S., making it a one-of-a kind experience.
Safari Wilderness Ranch was created by Charles Salisbury, a former zoo director with more than 30 years of experience working with
animals in zoos. After seeing the difficulties traditional zoos had keeping larger animals in an urban zoo environment, Salisbury wanted to establish an environment that better catered to these animals’ needs.
Diane Bedard, the director of marketing and public relations at Safari Wilderness Ranch said that Salisbury designed the ranch so that the animals could rest from being on exhibit, grow their numbers in a natural herd and thrive in a suited ecosystem. Along with his partner Dr. Stephen Wehrmann, Salisbury opened Safari Wilderness Ranch to the public in March 2012.
A trip to Safari Wilderness Ranch will be unlike any zoo experience you have had. Guests can interact with animals in a fun and incredibly unique way, and as Bedard puts it a visit to Safari Wilderness Ranch is, “a lot less expensive than a safari to Africa.”
photos courtesy of Safari Wilderness Ranch