Missouri Park

Day trip planning tips for summer break

Summer break is here and that means school’s out and it’s time for vacation and family outings. While you’re probably eager to make the most of summer break, it can be a little stressful too. After all, it’s hard to plan outings that make everyone happy and works with everyone’s schedule and budget.

The following tips can help make summer trip planning easier no matter how big your family or the ages of your kids. 

  1. First and foremost, consider the ages and the age ranges among the members of your family. If you have all school-aged children, you’ll have a lot easier time finding an outing that appeals to everyone.

    A few all-age family outings to consider includes:

– Outdoor water park

– Amusement parks

– Museums

– Day camps

-Interactive fun centers, such as discovery centers

Animal themed parks

If you have older children, get them involved in the planning process as well. They can offer ideas, look u information on potential destinations and even help you figure out costs. Making planning a family event is a great way to ease your burden and ensure that everyone gets to do something they want.

  1. Next, you’ll want to create a family calendar. This is a central calendar that you can use to plan everything for the summer months. Include work schedules, doctor appointments, visits from family, and anything else you’re obligated to attend. This is the easiest way to get a snapshot of free days and busy days so you can plan trips without conflicts. You might find it easier to give everyone a different color or to categorize events by color so you can glance at your calendar and quickly see who is doing what.
  2. Budgets are especially important when you’re trying to plan an entire summer’s worth of events. Make it easier on yourself by creating monthly entertainment budgets. Each month’s budget will probably be different if you’re planning on participating in summer camps or want to take a few mini-trips. Looking ahead into what you want to do and setting up budgets beforehand can help you even out costs so you can make it all happen. These budgeting tips can help you navigate family budgets so you can stretch your dollars further.
  1. Don’t underestimate the fun that can be had right in your own backyard. You don’t have to go on expensive, long trips to have a memorable summer! Check out local guides online to find fun things to do in and around your town. And then there are day trips, which give you a bit more adventurous but still far less expensive than traditional summer vacations. 

Summer is supposed to be full of fun and relaxation, but sometimes planning everything can take a bit of the joy away. With these tips, you can more easily create some family memories without going crazy or breaking the budget. And of course, if you’re looking for a fun and interesting all-age trip, we’ve got you covered. Visit this link to start planning your trip today.

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10 Pot Belly Pig Facts

Pot Belly Pig
Potbelly pigs are undeniably cute and interesting, but exactly how much do you know about them? Most people have seen them but really don’t know a lot about these interesting guys. There are also plenty of misconceptions about them as well. Today we’re going to talk about some fun facts you’ll want to know 
before you visit and see a potbelly pig face to face!

  1. Potbelly pigs came from Southeast Asia in the ’80s and were imported to the United States as pets. They are still popular pets, even though many people underestimate their full-grown size.
  2. Like all pigs, potbellied pigs have sensitive skin and they will get sunburned just like we do!
  3. Potbellied pigs are smart and are very trainable. They can be taught to do tricks and respond to commands, just like dogs!
  4. They use their noses for more than just smelling. Their snouts are strong and they use them to push things around, forage and root in the dirt.
  5. Potbellied pigs grow much larger than people often realize. A potbellied pig can grow to be between 80 and 180 or so pounds.
  6. Potbellied pigs are friendly and social animals. They enjoy being in the company of other pigs and people. They also get lonely without the stimulation of friends and family.
  7. Their eyesight is pretty bad, but they have a great sense of smell and have exceptional hearing.
  8. Potbellied pigs can get overweight and if this happens it can actually cause “mechanical blindness”. This is where rolls of fat obscure their eyesight, but it can be reversed with diet and exercise.
  9. Potbellied pigs are surprisingly quick and enjoy running. They can also swim in shallow water.
  10. They only sweat a little bit on their nose, and nowhere else. For this reason, they stick to the shade and enjoy cooling off in the mud. Mud also protects their skin, so it’s a win-win!

Many people keep pot-bellied pigs as pets, but it can be difficult to do so because they do need plenty of room, attention and they do better when they live with other potbellies. They also grow much larger than many people think, which unfortunately leads to a lot of potbellies being surrendered to sanctuaries. So while they are friendly, it might be best to simply say hi on your next visit to Wild Animal Safari.

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6 Things you can learn on your visit

Every trip to the park is a new opportunity to learn interesting things about our animal friends. While you never know who you’ll see as you drive or walkthrough, you can count on seeing some amazing animals, from tigers and foxes to a watusi. You’ll also get an opportunity to see some less common animals, like a miniature zebu and Timber Wolf/Arctic Wolf Hybrid.

As you make your way through the park, you’re sure to learn a lot about the animals you see. Here are a few things you might notice, or be surprised about, on your next trip.

Water buffalo are huge!

Water buffalo can weigh over 1,100 pounds and they can be up to 52 inches tall at the withers. You might not realize how big they really are unless you see one up close. Meeting a water buffalo during your visit can give you a new appreciation for their sheer size and power in a way reading statistics cannot.

Animals have personalities

Many people know that their pets are full of personality, but what they might not realize is that all animals have unique personalities as well. Tigers, giraffes, lemurs, horses, and sheep are just a few of the charismatic animals you can see on your visit. Each one has moods and charms completely unique to them. 

Animals can be curious 

Many of our animal friends are as curious about you as you are about them. They will approach you to get a closer look and even smell you. This is how they learn about the world around them and it shows just how inquisitive they can be. Some of our animal friends are notoriously curious, eager to approach vehicles and get a good peek inside! 

Only males are peacocks

That’s right, the colorful birds you know and love, with the gorgeous colors and elaborate feather displays, are males. Females are officially called peahens, and they are far less colorful in comparison. You can refer to either as a peafowl. Those colorful displays by peacocks are intended to impress and attract mates. 

Spider monkeys are acrobats

Spider monkeys live in rainforests, spending a lot of time in the canopy. They forage from the treetops, primarily eating fruits. They have to be quite agile and acrobatic to navigate their way through the forests. They are also social animals, living in large groups up to 30 strong. 

Lions can be loud 

Everyone has heard a lion’s roar on TV or in the movies, but have you heard it in person? While there is no guarantee you will hear it on your visit if you do you might be surprised at how loud it can be! In fact, it can reach up to around 114 decibels and it can be heard up to five miles away!.  If you happen to hear it, you’ll never forget the experience!

Last but not least, you’ll definitely learn that animals are unpredictable! Sometimes they are sleepy and may not be very interested in having visitors. At other times, they are full of energy and highly curious about the people walking or driving by! That’s why it always pays to visit a few times so you can get the full experience, no matter what moods our animal friends may be in!

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Wolves and Wolf Hybrids

There is something about wolves that people find especially fascinating. From their lonely howls that can be heard for miles and miles, to their intriguing pack behavior, wolves are truly captivating animals. Wolves are also mysterious, which is why guests are so eager to catch a glimpse of our wolf friends during their visit.

How much do you know about wolves? Here are some fun facts about the amazing wolf- see how many you know and can remember during your next visit to the park/

– There is actually debate over how many species of wolf exist. However, it is widely recognized that there are two main species, red and gray, along with various subspecies. For instance, scientists debate where there are 4 or over 20 subspecies in North American alone.

– Wolves vary in size by species, with gray wolves weighing up to 175 pounds while timberwolves tend to top out at around 100 pounds. Like many animals, males tend to be denser and weigh more than females.

– Wolves are carnivores and can eat up to 20 pounds of meat in a single meal. They tend to hunt large hoofed mammals, like moose, deer, and elk. By necessity, they also hunt small game like beavers or hares.

– Wolves are complex and intelligent animals, and most hunt in packs and work together to survive. This makes efficient hunters that can bring down large game and survive when food is scarce.

– Arctic wolves can live their entire lives in freezing weather, above the arctic circle. They have small ears to reduce heat loss, increased fat storage, and inner and outer layers of fur to increase warmth. They tend to have huge territories up to 1,000 miles in range.

– Dogs come from domesticated wolves, sharing most of the same genes and many of the same behavioral traits. For this reason, dogs and wolves can actually breed and produce hybrids.

– Wolves tend to fear humans and shy away from areas that people frequent. This includes trails and campsites that have a lingering human scent.

Wolf hybrids

Wolves and dogs are interfertile, so they can breed between species. It also means that their offspring can breed as well. So unlike some species of hybrids, wolf hybrids are typically not infertile. This is because the genetics are so similar, so a large variety of hybrids are possible. For instance, there can be a wolf-dog hybrid or hybrids between various wolf species.

You can actually see wolf-dog hybrids and timberwolves-arctic wolf hybrids during your next visit to the park. Click here to plan your visit today.

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Plan The Ultimate Spring Break Family Outing

Spring break is just around the corner, and that means a lot of families are going to need some fun ideas for outings. Day trips provide a great alternative since long trips and air travel is a bit less accessible these days. Luckily, for those in the tri-state area, there are many fun ways to get away with the family and create a spring break to remember.

By making Wild Animal Safari your destination, you can enjoy all-ages entertainment and take advantage of some fun stops along the way. After all, the trip is half the fun, right? 

Here are a few tips to help you plan the ultimate spring break trip for the entire family.

Make your visit a full-day experience 
There is no need to rush through your time at the park, pack a lunch, and plan to spend the day or treat yourself to a meal at the cafe. You can walk through and get to know the animals in our walk-about. This is an experience you don’t want to miss because there are exotic animals in this area that can’t roam freely in the drive-thru section. Next, take a guided tour through the drive-through so you can sit back and enjoy the sites! 

Experience the park multiple ways

Make sure you plan to view the park in multiple ways to get the full Wild Animal Safari experience! There is a complete walk-about area full of amazing animals, but you’ll also want to experience the freedom of animals roaming in the drive-thru area. If you’re driving into the area for a long spring break weekend, you might want to let us do the driving for you with the guided bus tour. Please note, the bus isn’t always running so you’ll want to check the schedule.

Play games during your visit

If you have school-aged children, you can help them have a more enriching and entertaining time by playing some games. You can play animal bingo or make a passport from a map of the park and mark off every animal you see. Here are some more fun ideas on ways to elevate your children’s experience at the park. 

Enjoy nearby food and entertaining options 

Our park is a short day trip for many people in the tri-state area, so it’s a great place to spend a long weekend or spring break. While you’re here, you can take advantage of other area attractions. There are world-class eateries, museums, and entertainment options a short drive from the park. In fact, Branson, the entertainment capital of the Midwest, is under an hour away!

Travel might be a bit more restricted at the moment, but that doesn’t need to stand in the way of your family’s spring break plans. We have over 450 animals, on 350 acres just waiting to meet you, so buy your tickets, make your plans and pack your bags!

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7 Amazing Things You Didn’t Know About Lemurs

Chances are high that you’ve only seen lemurs on television, in animated movies, or on a trip through our park. Since these beautiful animals are not common, they tend to be fairly mysterious and misunderstood. Today we thought we’d talk about some of the things you probably don’t know about the amazing lemur.

Lemurs are primates that can live up to 18 years in the wild. They can weigh up to 7.5 pounds, depending on the species. They have unusually long tails that are typically longer than their bodies. They are very social animals that live in large groups called troops. Lemurs are herbivores and eat a lot of fruits but also feast on leaves, tree bark, sap, and flowers.

Here are some other interesting lemur facts we bet you didn’t know:

  1. There are hundreds of types of lemurs, 17 of which are currently protected. The ring-tailed lemur is the most well-known. Learn more by visiting the Lemur Conservation Foundation.
  2. Madagascar is one of the largest islands in the world and is a hotspot of biodiversity. Many species, including the lemur, are only found naturally on the island. Of course, lemurs are found in zoos, sanctuaries, and wildlife parks around the world.
  3. Lemur’s social structure is unique in that females are dominant. In fact, females are the leaders of lemur troops.
  4. Lemurs may have substantial tails, but they cannot grip or swing by them as similar primates do.
  5. The ring-tailed lemur spends a lot of time on the ground, which is unusual. Most other species of lemur spend most of their time in the trees.
  6. Lemurs are one of the only mammals, other than humans, which have blue eyes! The Sclater lemur also called the blue-eyed black lemur, is a rare and endangered species, according to the Lemur Conservation Network.
  7. The Indris lemur is a large lemur that is known for its song-like vocalizations. The Indris song is complex and is thought to help mark their territories and communicate other information, like warning the troop of danger. Other lemurs are vocal as well, using wails, howls, purrs, and chirps to talk.

Unfortunately, lemurs are facing an uncertain future due to threats to their environment. For this reason, conservation and education efforts are the focus of attention for the Madagascar people. Learn more about lemur conservation by visiting the Lemur Conservation Network.

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Interesting Ways Animals Deal With The Cold

In the winter it’s easy for us to crank up the heat and throw on a nice coat to stay warm. When the elements get harsher, we simply stay inside and enjoy our cozy homes. Animals don’t have it so easy though and have to find ways to deal with the cold, no matter how severe the weather may be. 

While our animal friends have us to help them stay safe and warm all winter long, in the wild, animals have had to adapt in all sorts of ways. Here are four of the most common ways wild animals have adapted to live and thrive in cold climates.

Hibernate

Hibernation allows some animals to survive through the winter by reducing their need for resources. By hibernating they don’t have to spend energy to hunt food, which is even more scarce during the cold season. And while some people compare hibernating to sleeping, it’s not really the same. Hibernation is a slow down of metabolism that allows all of the animal’s systems to slow down dramatically. During this unique state, they need far less energy to survive. It is true, however, that many animals find a safe spot, like a den, to hibernate in during the coldest months of the year. 

Migrate

The idea of migration is a simple one, in fact, a lot of people do it too!  By going to a warmer climate for the winter, animals can avoid cold weather and have reduced access to food and water. If you’ve ever taken a winter vacation to a warm beach, you’ve migrated! The big difference is that animals will make the warmer location their home until it’s time to return. Interestingly, many different animals use this tactic, from fish and birds to large mammals and insects!

Adaptations

Seasonal adaptations are a fascinating way animals deal with the cold. This includes changing their appearance in some way to be more suited for the harsh weather of winter. It could be growing warmer fur or a thickened undercoat to provide insulation, but it can be more dramatic as well. For instance, there are multiple animals that actually turn white in the winter, like the Mountain Hare! By having white fur in the winter, these animals are safer from predators and they can hunt more effectively since they can go undetected in the snow.

Last on our list is the “storage” method. This can include eating more to gain extra fat before the winter sets in, to creating food caches, like the beaver or red squirrel. This is where an animal collects and hides extra food when it’s available so they can eat it during the winter when resources are harder to come by. 

Which method do you find most interesting? Visit us on Facebook and tell us about it!

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Tips To Make Your Visit Fun and Educational

If you’re like most parents, you’re always on the lookout for ways to bring more education into the lives of your children. You want them to be enriched by every experience, but you also want them to have fun. After all, if something isn’t fun, you’re little ones won’t be engaged and interested!

At Wild Animal Safari, it’s easy to have an adventure that also provides plenty of learning opportunities. And we’re not just talking about repeating facts, but creating truly memorable experiences that help kids of all ages learn how to appreciate the entire animal kingdom. 

If you’re looking for ways to enhance your next visit, we’ve got you covered. The following ideas can transform your safari adventure into a full learning experience. 

Name game

This is an easy game for kids of all ages, and it can be played in a few different ways. You can see how many names of animals your kid remembers after each section of the park. So, after you drive through, you can see who can quickly name off more of the animals you saw. If you have more than one child, you can let them compete for animal king or queen, giving a small treat or privilege to whoever can remember the most. When you’re headed home, you can play one more round to test their memories, while also passing a little bit of time on the drive back.

Create a scavenger hunt 

Going on a safari should be an adventure! You can turn your trip into a true safari by making a Wild Animal scavenger hunt. All you need to do is make a list of animals and park features. This might include types of animals, or even animal behaviors, for your little ones to discover and check off. For instance, you can put “monkey-eating lunch” as an item. During the course of your visit, your kids can mark off everything they find. The one that finds the most items wins! 

Make a passport 

No Wild Animal adventure is complete without a passport! You can create your own passport, listing areas of the park and animals you might see. Using a fun sticker or stamp, mark off the areas you visit and the animals you see. This not only keeps kids engaged, but serves as a nice keepsake of your trip. You can make your own passport by searching online for free printables, or visit this site for a free template.

Every Wild Animal trip is an opportunity to learn and get in touch with our animal friends. These tips can help you enhance the experience and turn your next trip into a learning adventure for everyone. Start planning your trip and get some tickets today!

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Giraffe facts to know before your visit

Everyone loves giraffes! In fact, giraffes are often the most sought-after animal by visitors. While they certainly look unusual, towering over every other animal, they are actually interested in many ways. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most interesting facts about our long-neck friends to help you get ready for your next visit.

Social Animals

Giraffes are friendly and social animals by nature. In the wild, they live in herds and spend their time traveling, eating, and resting together. Ironically, a group of giraffes is called a tower! Not only do they enjoy being surrounded by other giraffes, they often enjoy the humans as well. They will eat from your hand and may even enjoy the occasional head pet!

Giraffes are Vegetarian 

Giraffes are huge animals, and they’re entirely powered by plants! These vegetarians eat all types of greenery, from leaves and twigs to berries and seeds. Their favorite type of leafy treats come from the acacia and mimosa trees, and they are known to eat up to 100 pounds of plants a day. They can get all of their nutrients, and water, just from plants!

They don’t’ drink much 

It’s surprising to hear that a giraffe can go a long time without drinking, and when they do drink they don’t need much, but it’s true! Their diet of plants is water-dense, which means they don’t have to venture to a watering hole as often as other animals. This helps them out in the long run since they don’t have to make themselves vulnerable in a watering hole. This is especially helpful since it’s hard for them to lower their heads to drink.

They are fast! 

Giraffes are surprisingly fast animals. They have powerful muscles and long legs that take large strides. This allows them to reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour!  While impressive, this speed isn’t sustainable, just long enough to help them get out of dangerous situations. But with their long gait, even a leisurely trot can seem pretty quick!

Giraffe Babies

When you think of “babies” you think of something small and cute, but giraffes are born weighing between around 150 pounds! They are also about 6 feet tall at birth. Their impressive size comes in handy because they fall about 5 feet at birth and can start walking just about an hour after birth. So while they aren’t small, they are still very cute!

As you can see, giraffes are not only beautiful, but they’re pretty unique as well! From their long lives and long necks to their natural speed, these gentle giants are endlessly fascinating. If you love giraffes and want to see one in person, visit us! We have a new giraffe barn that you’ll enjoy exploring, and you can get tickets to save yourself the wait!

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Stay cool the wild animal way: Unique ways animals beat the heat

Have you ever been curious as to how animals in the wild stay cool, even during the hottest parts of the year? AC and iced coffee might do the trick for us, but our animal friends don’t have it so easy. While we keep the animals in our park safe and sound all year long, their wild counterparts aren’t so lucky.  

Animals have had to get used to taking on the heat and sometimes they do it in pretty interesting ways. Let’s look at some of the ways animals in the wild beat the heat. 

The Camel

When one thinks of an animal that is resilient to the heat and built for the high temperatures of summer, the camel often comes to mind. They live and survive in arid climates, and they do so with fewer resources than most animals are used to. While many think their ability to live in the dry heat comes from storing water in their humps, this isn’t the case. A camel’s humps store fatty tissues which help them survive when there’s little food. And their body has adapted to only store fat in the humps, not all over their body. This makes it easier to regulate their body temperature. Lastly, camels have blood cells that let them retain water and stave dehydration far more efficiently. Watch this video to learn more about camels and how they’ve adapted to live in hard environments.

The Ostrich

There’s no doubt about it, the ostrich is an interesting-looking animal. They have long legs, long necks, and fuzzy feathers distributed mostly on their wings and torsos. While they may seem a bit odd at first glance, their unique appearance actually serves a purpose. Parts of their body are not covered by feathers at all, like the area under their wings and thighs. When it’s hot, they can lift their wings and allow air to reach their exposed skin, cooling them off far more efficiently than if they were covered in feathers. This allows their featherless sides to breathe and increases air circulation over their entire body.

The Tortoise

The tortoise is a naturally cold-blooded animal, so they naturally live in warmer climates. Tortoises will bask in the sun to warm up, staying exposed until their body temperature has reached the right level. This doesn’t mean, however, that they are completely immune to the heat. When a tortoise has had enough sun, they instinctively go for the shade, just like we do!  You may also find them in areas of high vegetation or even burrowed in the ground. This lets them cool off and provides shelter from direct sunlight.

Elk

Elk live in woodlands all across North American, including parts of Canada. Because they live in wooded areas, they often experience a full range of weather, from harsh winters to hot summers. These large animals may seem more suited to cope with the cold, but they have adapted to deal with the heat and humidity that come during the summer months. They also spend long hours happing in the shade, moving more in twilight hours when the sun is less direct. Whenever possible, they will take advantage of bodies of water and heavy vegetation

As you can see, coping with the heat of summer has led to some pretty interesting adaptations. So while animals can’t just turn on the AC, they’ve certainly figured out a lot of interesting ways to deal with the heat. Of course, you can always take a drive through our park to see many animals in person, but feel free to crank up the AC on your way through. 

Sources: //southafrica.co.za/how-do-ostriches-adapt-to-the-heat.html#:~:text=Ostriches%20use%20their%20wings%20as,wings%20to%20shade%20their%20chicks.  | //www.rmef.org/elk-facts/   (also in line links)

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