Friday, April 13, 2012

What’s Next? More Animals of Course!

If someone were viewing our Florida trip to determine if there was some kind of overall theme, they could come to the conclusion that the trip was all about seeing as many animals as possible.  So far, we’d been to the Everglades, the Miami Seaquarium and Jungle Island.  We still have one more major animal attraction on our list of things we could do while in southeast Florida.

Yes…that is Laurie with her head in the Lion Safari sign/photo opportunity!  Lion Country Safari is located in west Palm Beach County.  This attraction was developed by British and South African entrepreneurs in order to give American’s a taste of an African Safari without the time and expense necessary to see the real thing.  Lion Country opened in 1967 and it was the first drive-thru safari park in the United States.

The drive through safari portion of the park is divided into 7 segments.  These female Greater Kudu are in the section named “Ruaha National Park”.  Greater Kudu are found in eastern and southern Africa.  Males can weigh up to 690 lbs.  Their horns curl around 2 ½ times and they average 4 ft. long.  They are commonly used to make ‘Shofars’, a Jewish ritual horn blown at Rosh Hashanah.

Other animal in the Ruaha segment of the park include Impala and Aoudad, with the latter also known as Barbary Sheep.
The real Ruaha National Park is located in Tanzania, it covers 8,494 square miles and among its wide variety of wildlife are an estimated 10,000 elephants. 

This female Ostrich was photographed in the Serengeti Plains section of the park.  She’s quite a bit smaller than a male…but no less aggressive and stubborn.  In another drive through park…a long, long time ago, Laurie and I learned to be very wary of these birds!  They are the world’s largest birds and they can grow up to 8 ft. in height.  One Ostrich egg equals 2 dozen chicken eggs in volume!

Other animal in the Serengeti portion of the park include Watusi with their 9 – 10 ft. horns, Waterbuck, Wildebeest, and Eland.  Male Eland can weigh up to 2,000 lbs. and they are the largest of all the African antelopes. 
The Serengeti Plains in Africa occupies 12,000 square miles in Tanzania and Kenya.  The Serengeti hosts the largest annual land based migration of animals on earth and that migration is one of the 10 Natural Travel Wonders of the World.

This beautiful gazelle is a Gemsbok.  They were found in the Kalahari Bushveldt area of the park.  In the wild, they’re found in arid areas of southwest Africa.  They’ve adapted to go long periods of time with little or no water.  The males and females both have horns.  Gemsbok were released on the White Sands Missile Base in New Mexico.  It’s estimated that there are now about 3,000 Gemsbok in that state.  Without lions to hunt them, they’ve prospered in this new American range. 

The Kalahari Bushvelt is a dry desert-like plateau in southwest Africa.  It covers about 100,000 square miles across Namibia, Botswana and South Africa.  This portion of the park also features the Nile Lechwe.

The Gorongosa Reserve is exclusively set aside for the Lions.  True to its name, Lion Country Safari has a lot of Lions on premises.  This big male was trying to get the attention of either of the females…but they totally ignored him.  Males can weigh up to 500 lbs…a far cry from our former big boy housecat named Hank the Tank.  He ‘only’ weighed 27 lbs.

In an effort to hold down the size of this blog, I haven’t included any photos from the Gir Forest or Las Pampas sections of Lion Country Safari. 
The Gir Forest is a large national park in India...the last stronghold of the Asiatic Lion.  At Lion Country, this park is represented by Kulan, an Asiatic Wild Ass, Nilgai, Blackbuck and Asiatic Water Buffalo. 
Las Pampas doesn’t have much to do with Lions…as the real Las Pampas area is in South America. This segment of Lion Country Safari is represented by Brown Pelicans, Aldabra Tortoises, Llamas, Tapir and Rhea… The Rea is the Western Hemisphere’s smaller version of the Ostrich. (Rheas are the 4th largest bird in the world)  

OK…so, of all the themed segments, we like the animals in the Hwange National Park’s portion of Lion Country Safari.  Laurie photographed and I’ve included 3 different animals that are featured in this segment of Lion Country.  FYI, Hwange is the largest game preserve in Zimbabwe.

The first of these is the Southern White or Square Lipped Rhinoceros.  They were named White Rhinos due to a mistranslation of the Dutch word ‘wijd’, which means wide in English…not white.  Much more docile than Black Rhinos, they can weigh up to 2 ½ tons and they can live 40 years.  It is estimated that there are about 19,000 of these Rhinos left in the wild.  Poaching Rhinos for their horns is big business and a deadly one as well with poachers and park rangers killed in gunfights each and every year…

Laurie loves any creature that either resembles or is remotely related to horses.  Grant’s Zebras are widely found across East Africa’s plains and they are the most plentiful of all Zebra species or subspecies.  Grant’s Zebras are a subspecies of the Plains Zebras, along with 5 other subspecies.

The other 2 species of Zebras are the Mountain Zebras with 2 subspecies and Grevy’s Zebras.  Grevy’s Zebras are endangered with only about 3,000 of them remaining in the wild.

We’ve always loved giraffes!  They are so different than anything else and yet they are also so very elegant.  As the tallest land mammals, they can be as tall as 20 ft.  A full grown male can weight 1600 lbs.  From my research, these appear to be Reticulated or Somali Giraffes.  Over 450 of them are in zoological parks but only 5,000 of them remain in the wild. 

There are an estimated 80,000 giraffes in the wild…with 9 subspecies.  While giraffes as a group are not listed as endangered, some of the subspecies are likely to become extinct.  For example, there are probably no more than 250 Nubian Giraffes left in the wild and there are only 14 in captivity.

While you wouldn’t want to be kicked by a giraffe…they can kill a lion with one blow…they are fun to feed.  Their prehensile tongue can reach 15 inches.  For a nominal cost, the attached Safari World Amusement Park offers guests the opportunity to feed lettuce to the giraffes from a raised platform.  Don’t you just love her eyes!  How could you not give her a little treat…?

The Amusement Park portion of Lion Country Safari has rides for children, some shopping and food and a number of additional animal exhibits.  In addition to this handsome Iguana, there are Squirrel Monkeys, Spider Monkeys, Sarus Cranes, Simang, Flamingos, Burmese Pythons, Storks, Macaws, Alligators, Hornbills, Porcupines, Sloths and a Parrot Exhibit. 

In addition to the opportunity to feed the giraffes, there are 4 other interactive animal encounters for park visitors.  We fed the budgies, (aka Parakeets), which was nice, truly a treat for the children visiting the park.  One could also feed fish, and Lory’s, plus there is a petting zoo. 

All in all, Lion Country Safari was a positive experience…although Laurie and I have visited other safari type parks that we enjoyed a bit better.  But with us, if there are animals to encounter or view, it’s almost always a winner!
Lion Country Safari and Amusement Park is located at 2003 Lion Country Safari Road in West Palm Beach Florida.  There is a $6.00 charge for parking.  Adult cost $27.50, seniors are $24.50 and children from 3 to 9 cost $20.50.  Phone: 561-793-1084.  To learn more about hours, special tours and events just go to  
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by and sharing another animal adventure with us!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

1 comment:

  1. what a fun experience! your pictures are great!!
    I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.
    have a great weekend!