Out Of Africa – Great Safari Tours in the USA
Unlike visiting a zoo, a safari park offers people the opportunity to experience a more realistic wildlife environment. Usually modelled on scaled versions of a natural habitat, safari parks allow animals to roam free within the confines of the perimeter fences.
Africa is arguably still the best place to go on safari holidays because the animals are in their indigenous environment. However, there are many good safari parks around the world that offer a similar experience. Below is a selection of some of the best safari parks in the US.
Everglades Safari Park, Florida
If you are interested in adventure tours, check out the Everglades Safari Park in Florida. This is one of the most popular attractions in the area. Visitors can take an air-boat tour around the Everglades and see the native wildlife such as American crocodiles and alligators. For those who are feeling brave, the park offers visitors the chance to hold a baby crocodile.
Safari West, California
This 400 acre safari park is located in the centre of California's wine country. It is home to over 800 animals including zebra, antelope, buffalo, rhinos and giraffe. The park offers private adventure tours for up to 10 people, including a guide, wine and snacks. The tour involves a three-hour drive through the park on an authentic safari vehicle. Visitors to the park can also spend a night in a traditional African tent overlooking one of the lakes.
Wild Side, Ohio
Wild Side safari park is a must-see attraction for those eager to be up close to rhinos. The park is an authentic landscape where many grazing African animals are free to roam around. On the shuttled tours you can see giraffe, zebra, cheetah, wild dogs and, of course, rhino. The Wild Side safari park has a selection of safari-style lodges where visitors can spend the night on the park game viewing and experiencing the 'next best thing' to an African safari.
Disney's Wildlife Kingdom, Florida
Some people would not consider Disney's Wildlife Kingdom as a safari park; instead, they would describe it as an animal-themed park. However, this park contains over 250 species of animal and one of its areas is themed on Africa. Therefore, for an 'African experience', it is the ideal place to enjoy as a family. The Wild Trek Africa experience is a private tour that includes a guide and visits the crocodile and hippo enclosures. You can also travel on a traditional safari vehicle and see elephants, giraffes, cheetahs, lions and more.
Virginia Safari Park, Virginia
Home to over 1,000 animals from 6 different continents, this safari park is situated on 180 acres of land. The park has a safari drive-through zoo and a safari walk-through zoo. The drive-through safari is made up of 3 miles of road through the Shenandoah Valley. Here you will see llamas, camels, deer, bison, ostriches and zebras. The safari village walk-through area is a series of paths that visitors can leisurely stroll down and find goats, pot belly pigs, giraffes and baby llamas. Children will enjoy the opportunity to feed and pet these animals in this area of the park.
Safari parks are the perfect alternative to experiencing the real thing in Africa. They provide people of all ages and budgets with the next best thing: an African wildlife adventure in a realistic cage-free habitat.
AUTHOR BIO: Claire Jones writes regularly on safari holidays for a range of travel websites and blogs. Claire has spent a number of years reviewing national and international safari parks. She has also visited the Masai Mara, one of Africa's most iconic parks to experience 'the real thing' for herself.