Here we are in the theme park capital of the world – you have walked, climbed, ridden just about everything from SeaWorld Orlando to Fun Spot America. Now you are tired. Maybe you want to hand the reigns over to someone else and let them do the driving so that you can actually enjoy some of the best things about the summer months in Central Florida. Well, look no further because we have compiled a list of drive-through safaris and guided tours for you.
Drive-Thru Safari Tours and Wildlife Parks Near Orlando
A safari park is a great place for a day trip with the family to enjoy and is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Florida residents, and really anyone visiting safari parks and drive-throughs, can see exotic animals and native Florida wildlife, all while feeling like they are on an African savanna.
Black Point Wildlife Drive
Just a little outside of Orlando, safari adventurers will find the Black Point Wildlife Drive. In the beautiful town of Titusville, in Brevard County, Black Point Wildlife Drive offers visitors a break from major theme parks. This will not be the wildest ride of your life, but instead, a safe, seven-mile one-way road to enjoy the scenery. The park is open year-round from sunrise to sunset. The refuge offers safari tours narrated and guided by knowledgeable folks on a shuttle bus and is a great way to learn about wildlife and native plants. During the migratory season, birding tours are offered as well. Spacing is limited in the park, so making reservations is highly recommended. Visitors will need a pass for BPWD; there is a choice between a daily pass of $5.00 at the drive entrance or purchasing an annual pass for $15.00. Keep in mind that vehicles that are longer than twenty-nine feet, buses, and that have trailers are prohibited from driving on the trail. While on the trail, you may stop as often as you like, provided that you move over so other families may pass you. There will be plenty of photo opportunities as well. Younger children (and the older ones too) will enjoy all the fun things that will see along the trail like alligators, birds, American bison, and so much more!
Exotic Animal Experiences in Orlando
We are all about drive-thru safaris and sail-thru safaris, but what about a walk-thru safari? If you are ready to see some of the most exotic animals in Central Florida, then your next stop should be to the Exotic Animal Experiences in Orlando. This is not your typical safari – walk through to see animals like the African Pygmy goat, sloths, spider monkeys, a Dromedary camel, and even a fainting goat! Be prepared to pay a pretty penny for this one though; tours are only offered on Thursdays and Saturdays and they are by appointment only. You can schedule a tour for a private experience with the animals or share the experience with family and friends. Families with children ten and older can choose different encounters with the animals and the price ranges from $150.00 per person for group visits to $750.00 for the ultimate private experience. Take a walk on the wild side and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime adventure
Check out these resources for saving money on everyday purchases, activities, restaurants and more.
Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive
If there is an ornithologist in your family, then the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive is for them. The diversity of the bird species here range from the bald eagle to the white ibis and with more than 362 different species of birds to watch, visitors are bound to see something unique. The drive-thru is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday and federal holidays between 7am and 3pm. All vehicles must exit the park by 5pm. The Wildlife Drive is an eleven-mile excursion that can take families one to three hours to complete, based on the number of stops you make. During the ride, families will see acres of untouched scenic landscapes filled with American alligators, bobcats, otters, bears, raccoons, armadillos, and coyotes. If you are still a little hesitant about doing the actual drive-thru, you can learn a little more about it through the audio tour, available on their website. It is a beautiful, authentic environment filled with both hiking trails and biking trails. At Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, there is something for the entire family to enjoy.
Jungle Adventures, A Real Florida Park
Still want all the fun of the safari, but don’t want to drive? Drive just a little ways from Orlando and head over to Jungle Adventures in Christmas. Do not miss this unique opportunity to see animals from the comfort of a jungle cruise. The Jungle Swamp Queen River Boat take riders through the park where you will see animals native to Florida like Alligators, Panthers, Black Bears, Wolves, White-Tailed Deer and more. At the park, there is even a replica of Spanish Fort Mees. The park is open every day of the year from 9:30am to 5:30pm with the last admittance to the park at 4pm; however, for the safety of the patrons, the Jungle Cruise does not sail during inclement weather. Full-day passes range from free entry to $27.95, depending on age. Annual passes and group pricing is available as well. Start or end your day at the park by watching professionally trained animal handlers feed eight to fifteen-foot alligators at the Gator Jamboree Feeding; if you feel like getting up close and personal with the little critters, head over to one of the wildlife shows where you can feed them yourself.
Marsh Landing Adventures
There is no other place on this planet like the Florida Everglades. Most people never get to experience it, but if you are not like most people, you can you will enjoy the Everglades on a fun airboat ride! Marsh Landing Adventures in Orlando takes you on a water safari like no other. You will see alligators, of course, and various endangered animals in their natural habitat. The group tour is the most child-friendly. It accommodates kiddos aged two and older. The nature enthusiast and avid photographer should book one of the longer tours that takes you deeper into the everglades to capture breathtaking views. Safety is a top priority for Marsh Landing Adventures; all of the airboat captains are licensed by the US Coast Guard. Tours are scheduled Monday through Saturday 9am to 5pm and Sunday 11am to 5pm. Since times and schedules vary, it is recommended that tickets be purchased in advance.
Visitors to Safari Wilderness in Lakeland will experience a wild ride. The whole family will have a great experience on the more than two hundred and sixty acres at this wildlife conservation community. The tours are done with experienced drivers in canopied vehicles with stadium seating. Make sure to look up as well at the beautiful and tropical birds soaring in the sky. If your family is ready to challenge their wild side, then you will want to go on a safari by ATV, kayak, or camelback! See African Watusi, Irish Dexter Cattle, Elands, Zebras and more exciting animals along the unbeaten path. Children of all ages will love Safari Wilderness and with the moderate prices of $125 per vehicle, not per person, parents will love it too.
Make meal planning easier this school year with $5 Meal Plan. Get a month’s worth of pre-planned meals for $5. Delivered to your inbox each week.
Spirit of the Swamp Airboat Rides
Welcome to the family-friendly airboat tours! While Spirit of the Swamp is not technically a drive-thru, but instead a sail-thru, we decided to include it on our list. The Spirit of the Swamp Airboat Rides offers families with little ones ten and under the chance to enjoy an easy airboat ride in the Everglades. They use smaller, six-passenger boats for a better and more comfortable ride and more uninhibited views of the beauty of the Everglades. The Everglades is the perfect place for families to connect with nature and have a great time doing it. Spirit of the Swap offers tours seven days a week – the schedules vary so it is recommended that tours are reserved in advance.
Wild Florida Safari Drive Thru Park
Located in Kenansville, Florida, Wild Florida Safari Drive Thru Park is Florida’s only airboat, gator, and drive-thru safari park. You will get to see animal species from all over the world to ones located in the deciduous forests of North America. From the comfort of your own car, you will see animals such as eland antelope, scimitar oryx, and mouflon sheep (say that three times fast). You can even stop and feed the giraffes along the way. If you want to get closer to the animals than you can in the drive-thru portion of the park, then enter Gator Park, the walk-through portion of the park, at no additional cost after your safari. In Gator Park, you can get up close to over 200 animals including alligators. The Gator Park also has animal encounters where you are able to interact with sloths, lemurs, a capybara, a porcupine and more, The Gator Park also has two gator shows and an exotic animal show. Wild Florida Safari is truly the best of both worlds.