February 4, 2011

Fuji Safari Park

This weekend it was off to Mt. Fuji to the Safari Park to see all of the wild animals. We had the most spectacular views of Mt. Fuji in the morning but by the middle of the day the clouds circled the top of the mountain. It was still quite a sight to behold. The most amazing part about this Safari Park was how close we were able to get to see the animals and the opportunity we had to actually feed the bears, lions, and camels. Before driving through the park in our own car we decided to take one of the Safari gated buses.  It was the best idea ever.  We got to ride in the tiger bus and although it was still a little cold outside we were bundled up so we stayed warm during most of the trip.  We stopped first to feed the bears and were instructed to feed them the apples and carrots.  It was so fascinating to see the bears come right up to the bus and stand up to get fed.  Our kids had so much fun feeding the bears with these long iron rods.  Even when we ran out of apples and carrots the bus driver gave us some more.  I think he thought it was cute how excited the kids were to feed the bears.  With each family you only got a preset amount of food to feed the animals so we thought his gesture was really great.

Next we got to see the lions.  Right when we pulled to the designated spot we got to witness two lions fighting/playing with each other.  I realized that this adventure was geared more for video than taking pictures as I realized it was kind of hard to get a clear picture through the bars. For the lions we got to feed them little chickens. The lions came right up to the bus and opened their big jaws waiting to be fed. We got a great look inside those big chompers...WOW! They chomped on that chicken and ate it bone and all. It was fascinating to see how many lions there were. Some were even laying on the branches of the trees basking in the sun. It was literally like being in the Lion King. The next section were the tigers. Most seemed to be gated in somehow so that they couldn't as easily walk on the road but there were no real barriers as they could get to the road if they wanted. Most of them were laying around but a few were walking around. It was unreal to be able to see the tigers this close. We even got to watch an old tiger walk around and get within 7 feet of our car when we drove around the second time. He was HUGE but you could tell he was old by how his fur sagged and by how slow he was walking. I was not keen about staying there too long so I urged Mike to exit the tiger zone and move on. After the tigers we got to see cheetahs right outside our window, elephants, some rhinos fighting, a tall giraffe making its way past our car, some lazy llamas, big smelly camels which we fed from the bus, a group of zebras eating together, small elk roaming the road inspecting some of the cars, mountain goats, and some big bison. It was fun riding in the gated bus but even more exciting to see the animals from our own car.

Back at the main section of the safari park we were able to see other animals in a more zoo like setting. We got to feed and pet wallabys and kangaroos. The kids LOVED the kangaroos. We probably spent a good portion of our time there as they didn't want to leave. We even got to see a joey in his mother's pouch. We also got to see the hippos, lion cubs, seals, meerkats, lemurs, hyenas, and porcupines. This place was far better than any zoo we have ever been to.

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