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Best Safari Park: Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Safari wins

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This is the second win for Nebraska park

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. by 10Best readers, 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. 

  • Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Safari
    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 Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park & Wildlife Safari

  • Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center
    Divide, Colo.

    The Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center seeks to educate the public about the importance of wolves, coyotes and foxes to the North American ecosystem and about the habitats that support them. The sanctuary provides natural habitats for animals that can no longer live in the wild. Guided walking tours give visitors an up-close view of timber, Arctic and Mexican grey wolves, coyotes, red and swift foxes.
    Photo courtesy of Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center

  • 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 9,000-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

  • 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

  • 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, deer, black-footed cat, cheetah, wildebeest, emu, giraffe, kudi, zebra, cranes, 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

  • Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari
    Jackson, N.J.

    Six Flags Great Adventure offers more than just thrill rides; this New Jersey amusement park also features an adrenaline rush in the form of its Safari Off-Road Adventure. This 45-minute experience transports visitors through a 350-acre preserve filled with interesting and exotic creatures from around the globe.
    Photo courtesy of Six Flags Great Adventure

  • 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 / Artush

  • Out of Africa
    Camp Verde, Ariz.

    Situated in the picturesque Black Hills of Camp Verde, Arizona, Out of Africa occupies 100 acres of rolling hills where mammals, birds and reptiles from around the globe roam. Visitors can embark on a 40-minute safari through the park’s own Serengeti preserve or go behind the scenes with a member of the animal care team.
    Photo courtesy of Out of Africa

  • 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

  • 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

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

  1. Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Safari - Ashland, Neb.
  2. Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center - Divide, Colo.
  3. The Wilds - Cumberland, Ohio
  4. Bearizona Wildlife Park - Williams, Ariz.
  5. Fossil Rim Wildlife Center - Glen Rose, Texas
  6. Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari - Jackson, N.J.
  7. Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch - San Antonio
  8. Out of Africa - Camp Verde, Ariz.
  9. Lion Country Safari - Loxahatchee, Fla.
  10. Safari West - Santa Rosa, Calif.

A panel of experts (listed below) partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning safari parks!

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Sherry Boswell

Sherry Boswell

Sherry Boswell

Debra Erickson

Debra Erickson

Debra Erickson

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Kyle McCarthy

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Eileen Ogintz

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