Central Florida is a pretty cool place; I mean, just the theme parks alone could keep you busy for weeks! We all know about the roller coasters, the mouse ears, and the sea life we can find in that area, so you’re probably wondering how I could possibly offer to show you something really unusual. Trust me, you would be surprised! I know I was.
I have been to pretty much every theme park and attraction that central Florida offers, but the experience I am about to share with you was so fabulous and unique that I’m dedicating an entire article to this one place alone. Yes, that’s right: this ONE location has all 5 of the things you’d never expect to see. Are you ready?
Introducing…Safari Wilderness Ranch! Have you heard of it? If not, keep reading. Once you hear about our trip there, you will definitely want to add this to your list of places to visit in Florida. Located on a beautiful, 870 square mile watershed in-between Orlando and Tampa, this family-owned working game ranch is nothing short of amazing. You can have a REAL safari experience right in the heart of the state!!
This is my family, excited for our upcoming adventure!
So here it is, my very excellent readers: the 5 Things You Would Never Expect to Find in Central Florida.
1. Adorable, grabby lemurs. And by grabby, I mean get-all-up-in-your-personal-bubble-and-grab-your-arms-to-feed-them-grapes grabby. Lemurs LOVE grapes, and these lemurs in particular are not very shy about letting you know they want them. They’re not overly patient about the whole ordeal, either. A few times they jumped over our heads to try and get a better vantage point, only to discover that they had to leap back and shove another lemur out of the way. That being said, they were very docile and sweet and took the grapes very gently, but you could definitely tell these grapes were the VERYBESTTHING about their entire day and they were not afraid of people! My whole family thoroughly enjoyed the lemur feeding experience, and we highly recommend this option if you are visiting Safari Wilderness Ranch.
Look at this sweet (and very focused) little face! She’s wondering where the grapes are.
The lemurs LOVED my daughter; they kept grabbing her hands to bring her closer!
2. Camera loving camels. Being a safari, of course you’re going to get to see a camel. A few camels, actually! They love the safari bus and they love visitors, and they are not in any way put off by all the strange people that come to see them. In fact, they are quite friendly and love to have their picture taken; they might even pose for a selfie if you catch them in a really good mood.
Best. Selfie. Ever.
3. Awesome tour guides who know their stuff. Ok, maybe this isn’t that unique to central Florida, but it does deserve mentioning. Our tour guide JJ was phenomenal; she took us out and gave us an up-close and very personal view of the safari and the wildlife. She shared some truly amazing facts about the animals; what’s better, she knew each of the animals themselves and they knew her. She had a bond with each creature that could only have been developed over a long period of time, through her dedication and a love for her job. That, my adventure loving friends, is not easy to find. She can take you on a bus tour or even give you a guided tour on camelback! Seriously, where else in Florida can you go on safari RIDING A CAMEL?
“Mike Mike Mike Mike! Wanna go for a ride?”
4. Nosey Water Bufflalo. Well, they’re probably nosey because they know when that bus comes through the gate, it means TREATS!!! That’s right; you can feed these huge, majestic creatures! They’re amazing to encounter, and they make sure the experience is unforgettable; one of them got so friendly that his horns got caught when he stuck his head in the bus (oh, did I mention the bus has no windows, aka no barrier between you and the wildlife?). He had to do a little wiggle and jiggle to free himself, and then walked around to get treats from another visitor towards the back of the bus who didn’t make him reach so far.
“Um, excuse me. Can you help? I seem to be stuck. And I’ll take that treat too, if you don’t mind.”
5. I am saving the best for last!! NO LINES AND NO CROWDS!!! I’m sorry, do you want me to repeat that?? I said NO LINES AND NO CROWDS. Now THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is a TRULY unusual thing to find in central Florida! An amazing, unforgettable adventure that you don’t have to WAIT for and you don’t have to fight 5 million people to get to! You will likely have to deal with one bottle fed calf who will follow you around and nudge your leg until you get on the bus, but Willow is harmless. Just ask my son.
My son made a new best friend.
Safari Wilderness Ranch is a wonderful, rare oasis in the middle of the over-stimulating awesomeness of magic and roller coasters you would otherwise find in the area. Not that we are saying there’s anything wrong with a little magic or adrenaline-inducing G-forces, but if you want to take a moment and step away from the crowds and the crazy lines to experience something truly magical, head down to Safari Wilderness Ranch. Oh, and bring a poncho in case you’re treated to one of Florida’s famous afternoon downpours; REAL safaris don’t shut down for the weather. 😉
Do you see any lines or crowds here? Yeah, me neither.
Start planning your visit to the Safari Wilderness Ranch by checking out their website: www.safariwilderness.com.
Thank you to Visit Central Florida for hosting our trip to the Safari Wilderness Ranch!