Getting away from the busy city of Orlando can be quite difficult when there is so much to do and so little time to enjoy a weekend getaway. Luckily, there are places around Orlando that feel like a getaway without going far.
My next adventure took me to Lakeland, Florida. Located six miles north of I-4 between Orlando and Tampa, Safari Wilderness Ranch is a unique place offering all sorts of amazing experiences. Surrounded by Florida’s Green Swamp, Safari Wilderness Ranch offers an experience of a lifetime.
When the family and I made our way into the Safari Wilderness Ranch, we followed a long path inside until we arrived at the parking lot. There, we walked on a wooden pathway that took us to a building where we had to check-in. The lady who checked us in was very friendly and pointed out a few things to know before the expedition began. She also pointed out that it was going to rain and if we wished to, we could buy some rain ponchos. I really thought this was very useful to have in the gift shop, especially being that we were in the middle of the wilderness.
We decided to opt out from purchasing the ponchos and followed our tour guide to the vehicle. Our tour guide was also nice enough to let us know that it was going to rain and warned us ahead of time that the vehicle would get wet inside. Once we settled into our seats, we were off on our safari.
Our tour guide drove us around to see the many animals in the area and would often stop allowing us to get some great photos, while he gave us information about the animals. Hearing all the information our tour guide, Philip offered, not only made me realize how passionate this man was about animals, but how amazing of an experience tour guides provide to expeditions. Of course, as we were warned, it did start to rain, which made it a bit hard to take photos. The vehicle also got wet on the inside, but what I like about that experience was that it just added to the safari adventure.
The rain didn’t last long and I was able to once again take photos of the animals. I was also able to feed a few of them on the way – mostly llamas and water buffalo. What made this expedition so unique is the fact that these animals aren’t caged, you aren’t in a zoo watching animals behind a fence, but rather you are seeing them in their natural habitat – running around freely. Most of the animals are friendly, allowing you to touch them. Some even get close to the vehicle, which is something you will not experience in a zoo.
On the safari, we were taught about the different types of African and Asian animals that exist in this world. Some are nearing extinction, while others were brought in by previous owners. We made our way through herds of animals that were scattered throughout the 260 acres of wilderness, but that wasn’t all.
Aside from our amazing expedition, we also got to feed the Lemurs. Before we went to feed the Lemurs, we took a quick tour of the facility and saw all the other animals at the Safari Wilderness Ranch. We got to see Guinea Pigs, Budgies, Camels, Roosters, Peacocks and Coatis.
Once we paid a visit to all the animals in the facility, Philip gave us some grapes so that we could feed the Lemurs. I was so excited to feed the Lemurs as I’ve never had the chance before to do so. The Ring-Tailed Lemurs are a funny bunch full of energy and are very gentle. When I fed the Lemurs, they would hold my hand and slowly take the grape with their mouths. The group I was with enjoyed their time with the Lemurs, just as much as I did.
Safari + Activities
The experience of both the safari and feeding the Lemurs was incredible. Not only is this a great experience for families, but it is made for all ages to enjoy. If you would like to be more daring on your adventure to Safari Wilderness Ranch, they do have different types of experiences.
Since this isn’t a zoo or a theme park, there are no lines or crowds to worry about when you book your expedition. The cost of the experiences aren’t on the cheap side, but it is definitely worth it. This also goes towards the Ranch, which supports all the animals.
My overall experience was wonderful and my family definitely feels the same way that I do. Not only did we enjoy the experiences, but we had amazing staff members, who were friendly, patient and passionate about Safari Wilderness, and that adds to the wonderful experience.
Disclaimer: I did receive passes to this wonderful experience courtesy of Safari Wilderness Ranch. All opinions are and will always be my own.