While visiting Gull Lake, there’s no doubt you’ll spend time on the water and explore all the nature, shopping, restaurants and touristy things the area has to offer. You can certainly check out the local Minnesota wildlife around the lake, but what about the more exotic varieties? Snow leopards, vervet monkeys, caracals, and a number of lions, tigers and bears all make their home at Safari North Wildlife Park in Brainerd.
Safari North is a unique outdoor park loaded with opportunities to learn more about animals while making lasting family memories. In addition to critter peeping, kids and adults alike will enjoy all the activities the zoo has to offer. The park proprietors, Kevin and Kelly Vogel, have dedicated their life’s work to wildlife care and conservation and have curated quite the collection of animal exhibits for their guests to enjoy!
LOTS TO DO AT THE ZOO
Feeding Jigsaw and Puzzles, the park’s two giraffes, should be at the top of your list of park activities. The duo always loves a free handout, and it’s a great way to get up close and personal with a zoo resident. Another way is to hitch a ride on the ‘ships of the desert,’ aka, the zoo’s camels! It’s a unique experience, and the camels provide a bird’s-eye view of the grasslands exhibit.
Other close-up opportunities can be found at the park’s Parakeet Encounter where you can mingle with hundreds of birds that hang out in the parakeet landing. Little ones especially love the Barn Yard and Petting Area, a great place to feed and pet all the domestic animals that roam this miniature farm.
Safari North also has a mining sluice for experiencing how miners of the past discovered their treasure. Kids are always enthralled by the Dino Dig and a chance to make the next big discovery, as well as the play area featuring a playground and giant climb-on spider web. At the Jungle Jumpers attraction, see how your jumping ability stacks up against the jumping power of animals around the world.
Finally, brand new this year is the park’s 10-acre Safari Expedition where you’ll see lions, hyenas, monkeys, zebras, wildebeest, bison, eland, nilgai, ostrich, emu and more. Ten acres sounds like a big area, but not to worry, the zoo has a new locomotive train to make it an easy trip for everyone.
Safari North hosts a wide array of mammals, reptiles, primates, birds and even some endangered species within its gates. These animals come from all over the world, specifically Asia, Africa, South America, Australia, and some from closer to our home here in North America.
On the park’s Africa trail, you can see a host of animals that you’d see if you were on safari, including flamingo, addax, hyena, wart hog, monkeys, porcupine, tortoise, jackal, and kudu. The Asia trail takes you on a tour of the greatest continent, with opportunities to view antelope, water buffalo, leopards, macaque, deer, and tiger.
The diversity of climate and vegetation in South America makes those animals unique and often unusual. South American animals adapt to conditions ranging from the rain forests of the Amazon to the mountains and volcanoes of the Andes. On the park’s South America trail, you can view rhea, llama, alpaca, macaw, kinkajou, and brahma.
Most of the zoo’s animals representing Australia are unique to that continent. On this trail, you’ll enjoy seeing the kangaroo, wallaby, kookaburra, parrot and emu. In contrast to those exotic species, the North America trail features more familiar animals such as raccoon, fox, squirrel, bear, coyote, owl, eagle, cougar, alligator, wolf and bobcat.
VISIT THE ZOO BUT STAY AT THE BEACH
Unforgettable adventure awaits at Safari North Wildlife Park. Plan to spend the entire day to watch all the animal antics, experience all the activities and attractions, and take lots of photos at the various designated photo spots – don’t miss the giant grizzly and the waterwheel! The park has a “Snack Shack” with some great options for lunch, or just a quick snack and drink, as well as a gift shop with tons of souvenir items to remember the trip.
Don’t forget: no pets or outside food is allowed in the park, which is also smoke free. The zoo closes for the season on October 3, 2021, so plan now to get your visit in before the animals have to hibernate for winter. Contact us today to book your lakeside cabin and begin planning all your fun-filled vacation activities in lakes country. The wildlife is waiting for you!