For the Little Man's birthday we planned to make a day at a local safari park, but the weather took a while to come around in our favor to make the day work. This past Sunday we finally had our chance when the forecast decided to stay at "sunny and cool" once the morning had arrived. After a couple of previously failed attempts at the outing, Little Man was more than willing to do whatever it took to get out of the house and to the safari park. We rode our fietsen (bicycles) all the way to the other side of town (and a little beyond) for a little less than an hour to Safaripark Beekse Bergen and led a very excited little boy through the gates. He was so happy to finally be at the safari park that as we made our way over to the first group of animals, a crow flapped down from somewhere and Little Man exclaimed, "ooooOOOoooo, they have crows at the safari park!" Don't let it be said that this kid doesn't appreciate all creatures - great, small and common as a crow.
The safari park is sprawling and has a lot of animals. The park doesn't have as large a diversity of animals as a zoo might, but there were more animals that we would have ever expected. There were extensive herds/packs/prides/families and the park seems to have a high success rate for births of animals in captivity (a lioness had a litter of 4 cubs just a few weeks ago, and there were more baby zebras and baby African buffalo than we could count). You can walk around the park, drive your own car through, or take a park bus or boat ride to see the various animals. We walked one section and enjoyed our lunch from a patio overlooking the Cloak Baboon and African Elephant enclosure, watching 75 or so baboons sprinting around as the elephants meandered toward their own lunch.
After lunch we took the bus tour and saw many more animals, but the highlights for Little Man were getting to touch samples of rhinoceros poop, camel hair, and deer antlers; spotting a joey red kangaroo hopping behind its mama; and watching a giraffe stick its tongue through the open emergency hatch just above us on the roof of the bus - but of these, the rhinoceros poop and giraffe tongue clearly made the biggest impression on our little friend as they have come up regularly since we left the park bus. All in all, the trip was a success for the little boy with his intense love of animals, and for his parents.
For your enjoyment, some pictures of the safari park - but sadly, no pictures of rhinoceros poop.