Lion Safari in Ontario

Ontario is not exactly the place I would think of finding a lion safari, but they do have one. I discovered it in 1995 while traveling through southwestern Ontario. I had just left Niagara Falls and was exploring the area with no particular destination in mind when I saw a sign saying African Lion Safari, so I went to check it out.  I thought the safari was really interesting and made it part of our trip the last time my daughter and I visited the area.

Lion and truck in the Lion Safari in Ontario, Canada
    The safari is located in Cambridge, Ontario, about an hour and a half north-west of Niagara Falls and an hour west of Toronto.  It’s a park consisting of multiple 5-50 acre preserves containing over a hundred species of animals. You drive your car through the park while the animals roam free in the preserves. There are bears, rhinos, tigers, elephants, and of course lions.

The monkeys are particularly entertaining. Well, I found them entertaining. Some other adjectives I overheard describing them were; funny, cute, annoying, gross, crazy, and cool.  The monkeys roam freely in a few of the preserves and have learned the art of hitchhiking, or a form of it anyway. They are very accustomed to people and have no problem jumping onto your car to catch a ride. During both of my visits, monkeys sat on my side mirrors and rode along. Other favorite monkey activities seem to be playing with windshield wipers and urinating on vehicles. They didn’t pee on my car, I guess that

Monkey trying to steal my Sirius antenna at the Lion Safari in Ontario

meant they liked me. Make sure there’s nothing on the exterior of your car that can be broken or taken by the small primates’ dexterous hands. I had a magnetic Sirius radio antenna on my roof. I ended up in a tug-of-war with a monkey over it. I wanted to open my door to pull the wire in, but luckily, my teenage daughter was smarter then me and warned me that was against the rules and dumb. I’m sure it would have been like a seen from the Wizard of Oz (fighting off monkeys,minus the wings) if I would have opened my door.

The first time I visited the park, I was driving a grey Ford Tempo. I remember being paranoid, hoping the rhinos didn’t see me as a rival beast and charge me. The huge animals, that weigh over a ton, can be somewhat intimidating up close.

Rhino and truck in the safari

One of the more friendly animals, seem to be the giraffes. Both times I toured the African Lion Safari, giraffes escorted us through their preserve. They like to lick the car windows for some reason. In retrospect, I should have asked if the park employees know why. I can’t imagine it tastes good.

Giraffes in the Lion Safari in Ontario, Canada

After viewing the animals(there are over a thousand), you can grab a bite to eat or check out an educational show. They have elephant swims and a birds of prey exhibit. There’s a gift shop where you can purchase souvenirs or educational books.

The African Lion Safari was definitely a cool find. I would recommend checking it out if you’re in the area. TIP: if you’re driving a convertible, take the tour bus so you don’t get eaten by a lion or tiger!

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