Florida’s Lion Country Safari makes the list

LOXHATCHEE – Providing an up-close look at exotic animals since 1967 and is considered the first cage-free zoo in the United States, Lion Country Safari has been named the fifth best safari park in the country in USA Today’s “10 Best” Readers’ Choice 2022 poll.

The rankings were released on Friday.

A panel of zoo and travel experts along with several top 10 editors compiled the initial top 20 list. The final 10 were chosen by popular vote.

A No. 5 finish is a step up for Lion Country Safari, which placed eighth in the poll last year, according to the park’s public relations and social media manager Haley McCann-Gonzalez.

One of the primate gift recipients at the 37th Annual Celebration of Christmas with the Chimpanzees at Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee in December.

The top spot in the poll was secured by a Nebraska park, the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari in Ashland. The composition of the top 5:

  1. Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari in Ashland, Neb.
  2. Nature in Cumberland, Ohio
  3. Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center in Divide, Colorado.
  4. Bearizona Wildlife Park in Williams, Arizona.
  5. Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee.

Lion Country Safari was a pioneer in the world of zoos when it opened over 50 years ago, introducing a new concept in zoology and tourism. It offered families the chance to experience an African safari at a fraction of the cost and time.

Pictures:Christmas for Chimpanzees at Lion Country Safari

More residents of the park:See photos of the second rare rhino born this year at Lion Country Safari

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Lion Country Safari drive-in park is home to the country’s largest population of zebras

From those humble beginnings, the park is now home to more than 1,000 wildlife from six continents, including lions, wildebeest, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, chimpanzees, rhinos, impalas, greater kudus, water buffaloes and white-handed gibbons, on nearly 600 acres.

Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee has the largest herd of zebras in the United States.  A new male was born into the population on May 6.

In the wild, the population of zebras in the park is the largest in the country. On May 6, he added one more member to the herd with the birth of a male plains zebra.

Although it may not be the number one in the country, the park’s herd of giraffes is recognized as one of the largest.

Josh, a rare southern white rhino, stands with his mother, Bloom, at Lion Country Safari.  The new rhino was born on November 17.

The park is known all over the world, up to the North Pole. On his worldwide ride in December, Santa Claus regularly stops at Lion Country Safari to deliver gifts to chimpanzees – an event guests can attend each year.

In addition to allowing visitors to observe these animals up close in a natural setting, the park also participates in numerous conservation initiatives and approximately 35 breeding programs (known as species survival plans) for endangered species, including rhinoceros, zebra, oryx and siamang.

Lion Country Safari's giraffe population is one of the largest in the country.

These programs help ensure the survival of a healthy and sustainable population of endangered species in human care and help facilities like Lion Country Safari act as lifeboats or figurative arks as wild populations decline and come under threat. of extinction.

African lions sit outside Lion Country Safari as motorists drive past.

Park staff have been on hand for dozens of wildebeest to wildebeest births. They also took part in an unprecedented surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from the horn of a rhinoceros.

Eddie Ritz is a reporter for the Palm Beach Post, part of the USA TODAY Florida Network. You can reach him at [email protected]. Help support our journalism. Subscribe today.