Take an African Safari in SW Ontario!
By Sarah Tuesday, May 15, 2012
I never imagined I would ever be looking directly into a giraffe’s eyes, but there I was at African Lion Safari, in my car with a giraffe nose pressed up against my window. My kids were in the back seat climbing over each other to get a better view while my wife scrambled to lean across me and touch the window. It was a jungle in my car and a safari outside of it. To think this all started with a birthday gift.
My youngest daughter was turning 6 and had become infatuated with exotic stuffed animals like lions, tigers, and zebras. The only one she didn’t have was a giraffe so of course we had to get her a stuffed giraffe that was bigger than she was. Then we checked Summer Fun Guide to see where we could visit that she could see her favorite animals. When we found the African Lion Safari we knew it would be perfect!
We visited African Lion Safari on opening weekend so it was very busy. The girls were jumping up and down as we walked towards the Elephant Round-Up show. We found seats just as the show began. The elephants and their handlers showed us that just because they were big didn’t mean they were slow or clumsy. The elephants showed their agility and they also demonstrated how incredibly strong they were. The whole time my two daughters and my wife were squealing with excitement and oohing and ahhing over the amazing elephants.
Next we were off to the main attraction, the enormous drive through game preserves. We were told there are 750 acres of land that the 1,000 species of birds and animals, many of which are endangered or threatened, can roam freely on. The car had been filled with the chatter of two young ladies but had gone completely silent with anticipation as we slowly drove through the preserve. A heard of Zebras ran past us and the silence was shattered with screams of excitement.
After the Zebras we came across an amazing array of animals we didn’t think we would ever see outside of a zoo. There were ostrich, hopping kangaroos, funny monkeys (or as we later found out they were actually baboons and there is a difference), cheetahs, and of course the giraffes.
My wife and I saw the giraffes in the distance before the girls did. Our youngest daughter, the birthday girl, noticed the giraffes next and grabbed her new stuffed animal as she screamed “giraffes! giraffes!”. At first the giraffes seemed to be minding their own business and I don’t know if it was the screaming or if they saw the giant stuffed animal giraffe in the backseat but two of them slowly began making their way directly towards our car. I never truly grasped how big they are but I was in awe as they towered over us. That’s when one leaned down and pushed his nose against the window like he was trying to get a better look at us. He stayed there for a minute and then turned and galloped off back into the field to join his friends.
African Lion Safari was an amazing experience that I will never forget and I know that my family never will either. Make sure to bring the family there this year; it will be something they will talk about for years to come. The only problem we are having now is explaining that we can’t go there everyday!
The safari is open from May 5th to October 8th with changing hours from spring to summer to fall. For all of the information you need check out their website at lionsafari.com.