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  #1
Drive-through zoos
Old 31-01-2012

Like so many of my other threads, I suspect that I will be greeted by the refrain "there's a thread about that already". (PS* I searched, but did not find any.)

Anyway, I just watched a video clip that had file footage of people driving their own cars through animal enclosures, and feeding reindeer and giraffes.

I was wondering, which zoos allow you to drive your own vehicle through animal enclosures?
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  #2
Old 31-01-2012

Zoochat is such an interwoven complex web of ideas that there will almost certainly be a thread on any zoo subject you care to name

Anyway, do none of the open-range Australian places allow own vehicles? Lion parks of this type used to be relatively common in NZ in the 70s and 80s (all gone now, the last I think being Orana Park which obviously still exists but not as a drive-through). The drive-through reserve idea started in England at Longleat (in the late 60s?) and took off like a rocket. Safari Parks sprung up like weeds all over the UK (often in the grounds of stately manors), Europe and America. Even Japan followed suit. They rather died down a bit in the 90s but there are still a few (relatively speaking) in England and elsewhere.
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  #3
Old 31-01-2012

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Originally Posted by Chlidonias View Post
Anyway, do none of the open-range Australian places allow own vehicles?
None come to mind, but I look forward to being corrected.
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  #4
Old 31-01-2012

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Originally Posted by Chlidonias View Post
Zoochat is such an interwoven complex web of ideas that there will almost certainly be a thread on any zoo subject you care to name
Yes, I was looking in your direction.
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  #5
Old 31-01-2012

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Originally Posted by nanoboy View Post
Yes, I was looking in your direction.
well I've been here since near the start and I have a very good memory, so I know what's on here (finding it is another matter entirely!)
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  #6
Old 31-01-2012

The only two drive-throughs I have been in were the non-AZA accredited Bear Country USA in Rapid City, SD and Disney's Animal Kingdom. Bear Country you could drive your own vehicle through but of course in Disney you can't. I remember after my grandma passed away I found a pamphlet from Lion Country Safari from the 1960s and it looked like an amazing place. I've seen video of it now and it just doesn't seem to have the luster (which I'm sure the tourist guide exaggerated. It seems that when I have researched those parks the ones you find look run-down.
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  #7
Old 31-01-2012

No drive thru in Australia?? There is at least one - Dubbo. Or has it changed its policy?

Drive-thru Safari Parks (with own car) that come to my mind in Europe (including England, Chlidonias!):

Serengetipark Hodenhagen, Germany
Zoosafari Pombia, Italy
Peaugres, France
Port St. Pere, France

and for USA
Natural Bridge, Texas

and a few more I have not visited and I am not sure, if drive-thru is (still) allowed:

France (Thoiry?), United Kingdom (Whipsnade?, Blair Drummond?, Woburn?, Port Lympne?) and some more in Spain, Scandinavia, USA, Canada, Mexiko, Brasil, Japan and China.
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  #8
Old 31-01-2012

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Originally Posted by nanoboy View Post
Like so many of my other threads, I suspect that I will be greeted by the refrain "there's a thread about that already". (PS* I searched, but did not find any.)

Anyway, I just watched a video clip that had file footage of people driving their own cars through animal enclosures, and feeding reindeer and giraffes.

I was wondering, which zoos allow you to drive your own vehicle through animal enclosures?
In the UK, the following have drive-through exhibits:

West Midland Safari Park
Woburn Safari Park
Blair Drummond Safari Park
Knowsley Safari Park
Longleat Safari Park
Highland Wildlife Park
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

At the safari parks the drive-throughs are the main bulk of the collection, though they all have varying amounts of 'walk-around' as well.

Highland is a more-or-less 50/50 split walk-round and drive-through.

Whipsnade's drive through is through two large paddocks of Asian animals and is technically at an extra charge as you have to pay to take the car into the grounds (though both paddocks can be seen in a restricted way from footpaths or via the miniature railway). The whole of Whipsnade is effectively a drive through as well as there is car access to many of the roads round the zoo and a VERY large number of free-roaming animals (maras, wallabies, muntjac, water deer, peafowl and prairie marmots).

Port Lympne's 'drive-though' is only via the park's own vehicles. If it ever comes off, I think Bristol's new zoo was planned to have a small drive through on the way into the car park.
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  #9
Old 31-01-2012

"drive-thru" or "drive-through" - what is correct? (I'm still learning English...)
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  #10
Old 31-01-2012

If you take any from Maguari's list above and put them in Google Maps on Satellite view, then you will see what they look like, albeit as close as Google can zoom in, but you will be able to see the general idea of what they are about. You may also be able to spot some animals on some of them too, even the cars driving round so you can see the route and direction taken.
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  #11
Old 31-01-2012

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Originally Posted by zoomaniac View Post
"drive-thru" or "drive-through" - what is correct? (I'm still learning English...)
'Drive-through' is the correct spelling, but 'thru' is sometimes used just as an abbreviation. I try to avoid it myself (being a natural pedant! ).
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  #12
Old 31-01-2012

Either term is technically correct, but I greatly prefer "drive-through" because "drive-thru" is a vulgar abbreviation (a bit like text-speak or writing "XMAS" when one means Christmas) and does nothing to enhance the English language.
It has often been said that Longleat (which started as The Lions of Longleat in 1966, before adding other animals - generally African in origin - to the mix) was the first drive-round animal reserve. This is incorrect. It was the first drive-through animal reserve OUTSIDE Africa. When Longleat proved to be exceedingly popular with the public, it was widely prophesized that safari parks would soon replace conventional zoos. This inaccurate forecast had one very big, but often overlooked, positive effect: zoo managements, scared that their visitors would desert them in favour of the new safari parks that were opening up all over the place, were forced to rebuild to give their own animals much more space in order to compete with the safari parks, and the terrible, heavily-barred, cell-like cages of the sixties began to disappear. Now that visitors had experienced seeing big animals in wide open spaces, the genie was out of the bottle, and small cages in zoos were seen as unacceptable.
In zoological circles, the founding father of the safari park, Jimmy Chipperfield, is regarded as something of a pariah, because he was essentially a businessman who was seen as exploiting animals for commercial purposes. But I hold a different view: it was, in no small part, because of him and the safari park concept that he was responsible for, that zoos suddenly reinvented themselves. Ultimately, the dire forecast that zoos had had their day was about as accurate as predictions that the world would end in 1999. In the UK the safari park trend was very short, peaking in the early 1970s. Several have long since closed down, including Windsor Safari park, Lambton Lion Park, Stapleford Lion Reserve, and Loch Lomond Bear Park. Excluding the Highland Wildlife Park, which has a drive-round component, and the drive-through reserve at Whipsnade, the youngest extant safari park in the UK (West Midland) is now nearly 40 years old. Even Blair Drummond, whilst still a safari park, is starting to drift away from the concept, by having more of its exhibits viewable by visitors on foot.
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  #13
Old 31-01-2012

Dubbo is designed around a driving loop, but has no drive-through exhibits.
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  #14
Old 31-01-2012

Two that I went to this past summer are Six Flags Wild Safari in New Jersey and Virginia Safari Park in Virginia.
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  #15
Old 31-01-2012

@CGSwans: Yes, your're right. I forgot that "little" difference, sorry.
 


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