The first part of our adventure was to be the drive-thru safari park. We almost overshot this though as our GPS was attempting to take us deeper into the property. When you first see the massive "Wild Florida" sign and any hints of giraffes, this is when you'll want to turn left. In doing so, you'll see a ticket booth area and a very tall fence. The exit to the safari is directly to the left of this entrance, and you'll see it and the giraffe elevated feeding platform here. If you have any urge to use the restroom, do it here before you begin your safari.
As soon as we drove through the safari entrance, we immediately began seeing the animals: directly to our right was a herd of wildebeest. We saw African woodland antelope called Kudu laying about while a large friendly ostrich curiously walked amongst them. We had to make sure we drove slowly and abided by the 5mph speed limit as animals were crossing the street at their whim. At one point, an emu walked right up to the SUV in front of us as if to say 'hi'.
We continued driving and on our left was a small shed area. Offering shade, food, and drink we saw several different animals each inhabiting their own special section of the shed. We saw some hairy bison here, and I believe it was a grey-colored American Brahman feeding next to it.
Perched just around the corner, there were some beautiful Scimitar Oryx and Common Eland keeping each other company. Another feeding area on the right lent way for us to see a Watusi with massive horns. Just across the road was this super cute Scottish brown 'Highland (cattle)'. There were some dark llamas that came super close to our windows. Further driving put us in front of dozens of mouflon sheep and white-tailed deer. A pair of black water buffalo was beside one of the gates. Toward the end of our safari we saw some lovely zebras running together, but away from us. Fortunately, we caught back up with them when they stopped to get some water just beside our van.
The safari is listed as being about 2 miles, but our path put us closer to 1.3 miles in all. Stopping our vehicle several times for photos and adhering to the speed limit, it'll likely take you about 45-60 minutes to take everything in during the safari.
As you exit the safari, you'll be there by the elevated feeding platform for the oh-so-beautiful giraffes. You have the option to simply climb the steps of the platform and observe the giraffes; or, you can purchase a few lettuce leaves (3 leaves for $5) and actually hand-feed one of these beautiful creatures! For me, this was our favorite part of Wild Florida: you just really don't get to have this type of experience in too many parts of the US. We arrived to the giraffe platform shortly after it opened, and our tall spotted friends were very hungry for their breakfast!
So here's where we were very pleasantly surprised. At this point, we had seen our highlight for the day (giraffe feeding), and had driven through the safari. Our tickets also included admission to "Gator Park". My wife and daughters are not real keen on alligators, so honestly at this point of our trip, I thought we were headed back to Orlando. DO NOT MAKE THAT MISTAKE!!
Leaving the giraffe-feeding area, you'll want to turn LEFT and go further into the property (where our GPS was originally trying to take us). You'll pass an empty parking lot on your left. Now, ahead of you, you'll start seeing cars parked on the side of the road: turn left into that very next parking lot. Although there were some openings here and there, we proceeded all the way into the parking lot, toward some small buildings. This area is the beginning of Gator Park. More importantly, this is where we actually ended up spending the most time at Wild Florida!
Bring some closed-toed walking shoes and Covid or not, bring a face mask because it can get a little dusty here on a windy day. But, there are over 200 animals to see here!! Although they have some massively large alligators / crocodiles here (including the 2 adult albino alligators, whose offspring you can view safely growing in an aquarium inside the souvenir shop by the parking lot), our most memorable memory in this part of Wild Florida was seeing the 2-toed sloth with her BABY SLOTH! It was soooo cool! (and mama sloth got along a little bit faster than we thought sloths could move). We also experienced Indian peafowl walking beside us on the dirt pathway. We also saw a a wallaby, some goats, an African-spurred tortoise, a red fox, a part of ring-tailed lemurs getting fed during an 'encounter' (you can pay a little bit extra for a VIP experience to get up close and personal with the sloths, alligators, lemurs, tamandua, or have a giraffe-painting experience!) We probably spent close to 90 minutes walking through this portion of the park, and it was absolutely exhilarating to be so close to so many varieties of animals!
Mind you, with all of the things seen and experienced on our trip, we were not able to experience the airboat ride, which is what this park is apparently primarily known for. Hopefully, we'll be able to come back someday in the future and get to write that up for you!
Wild Florida: this is a hidden gem MUST DO if you are in central Florida. The giraffe-feeding experience alone was worth our drive. Couple this with the drive-thru safari experience of seeing zebras, emus, an abundance of deer and sheep, and a lurking alligator behind a chainlink fence, and you've more than gotten your money's worth. But to the then add on top of that an opportunity to get up and close with a sloth (and her baby), see 2 albino alligators, spirited jumping goats, a tortoise, Indian peafowl, and opportunities to purchase VIP experiences with many of them, AND potentially venture out onto an airboat ride? It's surprising that central Florida has kept this special destination such a secret. Hopefully with your support and word-of-mouth marketing, we can get this animal experience in the same sentences spoken by tourists when they rattle off their itineraries when visiting from out of state. My family and I had a wonderful time and will gladly recommend this stop to friends and family looking for somewhere neat to visit in central Florida. If you haven't checked this one out yet, you definitely should! Great attraction!!