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Fossil Rim Wildlife Center named Best Safari Park

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This winning wildlife park offers behind-the-scenes tours or a drive-thru option

Note from 10Best: Someday, we'll all be ready to pack our suitcases again and head out on our next adventures. In the meantime, we'll keep supporting the places that inspire us.

  • Fossil Rim Wildlife Center

    Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
    Glen Rose, Texas

    Situated in the hill country of North Texas just south of Fort WorthFossil Rim Wildlife Center (accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums) fights to conserve species in peril, while giving visitors the chance to learn about a host of animals and view them in spacious habitats. Species living in the wildlife center include gazelle, American bison, oryx, lechwe, black-footed cat, cheetah, wildebeest, bongo, giraffe, kudu, zebra, addax, wolves and rhinos. Guests can drive through in their own vehicles or sign up for a behind-the-scenes guided tour.
    Photo courtesy of Fossil Rim Wildlife Center

  • Wildlife Safari Park

    Wildlife Safari Park
    Ashland, Neb.

    An accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park invites visitors to drive along a 4-mile route through habitats populated by native North American plant and animal species – American elk, bison, waterfowl, raptors and white-tailed deer. At Wolf Canyon, guests can hop out of the car to see grey wolves and American black bears or walk through the half-acre Eagle Aviary.
    Photo courtesy of Wildlife Safari Park

  • Bearizona Wildlife Park

    Bearizona Wildlife Park
    Williams, Ariz.

    Visitors to Bearizona, situated on 160 acres of land near the town of Williams, dive through more than three miles of Ponderosa pine forest on a safari to see North American animals in naturalistic habitats. After the driving portion of the park, guests can head on foot through Fort Bearizona, where winding walkways lead past smaller animals on exhibit. Guests can interact with animals in the Bearizona Barnyard petting zoo or learn more about the animals on display during daily keeper chats.
    Photo courtesy of Bearizona Wildlife Park

  • San Diego Zoo Safari Park

    San Diego Zoo Safari Park
    San Diego

    At the AZA-accredited San Diego Zoo Safari Park, visitor can feed a giraffe, observe rhinos with their young, watch an elephant herd splash through a pond or see lions basking in the sun. A tram transports guests through the 1,800 African-themed acres, and regularly scheduled Animal Encounters offer a more intimate animal experience, led by park keepers. More than 300 species call the park home.
    Photo courtesy of San Diego Zoo Safari Park

  • Wildlife Safari

    Wildlife Safari
    Winston, Ore.

    Wildlife Safari, an Oregon wildlife park accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, is home to some 500 animals, many visible along the park’s drive-through safari route or the walk-through Safari Village. Wildlife Safari has long been a leader in conservation as well; their cheetah breeding program launched in 1972, and since then, more than 200 cheetahs have been born at the park.
    Photo courtesy of Wildlife Safari

  • Safari West

    Safari West
    Santa Rosa, Calif.

    A bit of Africa in the heart of California’s wine country, AZA-accredited Safari West welcomes guests to the “Sonoma Serengeti,” where a 3-hour riding and walking adventure takes them through the 400-acre preserve. Giraffes, zebras, oryx, gazelle, antelopes, buffalo, wildebeest and many other species number among the 1,000 animals that call the park home. For an even more in-depth safari experience, visitors can choose to stay the night in a luxurious safari tent and fall asleep to the sounds of nocturnal animals.
    Photo courtesy of Safari West

  • Virginia Safari Park

    Virginia Safari Park
    Natural Bridge, Va.

    Virginia Safari Park, the first drive-through safari experience in the state, includes 180 acres in Natural Bridge, where guests can watch free-roaming animals – zebra, camels, bull elk and llamas among others – as they drive along a 3-mile gravel road. The Village Walk-Thru area brings guests up close and personal with giraffes, tigers, kangaroo, monkeys, cheetahs and giant tortoises, while animal talks and encounters encourage a deeper understanding of the park’s resident critters.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / ANDREYGUDKOV

  • The Wilds

    The Wilds
    Cumberland, Ohio

    An AZA-accredited branch of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, The Wilds helps visitors gain a fresh perspective on endangered species through a series of immersive experiences within the 10,000-acre park. Rare and endangered animals from around the globe –particularly Africa and Asia – live in open range habitats that visitors can explore via open-air safari vehicle. 
    Photo courtesy of TourismOhio, Ohio.org

  • Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch

    Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch
    San Antonio

    Situated just outside San AntonioNatural Bridge Wildlife Ranch is like a miniature version of Africa right in the heart of Texas. Visitors navigate by car through 450 acres of green hills, creek beds and live oak trees – home to more than 500 animals representing 40 global species. Admission includes a bag of food for the animals, many of which will come right up to vehicles for an up-close look.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / Pugalenthi

  • Lion Country Safari

    Lion Country Safari
    Loxahatchee, Fla.

    Palm Beach may be far away from the wilds of Africa, but it’s also home to Florida’s first drive-through safari, the AZA-accredited Lion Country Safari. Established in 1967, this safari park invites visitors to observe and interact with more than 1,000 animals divided between seven sections. Guests might spot ostrich, wildebeest and impala on the Serengeti Plains, observe a pride of lions in Gorongosa Reserve or see giraffe and endangered rhino in Hwange National Park.
    Photo courtesy of Lion Country Safari

  • Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
  • Wildlife Safari Park
  • Bearizona Wildlife Park
  • San Diego Zoo Safari Park
  • Wildlife Safari
  • Safari West
  • Virginia Safari Park
  • The Wilds
  • Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch
  • Lion Country Safari

You don't have to fly to Africa to go on safari! At these 10 safari and wildlife parks, voted as the best in the U.S., visitors get up close and personal with exotic and endangered animals from around the country and the world. Many of the facilities are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and have a focus on conservation as well as education. 

The top 10 winners in the category Best Safari Park are as follows:

  1. Fossil Rim Wildlife Center - Glen Rose, Texas
  2. Wildlife Safari Park - Ashland, Neb.
  3. Bearizona Wildlife Park - Williams, Ariz.
  4. San Diego Zoo Safari Park - San Diego
  5. Wildlife Safari - Winston, Ore.
  6. Safari West - Santa Rosa, Calif.
  7. Virginia Safari Park - Natural Bridge, Va.
  8. The Wilds - Cumberland, Ohio
  9. Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch - San Antonio
  10. Lion Country Safari - Loxahatchee, Fla.

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning safari parks!

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AlertThe Experts

Debra Erickson

Debra Erickson

Debra Erickson

Kyle McCarthy

Kyle McCarthy

Kyle McCarthy

Nicky Omohundro

Nicky Omohundro

Nicky Omohundro

Alan Sironen

Alan Sironen

Alan Sironen

Allison Taylor

Allison Taylor

Allison Taylor

Rob Taylor

Rob Taylor

Rob Taylor
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