2023 - Volume #47, Issue #4, Page #21[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Exotic Zoo Offers Drive-Through Safari
This unique business venture got its start in the 1960ís when founder Claude M. Conley was in his early teens. He began raising exotic animals like buffalo, peacocks, elk, and deer on the farm property that his family had used for raising cattle since 1850. Conley and his sons added Damara zebras to the property in 1980 and numerous rare antelope breeds throughout the next two decades.
By the early 2000ís, the family decided to pivot from a private enterprise and open up to the public. After several years of work, the Tennessee Safari Park opened its doors as an interactive animal exhibit. The family has continued to invest in the Safari by scaling it up and adding new animals each year, seeing close to 90,000 guests a year.
Visit today, and youíll experience the thrill of a safari in the middle of America. The property is home to animals from every continent except Antarctica, and most can free-range across the property. Itís possible to purchase buckets of food at the entrance to feed the hungry hordes of zebras, giraffes, antelope, wildebeests, emus, and more right from your car.
Stroll around the 20-acre walk-through zoo to get some fresh air and experience other animal exhibits, including a petting zoo with pygmy goats and a giraffe feeding station. Also along the way is an aviary oasis where you can see demoiselle cranes, Australian crested doves, and peacock chicks and get the opportunity to hand-feed free flight parakeets, a squirrel monkey exhibit, and a gem mining sluice (open seasonally) that lets kids of all ages look for treasure. Thereís also a large gift shop with various snacks and souvenirs. In the future, visitors will enjoy an immersive sloth exhibit, complete with a waterfall feature.
But more than just a pleasant place to interact with animals, the Tennessee Safari Park is also a dedicated conservational breeding center. The Park works with almost every major zoo and breeding center in the United States to provide them with rare and endangered species born onsite. Many zoos lack the space to breed hoofed animals with herding behavior, but the Parkís 250 acres make it possible to better replicate their natural habitat for breeding success.
As of the 2023 season, pricing is $23 for adults and $16 for children ages 2-12. Feed cups cost $3 each or are $10 for four. The Park is open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday from noon to 5 pm, with the last car accepted at 4 pm. Plan to spend about three hours onsite for the full experience.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Tennessee Safari Park, 618 Conley Rd., Alamo, Tenn. 38001 (ph 731-696-4423; www.tennesseesafaripark.com).
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