active family travel,  Travel

Vintage African Lion Safari #travel

(I just found this in my drafts file as I was travelling by train this week with my kids. My older daughter was sleeping on the train when Ainsley asked me to tell her a story from my childhood and I quickly remembered going to African Lion Safari every single year until I was in high school. It is such a memorable backdrop for so many of the times I spent with my Mom and brother, that I knew when I was a parent I would also take my kids to see this awesome destination. This is a story I originally wrote in 2009 and forgot to hit publish. Sharing it now as a Throwback Thursday post, because it’s all still relevant. African Lion Safari is a fantastic destination for family travel.)
I am a massive fan of surprising my kids with random road trips. The mystery is heightened, and a strong sense of adventure is cultivated when we hit the road and only I know for sure where we will end up…

The joy of summer vacation has been dampened this year by all the rainy weather we’ve had. But we have adapted to this by learning to seize the day. More than a couple of times this summer we have determined that the sun will shine the moment we hit the road and if it doesn’t, so be it. Hence our spur of the moment trip to one of my favourite childhood tourist attractions: African Lion Safari.

After a week of rain I planned to surprise my two girls with a sudden adventure last Friday and so we packed a cooler and threw swimsuits in a bag and off we went. I am a big fan of the surprise adventure, so I didn’t tell the girls or my husband (who sadly had to work that day) where we were going, threw the portable DVD in the van and drove. Half the fun for me in this is watching my children become mini detectives as they try to ferret out the location of our road trip. Less than 10 minutes into our drive my very astute Payton, 8, snuck into the front seat while I pumped gas and, after searching my bag for clues. She located a coupon I had packed courtesy of Attractions Ontario ($8 off) and guessed it.

Anyways just outside of Hamilton on the other side of Cambridge we spent the day on safari. The cost of our adventure was not cheap. The children’s admission alone is $25.95.  Adults are $32.95. Add to that the cost of the bus drive through the safari grounds ($15) which I highly recommend if you value your vehicle and we easily spent $115 for the day not including gas. But where else in Ontario can you ride an elephant, drive right by baby lions, take a train to see reindeer and camels, take a short boat tour to see spider monkeys and lemurs and then play in the excellent relatively new water park? All the while also learning a few new facts about animals. For instance did you know that the camel’s hump is made of fat and not water and that an eight-year-old will pass out cold in the van at 7:30 p.m. after her brain is full of animal facts?

If you go, take coupons, go before noon and I highly recommend going on an overcast day or mid-week. We’ve been on weekends when the lineups are so long you wait 45 minutes for a train ride and that’s no fun. Last Friday the longest we waited was 15 minutes at most for a ride and there were no lines at all to get into the park.

Thrifty Momma’s Tips’  rating $$$$ 1/2 our of $$$$$

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.