Georgia Park

Lizards, Iguana, Geckos…oh my!

Lizards, iguanas, and geckos are pretty amazing guys, but they are also fairly misunderstood. For instance, do you know how they are alike and how they’re different? Could you tell them apart if you saw them side by side?

These fellows are pretty popular among visitors, especially kids! So, today we’re going to look at some of the things that make them so interesting and unique.

Lizards

Lizards are found all over the world and there are over 4,500 different species! This makes them the most diverse fellows when compared to iguana and geckos. One thing that makes lizards unique is the diversity among the species itself. For instance, there are lizards that have eggs and others that live young! Some lizards have four legs, but there are also legless species! They live in nearly every type of climate and terrain, as well, which accounts for the extreme diversity among them. One thing that does seem to be common among lizards is that they tend to have smaller heads, long bodies, and long tails.

Iguana

There are only around 30 different species of iguana, which is a drastic difference when compared to lizards. As you can guess, with fewer species, there is less variety among iguanas. They live around southern Asia, Australia, North and South America, and the islands of the West Pacific. They are mostly nocturnal and have thick scaly skin with sharp teeth and nails. They also lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young. And while lizards and geckos tend to be smaller, Iguanas can reach nearly 6 feet long, including their long tails.

Gecko

There are around 1000 different species of gecko, so they are more diverse than iguana but less than lizards. They can be found in quite different climates and terrains including the southern US and the Caribbean to France, North Africa, and throughout Asia. Geckos lay eggs to have young. They also have soft, smooth skin with short and stout bodies, large heads, and thin tails. They have pads on their toes that adhere to surfaces so they can easily climb even smooth surfaces, like glass! Geckos don’t get that big, typically only reaching about 6 inches in length.

As you can see, lizards, iguanas, and geckos are diverse and interesting guys. The next time you visit, take a closer look and see if you can recognize some of the things that make them similar and different.

Plan your trip today.

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How animals stay cool in the summer

Ostrich

Staying cool in the summer is easy for us, all we have to do is turn up the AC, stay inside or take a swim. For animals though, things are a lot different. Other than finding shade and resting during the hottest part of the day, some animals have developed interesting ways to beat the heat.

Today we’re going to talk about some of the various ways animals survive in the heat, no matter how hot it might get.

Camels

If you were to ask which animal is most able to handle the heat, you’d probably say it’s the camel. There is no doubt, camels are built for high temperatures. They live and thrive in climates that are hot and arid with few natural resources. So how do they do it? Sometimes people think the secret is water in the camel’s humps, but this isn’t the case. Camel humps store fatty tissues that give them sustenance when there is little food to go around. The humps also help regulate body temperatures. And perhaps the most unusual adaptation is their blood cells. These have a unique shape that helps them retain water and drastically reduces the effects of dehydration.

Sheep

Sheep often live in areas that experience multiple seasons, so they have to deal with both cold and heat. As a result of this, sheep are fairly resilient when it comes to temperature. During the hottest part of the year, sheep naturally slow down and seek out shade. They also start eating more greenery, especially if there is limited water around. This is because the greens help them stay hydrated even if they can’t find freshwater. Sheep are often sheared before the hottest part of the year, which also helps them regular their body temperature. This isn’t a natural adaptation but a part of domestication that helps them stay comfortable.

Elk

There are many types of elk living throughout the United States and in Canada. They tend to live in woodlands and mixed habitats like in national parks. During the warmest seasons of the year, Elk naturally reduce their activity during the day and become more active at twilight. You may notice that Elk become stationary during the heat and spend most of the day standing in the shade. They also seek out water so they can cool off during the hottest part of the day. Like other animals, they get more hydration from increasing their intake of green vegetation.

Ostrich

Ostriches are unique-looking animals, so it’s not surprising that one of the most unique ways of keeping cool belongs to them! Most of their bodies are not covered in feathers, which gives them a bit of a patchwork appearance. To cool off, they spread out their wings to expose their belly and sides, which have no feathers. They sometimes prance or strut in this position as well, to further increase air circulation. This effectively reduces their body temperatures and helps them beat the heat.

Tortoise

Tortoises are cold-blooded animals so they actually need warmth from the environment around them to maintain their body temperature. You will see them basking in the sun to get the heat they need, much like lizards. Just because they are cold-blooded doesn’t mean they can’t get too hot though! When they need to cool off, they seek shade, often under vegetation. Some species will dig a hole or seek out water in order to more dramatically escape the heat.

Animals have adapted to live in extreme climates around the world, all without the use of technology. Some of their methods are clever and innovative, while others are effective evolutionary adaptations. No matter how they do it though, animals get a lot of credit for beating the heat without one of our favorite inventions, the AC!

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What’s a Liger?

It’s a lion, it’s a tiger, it’s a …..liger? Some people are really surprised to find out that ligers are real and you can actually see one on your next visit to the park. Before you arrive, you might be interested in learning more about these fascinating animals.

Ligers are hybrids

A hybrid is an animal that has parents of different species, but the same genus. In this case, ligers are the hybrid offspring of a male lion and a female tiger. Ligers can be larger than either of their parents, making them even more impressive to see in person.

Ligers don’t live in the wild

Ligers only exist in captivity, like our parks, zoos, and sanctuaries. This is because, in the wild, these species simply do not share the same habitat. This means they don’t really have an opportunity to mate outside of captivity.

Ligers are big

Many hybrids are larger than either of the parent species, and that is true of most ligers. Ligers can reach over 1,000 pounds and are heavily muscular. They can reach around 4 and a half feet at the shoulders.

Ligers are fast

Ligers are large cats with dense muscles, but that doesn’t mean they are slow! They can quickly launch themselves from resting to a run that’s been clocked at around 50 miles per hour. They cannot sustain that speed for long, but it is an impressive feat nonetheless!

Ligers can have stripes

Hybrids are unpredictable in some ways, including in the size and coloration of the offspring. Ligers are no different, sometimes having tiger stripes along with lion manes. These stripes can be faint or quite pronounced.

Ligers can roar

In most cases, ligers take after their lion parent more than their tiger parent. An example of this is the liger’s roar, which typically sounds more like a lion. But remember, hybrids are unpredictable, so there are some ligers that sound more tiger-like.

Ligers grow fast

After birth, a liger puts on weight quickly. Over the course of their first year of life, they often gain around 300 pounds! They put on weight at a similar pace until after they are around 3 years old. They also gain height just as quickly, reaching their full-grown adult size in just about three years.

Lastly, ligers tend to enjoy the water and are more social than some big cats. So when you come to visit the park, stop by to see our liger and say hello!

 

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5 Things You Didn’t Know About New Guinea Singing Dogs

Everyone has heard dogs bark. If you have a dog, you may have even heard a variety of vocalizations that range from sounding like human speech to whining and even crying. The various sounds dogs can make is pretty astonishing, but you haven’t heard anything quite like the New Guinea Singing Dog!

New Guinea Singing Dogs are rare animals that come from the forested highlands of the island of New Guinea. Sometimes simply called “singing dogs” these guys are truly unique and as you might have guessed, they sing. Today we’re going to learn all about the amazing singing dog, which you can visit on your next trip to the park.

  1. At first glance, New Guinea Singing Dogs might seem very similar to the dogs in your neighborhood, but in reality, they have wider cheekbones, narrow muzzles, and ears shaped like petals. This gives them a distinctive look for a canine.
  2. Singing dogs have to hunt in steep areas covered by trees, which has given them extremely flexible spines and joints. They are actually kind of catlike in some ways, and they can even jump and climb trees! These are all adaptations that allow them to thrive in the steep, heavily forested lands.
  3. Singing dogs are quite territorial in the wild, but because they are rare and live in areas that are hard to get to, a lot isn’t known about their behaviors regarding hunting. It is believed that they hunt alone and we know they prey on smaller mammals, like small reptiles and birds.
  4. Singing dogs have litters of up to 4 pups at a time. Both parents participate in raising and protecting the pups, which is necessary to keep them safe from predators. Like other canines, playing and living in family units teaches the pups socialization and hunting skills.
  5. Singing dogs do more than bark and howl, they use a large range of unique vocalizations to communicate with each other. They have a variety of pitches and sounds that can be described as singing, screaming, yelling, and whining. When one group starts to sing, others will join in, adding their own distinct voices to the mix.

The New Guinea Singing Dog was only discovered in the ’50s, and there has been a lot of debate over the true nature of the animal. For some time it was thought they were simply feral dogs that were once domesticated, but there is a fossil record to show that the species is quite old. No matter how they came to be, however, the singing dog is a true treasure that you’ll want to try and see on your next visit to the park.

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It’s Season Pass Time!

If saving money and spending more time with your family were on your list of resolutions, you’ll definitely want to get a season pass! Not only is our season pass a great value, it is the easiest and most affordable way to enjoy the park with your family throughout the year.

Now is the time to buy your season pass to maximize the value, giving you time to plan multiple trips throughout the year. But, if you’re still on the fence, we have four reasons why now is the best time to leap with a season pass to Wild Animal Safari.

1. Amazing experiences for all ages: It can be hard to find activities for every member of the family. If you have kids of varying ages and abilities, this can be even more of a challenge. Our animal park, however, is the exception. Everyone can enjoy a trip through the park, from the youngest to the oldest member of your family. And since there are drive-thru and walk-through areas, everyone can view the animals in a way that works best for them. You can even let someone else do the driving by taking a tour.

2. Truly affordable family outing: Every dollar counts, especially right now. This makes a season pass even more valuable. In fact, when you compare your season pass against the cost of other family experiences, you’ll see exactly how affordable it is. A season pass quickly pays for itself in just a couple of visits. And the sooner in the year you buy it, the more value it brings to you.

3. Fun and educational trips all year long: Spring break, summer break, and long weekends…it can be difficult to find things that are both fun and educational. Our park is the exception because a single trip will give your children access to exotic animals from around the globe. They can learn all about the species they see, the parts of the world they come from and the work it takes to care for animals. You can even enhance the learning experience by taking a guided tour with our knowledgeable guides.

4. Exotic, amazing, and cute animals: Featuring 65 different species, just one trip through is a personal safari that gives you many opportunities to create lifelong memories. You will be able to see animals you have only read about online as well as some beloved favorites like giraffes, tigers, lemurs, and exotic birds. This gives your entire family a unique opportunity to appreciate wild and exotic animals without a passport.

As you can see, a season pass is a passport for adventure that you can take advantage of all year long.

Learn more about the park, the animals, and buy your season pass today!

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Four Easy Ways To Keep Kids Busy During Holiday Break

Holiday breaks are a great time to unwind and enjoy some home time, but keeping kids entertained during the downtime can be a real challenge. If you’re like many parents, you’re always on the lookout for some fun, educational and engaging ways for your kids to pass the time. The following animal-themed activities can help kids stay busy, learn a bit about nature, and maybe give you some quiet time as well!

Take a virtual safari

A lot of zoos around the world have live animal cameras. These give you a great opportunity to get up close to some amazing animals, from lions and aquatic life to bald eagles and pandas. Just remember, there is never a guarantee that you’ll see anything exciting on a live cam, so have a few loaded up and check them regularly to find something fun to watch.

Here are a few links to get you started on your virtual safari:

Smithsonian National Zoo

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Channel Islands National Park Bald Eagle Cam

Antarctica Penguin Cam

UK Paignton Zoo

Bali Elephant Trail Cam

Make an animal book

For kids that enjoy coloring, you can have a lot of fun that only requires a printer and some crayons. But you don’t have to just print out boring coloring pages, your kids can turn their art into animal-themed books. Use the following sites for animal color pages and turn them into funny stories and themed books. For example, you could create a farm animal, geography-based, or exotic animal-themed book. If your child enjoys storytelling, they can also turn their pictures into a creative story.

Crayola animal themed coloring pages

Coloring.com animal coloring pages
Coloring Home animal coloring pages

Top Coloring animal themed pages

Get crafty

Kids of all ages love crafts, but it’s also a great way to keep kids busy without computers and screens. You can use the following links to find age-appropriate craft ideas for your kids. Many of them are simple and require things you already have on hand, or can easily get at any department store.

Easy Peasy animal crafts

The Spruce animal crafts

Mom Junction easy animal crafts
Arty Crafty kids

Movie night

There are many fun, family-friendly animal movies that the whole family will love. Pop some popcorn, make some cocoa and enjoy an afternoon or evening full of animal antics. Just be sure to select movies that match your kid’s attention and maturity level. Here are a few ideas to help narrow down your search, and many of these can be found on streaming services.

Charlotte’s Web (2006)

Duma (2005)

The Jungle Book (2016)

Over the Hedge (2006)

Animal Crackers (2017)

Dumbo (2019)

WonderPark(2019)

Peter Rabbit (2018)

And last but not least, you can also pack up the family and bring them over for a fun trip to Wild Animal Safari. You can drive or walk through our park and see amazing animals from all around the world. You can get tickets online and receive an advance purchase discount.

 

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The Amazing Arctic Wolf

When the weather turns cold, we turn up the heat and get cozy around the fire. In fact, most people will do just about anything to escape the chill of winter, but some animals spend their entire lives in areas where the ground is permanently frozen. The Arctic Wolf, sometimes called a polar or white wolf, endure some of the harshest elements on earth, spending their life in the Arctic tundra.

Here are some amazing facts you may not have known about this highly adaptive and fascinating animal.

Made for the cold

The Arctic Wolf is built to thrive in harsh environments. They can weigh up to 155 pounds and reach over five feet in length. To help them deal with the freezing temperatures, they actually have two thick layers of fur. The outside layer grows thicker as winter approaches to prepare them for the freezing weather to come. The inside layer is close to the skin and creates a waterproof barrier. This keeps their skin dry which helps them stay a lot warmer, even during the bitter cold.

The Arctic Wolf has additional physical adaptations that make life in the tundra possible, like their small ears. This is an adaptation that prevents the loss of extra heat through the thin skin of the ears. They also have densely padded paws which give them protection from the cold and improved grip on icy, frozen surfaces. They even have dense fur between their toes for extra warmth.

Dealing with the elements

Where the Arctic Wolf lives, the ground is always frozen. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, to dig out dens as many animals do in other parts of the world. To get shelter from the cold, they have to use natural features available in their environment, like caves or rocky outcrops. Once they find safe dens, they might visit them over and over throughout their life. Since they are very territorial, they may even have a network of dens they can use as they roam and hunt.

Food time

As you might imagine, there is not a lot of prey for the Arctic Wolf due to the extreme nature of their environment. This means they have to cover the span of large territories to find enough food. They also have to be efficient hunters. Arctic Wolves actually will hunt in packs, going against the “lone wolf” image some people have of them. This is necessary for them to bring down large prey, like ox and caribou.

They also frequently hunt seals, lemmings, and Arctic hares. Since they are opportunistic hunters, they will prey upon nesting birds and nearly anything else they can find. And since food is scarce, they have to eat all they can when it is available. They might eat up to 20 pounds of meat in a single setting!

The Arctic Wolf is a super adaptive animal that has been able to make itself a home in one of the world’s most harsh environments. We invite you to visit our park and see one of these magnificent creatures for yourself!

Ready to plan a trip? You’ll find all the information you need, including discounted online tickets here.

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Have You Seen A Spider Monkey?

The very name “spider monkey” conjures up some interesting visuals, but these New World primates are far less unusual than the name suggests. These social animals received an interesting name because they hang upside down to sleep and look a bit spider-like with their arms and legs dangling!

Here are some other interesting facts you might not know.

The basics

Spider monkeys can weigh up to 14 pounds and average 3-5 feet in height. They can live up to 22 years in the wild. They have no thumbs, but their prehensile tail allows them to grab onto branches and navigate their way from tree to tree. They are also most active during the day, foraging for food in the early morning.

Social behavior

Spider monkeys are matriarchal, which means that females hold leadership roles and make decisions for the group. They are also very social, living in groups up to three dozen strong. At night, they break into smaller groups for sleeping. They spend much of their time in the canopy of forests and are very talented when it comes to swinging, hanging, and navigating their way through trees. They will sometimes even hug!  A group of spider monkeys is called a troop!

Food habits

Since they spend the vast majority of their lives in treetops, their food comes from things they can find in the forest’s canopy. The largest part of their diet consists of fruits, nuts, and leaves. They will also eat bird eggs and small insects as available. Their hydration comes largely through the foods they consume. Spider monkeys do not hunt but break into smaller groups to forage.

Communication 

Like most animals, spider monkeys have developed a system for communication. This allows them to do things like indicate food sources and warn each other of danger. Over time, they have developed a large variety of calls, screeches, barks, and other interesting sounds. As you can imagine, they can be very noisy, especially since they live in large groups!

Spider monkeys are interesting to watch, making them popular among visitors. You can see one for yourself on your next Wild Animal adventure!

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Four ways to have an adventure at Wild Animal Safari

Are you looking for a fun family adventure that doesn’t require air travel? A day trip to Wild Animal Safari in Pine Mountain is the perfect family outing, with something for everyone to enjoy. There are many ways to take in the sites, from sitting back and letting someone else do the driving, to wandering through the walkabout at your pace.

No matter how you decide to enjoy it, the following tips will help you make the most of your wild animal adventure.

Walk About 

You might want to start your visit by getting out and stretching your legs in the walkabout area, especially if you had a long drive. This section is a more zoo-like setting that allows you to interact with many types of exotic animals. You’ll see everything from Bengal tigers and lemurs to monkeys and alpacas.  And since this is a self-guided area, you can take your time and relax. Of course, you can also visit the café and grab a souvenir at the gift shop.

Drive-Through

The drive-through area allows you to get face-to-face with amazing wildlife, all from the comfort of your own vehicle.  You control the pace as you drive through the 3.5-mile adventure. During the trek, you’ll have the opportunity to see up to 75 different species, including elk, camels, American bison, and giraffe. Many of them will actually walk right up to your window, allowing you to take pictures and make some fun family memories.

The Guided Tour

If you drove to visit our park, you might want to sit back and let someone else take the wheel. Our guided bus tour lets you enjoy the sites, take pictures and relax. You can even purchase feed and treat the animals that come up and say hi! The entire tour takes about an hour, and you’ll get to learn about the animals you encounter with the help of a knowledgeable guide. They’ll be able to identify the animals, give you some fun facts and enrich the experience for your entire family.

The tour doesn’t run all year long, so you’ll want to check the schedules before you plan your trip.

Bring the Gang!

If you have a large family or want to bring your extended family and friends, you can always rent a zebra van. With two sizes available, you can enjoy the sites with up to 15 passengers. You can’t reserve vans, they are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Don’t worry though, you can always pass time in the walkabout while you wait for a van to be returned. Keep in mind, to rent a van you must be 21 with a valid drivers’ license and an insurance card. Learn more about renting a van on your next wild animal trip.

As you can see, you don’t have to take a lot of time off or go to an exotic location to have an amazing family adventure.  Spend the day at Wild Animal Safari and create memories that will last a lifetime.  And if you want to plan ahead, you can purchase tickets online and skip the line!

 

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Things you probably don’t know about Peacocks

Peacock
One of the most recognizable birds in the winged world is the peacock. They’re colorful, sport an extravagant display of feathers, and are pretty hard to ignore when you see one in person!

But while you definitely know a peacock when you see it, there is actually a lot more to these beautiful birds than meets the eye. In fact, you may be surprised to see how much you didn’t know about peacocks.

To test your knowledge, we created this list of little-known peacock facts. How many are new to you?
Peacock 1

Their Feathers have crystal-like structures

Ever wonder what makes the peacock so colorful and iridescent? The answer lies deep within the feathers and you need a microscope to see it! Their feathers are made up of many small, flat branches that give the feather its shape. On these small branches are hundreds of indentations, which can only be seen up close. At the bottom of these indentations is a tiny, crystal-like structure called lamellae, which creates unique reflections. The result is the extravagant display we see when they stretch their wings!

Their Name Isn’t What You Think it Is

When people say “peacock” they are typically referring to males and females, but that’s not actually the case. Peacock is only the name used for the flashy, dazzling males. Females, which are far less colorful, are called peahens. If you want to refer to the entire family of birds, you should call them peafowl. Who knew one family of birds could have so many names?
Peacock 2

They are one of the largest flying birds

Peafowl is one of the largest birds that actually have the ability to fly. Unlike the Ostrich, they’re able to fly for short periods of time and even retreat to the protection of a tree branch if they need to evade a predator. They fly mostly to and from branches or, in the cases of our own resident peafowl, to the tops of buildings. Even though they can fly, you still mostly find them walking around on the ground.

Peafowl live long lives

When they live in a secure and predator-free place, with plenty of access to food, water, and shelter, peafowl can live to reach the ripe old age of 50. In the wild, where there is more competition and life is harder, the average life of a peacock is around 20 years. The age that they reach in the wild does depend on many factors, like the abundance of resources and protection from predators.

From how they get their amazing color to their unique ability to fly, it’s easy to see why people are so fascinated with peafowl. And now you know a few fun facts to test the kids with the next time you visit our park and see our resident feathered friends.

Looking for a fun family outing?

Plan your trip by buying tickets online.

Sources:
http://www.webexhibits.org/causesofcolor/15C.html
https://wildlifeinformer.com/can-peacocks-fly/
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/group/peacocks/

 

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