Giraffes at the Safaripark Beekse Bergen, Netherlands
White rhinoceros at Pombia Safari Park, Italy
White Rhinoceros at San Diego Safari Park, US
Grant's zebras at Africam Safari, Mexico

A safari park, sometimes known as a wildlife park, is a zoo-like commercial drive-in tourist attraction where visitors can drive their own vehicles or ride in vehicles provided by the facility to observe freely roaming animals.

A safari park is larger than a zoo and smaller than a game reserve. For example, African Lion Safari in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada is 750 acres (3.0 km2). For comparison, Lake Nakuru in the Great Rift Valley, Kenya, is 168 square kilometres (65 sq mi), and a typical large game reserve is Tsavo East, also in Kenya, which encompasses 11,747 square kilometres (4,536 sq mi).

Many parks have conservation programmes with endangered animals like: elephants, white rhinos, giraffes, lions, tigers, cheetahs and wild dogs.

General overview of a safari park

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The main attractions are frequently large animals from Africa which people can see in wildlife reserves such as: giraffes, lions (including white lions), white rhinos, African bush elephants, hippopotamuses, zebras, ostriches, lesser and greater flamingos, ground hornbills, guineafowl, African buffaloes, sometimes dromedary camels, great white and pink-backed pelicans, African sacred ibises, Ankole cattle, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, chimpanzees, baboons, African wild dogs, Barbary sheep, crowned cranes, Egyptian geese, saddle-billed, yellow-billed and marabou storks, Nile crocodiles (in a side paddock), Nubian ibexes, and many antelope species including- wildebeest, hartebeest, topi, gazelles, elands, lechwe, addaxes, oryxes, bongos, kudus, nyalas, impalas, springbok, blesbok, sitatunga, duikers, waterbucks, sable antelopes, and roan antelopes, just to name a few.

Also in the reserves there are animals that are not from Africa: Asian species include: Asian elephants, Indian and Sumatran rhinoceroses, gaur, water buffaloes, nilgais, blackbucks, banteng, markhor, Malayan tapirs, wild asses, sambar deer, Indian hog deer, yaks, gibbons, tigers (including white tigers), Asian black bears, Eld's deer, babirusas, chital, dholes, barasinghas, painted storks, peafowl, and Bactrian camels; North American species include: American black bears, brown bears, wolves (including Arctic wolves), American bison, elk, and white-tailed deer; South American species include: llamas, alpacas, jaguars, capybaras, anteaters, South American tapirs, rheas, and black-necked swans; Australian species include kangaroos, wallabies, emus, and black swans; European species include: European bisons, Eurasian wolves, mute swans, fallow deer, red deer, and moose.

Most safari parks have a "walk-around" area with animals too small or too dangerous to roam freely in the reserves, like: small birds, squirrel monkeys, penguins, marmosets, tamarins, mongooses, meerkats, lemurs, gorillas, reptiles, hornbills, red pandas, snow leopards, otters and warthogs. Some also have: children's zoos, aquariums, butterfly houses and reptile and insect houses. Besides animals, in the walk-round area, there are public facilities like toilets, snack bars and cafés, play areas and sometimes amusement rides. There can be walk-through exhibits with animals like kangaroos, lemurs and wallabies. The Knowsley Safari in England keeps Siberian tigers and giraffes in their walking area.

Safari parks often have other associated tourist attractions: golf courses, carnival rides, cafés/restaurants, ridable miniature railways, boat trips to see aquatic animals like sea lions, life-sized recreations of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals, plant mazes, playgrounds, monorails, cable cars and gift shops.[citation needed] These are commonly found in the walk-around area. On river safari areas, there may be islands with primates; Longleat keeps gorillas and black-and-white colobus on their islands, which are used to house chimpanzees and siamangs; African Lion Safari in Canada has black-and-white ruffed lemurs, ring-tailed lemurs, lar gibbons, siamangs, Colombian spider monkeys, Geoffroy's spider monkeys, pink-backed pelicans and black swans in the waters.

History and list of parks

Giraffes being fed by visitors in the West Midland Safari Park, England

The predecessor of safari parks is Africa U.S.A. Park (1953–1961) in Florida.[1]

The first lion drive-through opened in 1963 in Tama Zoological Park in Tokyo. In double-glazed buses, visitors made a tour through a one-hectare enclosure with twelve African lions.

The first drive-through safari park outside of Africa opened in 1966 at Longleat in Wiltshire, England.[2][3] Longleat, Windsor, Woburn and arguably the whole concept of safari parks were the brainchild of Jimmy Chipperfield (1912–1990), former co-director of Chipperfield's Circus, although a similar concept is explored as a plot device in Angus Wilson's "The Old Men at the Zoo" which was published five years before Chipperfield set up Longleat.[4] Longleat's Marquess of Bath agreed to Chipperfield's proposition to fence off 40 hectares (100 acres) of his vast Wiltshire estate to house 50 lions. Knowsley, the Earl of Derby's estate outside Liverpool, and the Duke of Bedford's Woburn estate in Bedfordshire both established their own safari parks with Chipperfield's partnership. Another circus family, the Smart Brothers, joined the safari park business by opening a park at Windsor for visitors from London. The former Windsor Safari Park was in Berkshire, England, but closed in 1992 and has since been made into a Legoland theme park. There is also Chipperfield's "Scotland Safari Park" established on Baronet Sir John Muir's estate at Blair Drummond near Stirling, and the American-run "West Midland Safari and Leisure Park" near Birmingham. One park, along with Jimmy Chipperfield at Lambton Castle in North East England, has closed.

Between 1967 and 1974, Lion Country Safari, Inc. opened 6 animal parks, one near each of the following American cities: West Palm Beach, Florida; Los Angeles, California; Grand Prairie, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; Cincinnati, Ohio, and Richmond, Virginia. The first park, in South Florida, is the only Lion Country Safari still in operation.

Royal Burgers' Zoo at Arnhem, opened a "safari park" in 1968 within a traditional zoo. In 1995, Burgers' Safari modified this to a walking safari with a 250-metre (820 ft) boardwalk. Another safari park in the Netherlands is Safaripark Beekse Bergen.

Most safari parks were established in a short period of ten years, between 1966 and 1975.

See also


  1. ^ Life, Vol.49, No.5, August 1, 1960, pp.1,30.
  2. ^ The lions and loins of Longleat The Sunday Times Retrieved February 18, 2011
  3. ^ Gail Vines (2 December 1982). "Safari parks, after the honeymoon". New Scientist: 554–557. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
  4. ^ Sansom, Ian (15 May 2010). "Great dynasties of the world: The Chipperfields". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  5. ^ 10 lugares que ya no existen en Puerto Rico: Aquí una lista nostálgica de lugares que ya no existen excepto en la memoria. Primera Hora. 1 October 2013. Accessed 21 September 2020.