White sands, palm trees, pina coladas, and the lustrous beaches that surround the peninsula of Florida sounds like the perfect escape to paradise. After relaxing and soaking in the rays, you may choose to wander off to the wonderous worlds of Disney and Universal Studios. For those seeking a bit of thrill and adventure, there is the alligator lurking Everglades. Rides the boats if you dare.

Florida has a little something for everyone, but hidden away in Loxahatchee is the Lion Country Safari, proclaimed to be the first drive-through wildlife preserve in the United States. I decided to take a drive down to West Palm Beach over Veteran’s Day weekend to take a gander. I have always wanted to experience a safari, but Africa seems a bit out of the way, so when I stumbled upon Lion Country Safari, I was completely sold! The reviews were riveting and I was excited to explore 4 miles of open preserve where animals can literally walk up to your car.

Upon arrival, I was handed an informative audio CD and given specific instructions to not open my windows or doors during my time in the preserve. Then I entered the single file line of cars ready to enter the preserve. Once you enter the preserve, there is a passing lane available in case you get stuck behind a gawking tourist like me. 😉

The drive-through preserve has 7 different sections, each with a specific herd of animals. There were herds of zebras, rhinos, tortoises, water buffalo, ostriches, lions, and giraffes to name a few of the animals. Most of the animals roam around freely in a cageless environment, except the lions which are fenced in with an electric fence. The chimpanzees are also surrounded by a moat of water to keep them from getting into mischief.

If you do not want to see the rhinos and lions, there are detours in the preserve to drive past them, but honestly, nothing to be afraid of. I’d be more afraid of the ostriches. One of the ostriches in one of the sections of the preserve started pecking at the car behind me, but don’t worry, no vehicular harm was noted. Plus there is staff driving around the preserve to maintain your safety, but as long as you’re not crawling out of your car, you’ll be fine.

After driving through the safari, I parked my car and explored the walk-through amusement park. The amusement park was a nice break from the drive, but I felt like it was mostly for kids. There were a few animals like bird species, alpacas, and goats in the walk-through portion. You can also feed the giraffes, alpacas, and goats! The giraffes were my favorite animal to feed. Their tongues are SO long! Wish I hoarded several heads of lettuce in my purse. I would feed those beauts all day long.

Then if you haven’t had enough, you may reenter the preserve as many times as you want until close. Overall, a great experience and recommended attraction.