Harmony Safari Park is off the beaten path about 30 minutes south of downtown Huntsville, AL. It is worth the drive if you are in the area! Owned by a biologist and a physicist the Safari Park is more than just a drive through – the park helps with conservation of a species of antelope and is working on starting a habitat for giraffes.
When you enter the park you will come to a trailer where an attendant will greet you and take your payment. This is your opportunity to purchase food for your drive thru safari. There are 2 options – a large bucket for $5 or a red solo cup of food for $1. The animals are used to being fed from cars and were very gentle. I recommend the larger bucket especially if you have several people in your car. You can also purchase lettuce for $1 to feed the tortoises.
(Click on the photos for the full size gallery)
After you enter you have a choice – you can immediately go through the drive thru or you can park and walk through the tortoise habitat, reptile house and see the giraffe.
We walked around first. Once you park there are signs to point the way and there were several employees there that will answer any questions and give you more information about the park. My family started with the tortoises which were all very friendly and gentle. This is the one area that is not stroller or wheel chair friendly. There is a small wall you must walk over (it keeps the tortoises in their habitat) and there is a tree that you have to step over in the walk way. My kids hand fed them lettuce and were able to interact with them. There are also small alligators, lemurs, baboons and a macaque monkey to see.
Once you are done visiting the tortoises head to the reptile house across a dirt path from the parking area. On the way try to see the kangaroo in the large enclosure on the left. We were able to see his ears behind some trees on our visit – he was lying down for an afternoon nap. The reptile house has snakes, including several VERY large pythons, turtles, baby alligators and lizards.
Exit the reptile house and don't miss the cross section of a sequoia. According to the tree's rings it was 2700 years old. There are arrows on the rings to give you an idea of how large the tree was for events through history. It was recently profiled on Redwood Kings on Animal Plant where you can get a sneak peek of the park.
Head up the hill to see the giraffe. He is 18 months old and the beginning of the park's newest exhibit and hopeful eventual herd. There are only 1300 giraffes in captivity around the world were were told.
After you see all the exhibits on foot head back to your car and enter the safari. Keep your windows closed until you pass the traffic light on the left (you'll see it when you are there). After that point, you are free to open your windows and feed the animals. Do not get out of your car though. Some will eat from your hand and others prefer to eat from food you throw on the ground. Drive very slowly and watch for the emus and ostriches – they will put their heads in your car to get at the food. We closed our windows when one got close. Keep your eyes open for the small brown horse with zebra stripes – his mother is a zebra on the property and father is a miniature horse you will also see.
Once you get to the exit there are paths that allow you to continue in a circle and go through the park again. We ended up driving through 2 times because everyone was having such a great time.
Make sure you give yourself 2 to 3 hours to see the entire park. Bring snacks and drinks if you would like – there is no place to purchase at the park. There is a port-a-potty available and a large outdoor sink to wash hands after you touch the animals. You may want to bring some baby wipes and hand sanitizer as well.
Family Fun Facts:
Harmony Park Safari (Map) (The park has no online presence – for questions call 1-877-726-4625)
Hours: 10 AM to 7 PM Daily, March through November
Cost: $8 per person, 2 yr and under FREE, $1 – 5 for food (worth it for the $5 bucket) CASH AND CHECK ONLY – NO CREDIT CARDS