Visitors can feel like they’re in Africa in Polk County

by MMC
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LAKELAND, Fla. — There is a place in Florida that many visit to experience what Africa and Asia look like.


What do you want to know

  • Safari Wilderness offers guests the opportunity to get up close and personal with a variety of wildlife
  • Visitors can choose to view animals by truck, ATV, camel or even kayak
  • Most of Safari Wilderness’ animals roam freely on approximately 260 acres near Lakeland
  • Prices vary depending on travel mode and whether visitors add personal experiences

It’s called Wilderness safariand it gives guests the opportunity to roam its sprawling 260-acre property near Lakeland to forage and observe wildlife up close.

Visitors can tour the property by custom vehicle, camel, ATV, kayak or even drive their own car.

“We have animals here from all over the world,” said JJ James, who has been giving tours to Safari Wilderness visitors for 10 years. “And we’re able to give these animals all this space to move around – 260 acres.

Animals that often walk up to visitors to allow them to enjoy some of the treats on offer.

There are, however, some animals you want to keep your distance from.

“Zebras. Not painted ponies, folks,” James said. “They will trample and kill anything that pursues them that is lower than their bellies. They have been known to kick a lion in the mouth – break its mouth.

The custom vehicle safari costs $119 per person and is open to all ages.

Animals often walk up to visitors during a Safari Wilderness tour. (Spectrum News/Randy Rauch)

Guests can also pay to tour the property in their own vehicles. Prices vary depending on how they choose to travel.

Several special interactions can also be purchased. One feeds cheetahs raw chicken with only a fence separating the guests.

“And you can take all the pictures you want,” James said. “Video, photos – we’re happy with all that. But I encourage people to put their phones away, live in the moment and enjoy the animals.

The park is located near Lakeland and online reservations are required.

For more information and prices or to make reservations, visit Wilderness safari website.

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