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Tennessee Safari Park offers encounters with exotic animals

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Looking for a fun day trip these last few weeks before school resumes? Look no further than West Tennessee, where your next adventure awaits at Tennessee Safari Park in Alamo.

Pack a picnic lunch for the two-hour drive from Williamson County and maybe even stop along the way at a state park. 

At Tennessee Safari Park, guests can drive through the 5½ miles of trails to see exotic animals through the car window. In other areas of the park, guests can walk through while interacting, petting and feeding animals, including small primates, wallabies, kookaburras, cranes, foxes, antelope and more. 

The petting zoo also includes an area where you can feed baby goats. 

At Parakeet Lane, visitors can walk through the aviary oasis to see parakeets, demoiselle cranes, Australian crested doves and peacock chicks up close and personal.

Visitors also will be delighted to meet Jackson the giraffe. Purchase carrots and feed him a snack. 

Joanne Edwards of Nolensville and her son, Luke, recently took a day trip to the safari.

“Let’s just say I enjoyed it just as much as Luke,” she said. “Even if you don’t have kids but you love animals, you should go. The buffalo and the camels are strong and will attempt to steal the whole bucket, so hold on tight with two hands.”  

With a mission to create and provide educational activities that bring appreciation and conservation of all living things, Tennessee Safari Park aims to gain long-term sustainability for the world’s rare and endangered flora and fauna in their natural environment. 

The park takes only cash payments for tickets. Park staff also reminds people visiting that no outside animals are allowed inside the park. 

The park is open year-round from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Entry to the park is cut off at 4 p.m. daily. 

Tennessee Safari Park at 618 Conley Road in Alamo. To learn more to help you plan your trip, visit www.tennesseesafaripark.com.

How it started

Tennessee Safari Park is on a century farm, called Hillcrest, that has been owned by the Conley family since 1858. The farm has produced a variety of crops and has always stayed entrepreneurial in the products that were developed and sold on the farm. 

Claude H. Conley instilled a strong interest in his son, Claude M. Conley, at a very young age to love and appreciate Hillcrest and all of its animals. They collected pheasants, peafowl and various types of deer. 

The collection grew over the years, with, in 1963, the formation of the first privately owned bison farm in the state of Tennessee. Damara zebras were added in 1980 and various rare and endangered antelope were added throughout the ’80s and ’90s.

In 2007, Claude Sr. and his two sons, Claude H. Conley II and Jon Wesley Conley, decided to create a park to showcase these rare and endangered species and bring a top tourism attraction to the West Tennessee rural farm. 

Today, the safari park has one of the largest collections of zoo animals in the United States.

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