We decided to do a "staycation" this year making little one-day excursions to nearby fun spots. Two of our grandsons (aged 11 and 13) spent the week with us and helped plan the activities. The first weekend was a camping trip to a nearby county park on an island in the Indian River and is less than a mile (as the crow flies) to the Atlantic Ocean shore at Sebastian Inlet. (see my post on tent camping)
Next, my daughter, her husband, their toddler son and his other grandpa joined us for an excursion to Lion Country Safari, just outside West Palm Beach.
My husband and I and the bigger grandsons followed in our minivan. By the time we got half way to West Palm torrential rains were coming down. The Garmin was unable to establish a satellite connection due to the heavy clouds and lightning.
We went through the entrance gate to pay our admission (about $24 per person) and got drenched, as did the ticket maker. Our enthusiasm was not diminished. At least we were early so the parking lot was nearly empty. We started our tour of the park as the rain began to slow and after a few minutes we remembered to start playing the CD that the ticket lady had loaned us. It gave us descriptions of the animals and birds to look for as we went from one area of the park to another. Each area is fenced with electrical wire and you are not permitted to put your windows down or open your car doors for any reason. Park rangers patrol in zebra striped trucks to help if you need anything.
The animals did not seem put off by the rain and lightning. They were just where the CD said they would be and except for the lions, the animals were given free reign of the areas they were in. The lions were inside a fenced area but they came very close to our cars several times and were the most magnificent creatures I have ever seen. They looked like they had been groomed, since they were not subjected to the rigors of drought and starvation faced in the wild.
Other animals too numerous to mention included: zebra, white rhinos, huge tortoises, elephants (they were the farthest from the car) gibbons, chipanzees, kudu, impala, water buffalo, blackbuck, ostrich, tapir, wildebeest, and giraffes you can feed.
You can do the driving tour as many times as you like, but there is more! Included in the adventure are animal, alligator and bird demonstration shows, a petting zoo, and an entertainment park that offers rides, a splash pad and a water slide.
We had lunch at the park in a large round building that carried out the safari theme and had a small gift shop on the side. Lunch for 4 consisting of 2 very large hot dogs, a personal pizza, a nice chicken wrap, chips and beverages came to $36.90, with the most expensive being the wrap at $6 and a V8 at $3. A medium Coke cost $3.10.
Unfortunately, lightning had knocked the power out and impending stormy weather had made using even the miniature golf course impractical. But, we did enjoy walking around the beautifully landscaped entertainment park and feeding the brightly colored lories in their aviary.
Everyone had a great time at Lion Country Safari and we will return soon on a nice dry day, I promise!