Want to take a walk on the wild side? Safari North Wildlife Park lets you do just that as you observe and encounter a wide variety of animals at the area's newest zoo, now open for the season. Just a little over a half hour from the Whitefish Chain, Safari North is a great attraction for the whole family. You'll be amazed at all the fun to be had!
Safari North, located just south of Brainerd/Baxter on Highway 371, has animals from all over the world, including North America, Asia, Africa, South America and Australia. You'll be able to see everything from fierce tigers and lions to friendly giraffes and parakeets.
Safari North's exhibits are grouped by the animals' typical geographic home. The South America exhibit has animals never seen in the wilds of Minnesota, including macaws and kinkajous, as well as llamas, rhea (large birds similar to emus or ostriches), and porcupines with prehensile tails.
The Australia exhibit has marsupial favorites like kangaroos and wallabies, as well as the "laughing" kookaburra bird, parakeets and emus. On the Africa trail, you'll find flamingos, camels, hyenas, warthogs, tortoises, zebras and many kinds of African birds.
The North America exhibit includes some animals more commonly seen even in the Whitefish Area, including foxes, raccoons and porcupines, but also includes more exotic North American animals, like grizzlies, alligators, cougars, wolves and more. And don't forget about the Asia trail, with water buffalo, antelope, two kinds of leopards and tigers!
This year, Safari North has some new exhibits, including a new waterfowl exhibit with a covered bridge, more monkeys to enjoy and gemstone mining!
At Safari North, you get to do more than just look at the animals. You can feed carrots to Puzzles the giraffe from an elevated platform. Or, hang out with hundreds of parakeets in the parakeet landing exhibit, where the birds will fly around you and perhaps even perch on your shoulder. Take a camel or pony ride, or pet farm animals at the Barnyard Petting Zoo. You can even feed a white tail deer, getting up close with one of Minnesota's favorite native animals.
Then, stop off at the Snack Shack for pizza, slushies, candy bars, pop, nachos and a wide variety of ice cream treats.
If your family is still full of energy, the fun's not over yet. At the new gemstone mining activity, purchase a bag of mining rough that's enriched with gemstones from around the world, then use a screen-bottom box at the mining sluice to wash away the soil, and the gemstones will magically appear! There are also several photo opportunities with large animal statues, a playground for the kids and a dino dig.
Safari North began its season May 15 and will be open until Oct. 1. Their hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Adult tickets are$14.99 and children 2-12 years old are $9.99. Parking is free and wagon rentals area available. If you are a resident or frequent visitor to the area, season passes are also available- including family passes. Safari North's Facebook page has regular updates.