If you live in the Chicago area and you find yourself looking for a fun day-trip you might want to check out Safari Lake Geneva. It’s an easy 1.5-hour drive from Chicago and you’ll get to spend the day up close with some amazingly beautiful animals.
Safari Lake Geneva is situated on 75 acres of pristine safari-like land just outside of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. They feature over 50 varieties of animals from 5 continents, most of them in need of conservation due to nearing extinction, including the scimitar-horned oryx, which is actually now extinct from the wild of North Africa. Fortunately, they’re still in existence thanks to conservations like Safari Lake Geneva. Other animals include watusi cattle from east Africa, camels, bison, antelope, zebra, and ostriches. They also have more common animals like goat and sheep that greet you at the entrance as a sort of petting zoo, although they differ from petting zoos in that Safari Lake Geneva gives them plenty of space to roam off on their own if they’re not interested in being pet.
My 10-year-old daughter was totally happy just hanging out with the goats and sheep. They seemed to like her just as well. Just watching the llamas standing around was a pretty good time for my kid. I had to push a bit to get her to go on the guided tour of the property to see the rest of the animals, but once we got going she had no regrets.
The main feature of the Safari is the guided tour led by Jay Christi, aka Jungle Jay. As the wagon ambles along, each visitor gets to offer the animals a cup full of feed while Jay rattles off lots of info and answers questions about each of the animals. There was also a young camel that seemed to want to lead the tour around the property and Jay had to make sure the zealous creature stayed a safe distance from the tractor. It was really awesome to see how excited the camel was, like a little kid that wanted to show his friends the coolest place ever. You’re probably thinking he just wanted the food, but he stayed at the front of the tractor most of the time, well away from where the food was being spilled.
Out on the plain, Jay would stop the tractor every once in a while to let the animals approach if they wanted to. Unlike a zoo, Safari Lake Geneva puts you in the ‘cage’ and lets the animals decide if they want to interact with you or not. Some do and some don’t but it was beautiful seeing them up close or far off, laying in the grass. All those different species hanging out peacefully together was something I’ll never forget. It was probably the closest I’ll ever get to know what it’s like to be on the savannas of Africa.
For more information visit Safari Lake Geneva
Video provided by Luminist Films.