Social distancing — it’s turned into the buzz word of 2020 thus far. To keep from spreading a virus, we’re all being encouraged to, basically, stay away from each other. Maintain your space.
Wild Florida, located only 15 minutes south of St. Cloud Florida, has all the space you can ask for on its Drive-Thru Safari Park. Opened at the beginning of the year, it’s a drive across 85 acres of pristine Osceola County land, and the folks at Wild Florida have filled it with sights you won’t see in the city — any local city.
It’s a true safari — welcome to the wildlife. Goats graze, unfazed, zebras stroll along the path — or sometimes down the middle of it with little regard to their visitors moving slowly ahead in their own vehicles, and a pack of deer darts out of a patch of woods and across the road (so, in other words, be careful). Brahman, cracker and longhorn cattle stand watch, with their impressive horns, taking it all in. Then there’s the gators, crocodiles, oryx, watusi, zebu, and water buffalo who roam, seemingly at play. The best is left for last. After exiting the 2-mile loop, and during normal times, you can park and climb the stairs or ramp to a platform to meet and hand feed the giraffes – up lose and personal.
When Osceola County put in its social distancing declaration, closing most businesses, it made an exception for the Wild Florida’s Drive-Thru Safari Park. Wild Florida went the “extra mile” by offering online ticketing, so families could ride together and see special species without having to encounter anyone and had to stay in the car — the perfect answer for social distancing. Those who may have shown up to experience the safari park without having pre-purchased tickets online were simply asked to pull around into their parking lot, easily buy their tickets online, and then get back in line (they were allowed to cut right back into the line next to the entrance) and then head on into the safari park. Again, safe and paying strict attention to CDC guidelines and state and county orders.
The community agreed that Wild Florida’s Drive-thru Safari Park was an awesome real-life experience as the line to get in stretched along Lake Cypress Road as one of the last bit of entertainment, nature-based at that, remaining open during the last week of March and first week of April. That is, until the state of Florida made a statewide stay-at-home declaration, closing the Safari Park’s loophole as an essential business. So now we can only imagine the zebras, oryx, watusi, zebu, and water buffalo, and wait for the day when we can again feed the giraffes, up a flight of stairs at chin level.
Wild Florida – Positively Osceola hopes to see you soon, and we hope to once again see the cars lined up – filled with wide open eyes – soaking in some of the most amazing and educational moments possible in Central Florida!
Wild Florida is certainly an amazing natural Florida gem in Osceola County, and during this time of virtual learning for students throughout Osceola County, the Safari Park is a safe “breath of fresh air” and an amazing educational tool for families and students. We are hoping Governor DeSantis takes a look at Wild Florida’s extremely responsible way of making its Drive-thru Safari Park available to the community, and gives Wild Florida the green light to open for the community to enjoy!