Florida on a Tankful: Go on a safari right here at home

By Caitlin Wilson, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, January 26, 2018, 11:01 AM EST

You can see exotic animals at the zoo, but if you really want to get up close, you typically have to go on a safari in the wild.

But in this week's Florida on a Tankful we found a way you won’t have to travel around the world to get right up close to some pretty amazing animals here at the Lion Country Safari.

This off road adventure, in West Palm Beach, is one you have to see to believe.

"Most days this doesn’t feel like work," our guide Patrick Shoe said. "It's a very enjoyable job."

Patrick was our tour guide, but certainly not your average guide. In fact, what he shows you, you probably aren’t used to seeing so close.

"It's really special for guests especially for their first visit here when they can drive through in their cars and see animals roaming around the vehicles," Shoe said.

Animals run wild at Lion Country Safari, while you are kept behind the glass.

This was Florida's first drive-through safari experience that opened more than 50 years ago. Now it still remains the only safari experience of it's kind in the state.

"We try to be as authentic as possible," Shoe said. "We've had people who have gone on African safaris tell us that this is as good as it gets without having to travel across the world."

The 600-acre park takes you on a 4-mile long drive passing over a 1,000 different animals.

You'll see everything from zebras, giraffes, ostriches, and the kings of the jungle, a pride of lions.

Some of these animals will even come right up to your vehicle.

"You can always see the animals doing different things each day," Shoe said, "Especially when we have cooler days like we’ve been having lately, the animals are even more active than any other time of the year.”

Your fun doesn't even stop after the drive through.

One of their coolest exhibits and a crowd favorite might be feeding guys like Cupid, one of their oldest Giraffes.

The other half of the park has animal displays and demonstrations, a water park area with rides, and several other animal encounters along with their Giraffe feeding.

The park is open seven days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Safari guides say the drive-thru typically takes about an hour and a half to complete. Guests need reservations only for the premium experiences; otherwise, they can just show up.