Thursday, May 28, 2015

African Lion Safari - Cambridge

Watusi cattle
I can still sing the jingle from the old African Lion Safari commercial from when I was a kid.  It seemed to play every five minutes when I was a kid and I used to not so subtly hint that we should go by singing the song every chance I got!  We don't have cable these days so my kids had never seen the commercials but somehow they got wind that African Lion Safari was the place to go because when I asked them where they wanted to go for our big summer family day trip they picked it!
He's even funnier when you see him from the other end.
So off we went and the kids liked it so much they have already said they want to go again next year. I would say it was one of the best day trips we have done and let's be real here, we have done lots (a whole blog's worth!)  The highlight of the trip was the drive through game reserve. You can either drive your own car for no extra charge or go in a bus for an additional $5 or so per person.  It is theoretically possible that animals will damage your vehicle but unlikely.  We went through in our van and it was fine.  My kids liked seeing all of the animals but the cheeky baboons were definitely the best.  My kids are still talking about them.
One of the many giraffes in the park
There are lots of animals in the game reserve,  more than I remember from when I was a kid.  They have giraffes, rhinos, zebras, lions, flamingos, you name it.  You can go as slowly or as quickly as you like through the reserve area (well within reason of course!) so if your kids like a particular animal you can linger in that area.

Part of the playground area
There is more to do than just the game reserve, although frankly that would probably be enough to entertain most kids.  They also have a playground area which is in the shade, a petting zoo area, a train ride, a boat ride, several animal shows and the water park.  My kids liked all of these and they are included in the price of admission.
Cooling off in the water park
The water park is great for kids about 12 and under.  There is no pool per se but slides, swings, climbing structures etc. all in the water which is about waist deep on a child.  You do have to keep an eye on them but if you child is school age you won't have to go in the water with them.  There are change rooms and washrooms within the water park.
For some reason animals with regular people names always crack me up.
They also have an elephant swim twice a day which involves the elephants from the park walking down the main path to the large pond where they go for a swim.  This is always a big hit with kids so you will want to see if when you are there.  It is very popular so get there early to get a half decent spot. They also have elephant rides at the other end of the park.  They are an additional fee.
Not actually a bird, but it flies so close enough I guess.
The bird and animal shows are also very popular and fun.  They last about 30 minutes and feature birds and other flying creatures or or elephants.  I am not big on making animals perform (you will never read a review of Marineland on this blog for instance) so I am a bit ambivalent about these types of things.  If you have the same hesitation, I will say that the animals weren't doing tricks per se, they were mainly hanging around and having someone explain them to the kids.  The parrots do things like sing and talk though.  So, use your judgement about whether this is for you and your family.

Things to keep in mind:
  • It isn't cheap.  It will be about $120 just to get in.  You can get passes through airmiles and they sell slightly discounted tickets through Costco.  Also, once you are in pretty much everything is included if you use your own vehicle for the game reserve and you can bring your own food.
  • You will need a whole day there if you want to do it all.
  • Their hours and the times of the shows and elephant swim change based on the time of year so be sure to check the website before heading out.  
  • They do have snack bars throughout the park but you can also bring in your own food.  They have several covered picnic areas.
  • The boat and train ride are both nice and shady if you need a break from the sun and they allow you to see some animals that you don't get to see on the game reserve drive. 
  • Other than the game reserve which you drive through, the rest of the park is fairly compact so even fairly young kids should be able to handle the walking. 


  1. There is no pool per se but slides, swings, climbing structures etc. all in the water which is about waist deep on a child.Meet and greet Luton airport parking

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