Lion Country Safari celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. This year, the Palm Beach County drive-through safari park is celebrating another milestone after it was named one of the 10 best wildlife parks in the United States by USA Today readers.
More than 20 wildlife parks were entered into running in USA Today’s “10Best” Reader’s Choice contest, Lion Country Safari said in a news release.
Lion Country Safari was ranked No. 7 on the list, with the Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Safari in Nebraska taking the No. 1 spot.
The 320-acre park, nestled between The Acreage to the north and east and agricultural fields to the west, is home to more than 1,000 animals.
“We’re proud to see this national recognition for Lion Country Safari,” said Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO for Discover The Palm Beaches, the county’s tourism marketing corporation. “As our largest tourism attraction in The Palm Beaches, it’s earned a well-deserved reputation as a high-quality safari park.”
The park last year won Discover’s Providencia Award, the top tourism prize in the county, as Lion Country marked its 50th birthday.
“This unique experience makes the wild lands of Africa accessible to our visitors,” Pesquera said.
That proximity to wildlife is noted in USA Today’s entry on the park in its top 10 list. “Palm Beach may be far away from the wilds of Africa, but it’s also home to Florida’s first drive-through safari, the AZA-accredited Lion Country Safari,” the site wrote. “Established in 1967, this safari park invites visitors to observe and interact with more than 1,000 animals divided between seven sections. Guests might spot ostrich, wildebeest and impala on the Serengeti Plains, observe a pride of lions in Gorongosa Reserve or see giraffe and endangered rhino in Hwange National Park.”
This isn’t the first time Lion Country Safari has ranked well when stacked up against similar parks. Zoo Nation last year named Lion Country one of the best Savanna Exhibits in the world, along with nine other places to see African wildlife outside Africa.