Safari Land gets you up close and personal with animals while you pet, hold and feed them. From elephants to hedgehogs, this zoo is unlike any other!
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! This is not your run-of-the mill zoo. This is Safari Land! Enjoy a safari around the park to feed lions and tigers, then get up close to kangaroos and Brazilian capybaras. Finish your day with a few rides on the ferris wheel or the roller coaster! Safari Land will be fun for the whole family!
Our first winter in Iwakuni we went to Safari Land when Matt’s dad came to visit. This was one of our favorite zoo visits ever! I’m not sure if it was just the time of year, but when we went there weren’t very many people. We felt like we had most of the place to ourselves! We loved being able to interact with the animals so much more than at a regular zoo.
When we last went home to the states we went to Hogle Zoo, a really nice zoo for the States, in Salt Lake City, Utah. But we didn’t get to play with a single animal! At Safari Land, Jeannie rode a tortoise, I got accosted (hugged passionately?) by a kangaroo, Matt held a hedgehog and a monkey, and Royce pet an owl! Not to mention the chances you have to feed lions and tigers. For a bonus, Matt kissed an elephant. The level of involvement you get here is better than any other zoo or park we’ve ever visited.
There was an indoor area that had owls, hedgehogs, monkeys and guinea pigs. There was an attendant inside who let us hold the animals for free!
Outside there was the kangaroo area with a gate that a few people were going in and out of. We couldn’t believe that we were able to go in with the animals but we did. There was some food that we could purchase, so we bought some and fed the kangaroos. It was crazy because off in the corner we were able to watch the kangaroos boxing, just like they do in the movies!
There was another area that had a sign on the door saying to be careful because the animals will run away, so keep the gate closed. There was a large tortoise inside, and the capybaras with their swimming area. We put Jeannie on the tortoise and Royce started to panic! He was so worried about his sister! It was adorable to see how much he cared.
Toward the end of our walk through the park, we saw an elephant hanging out with an attendant so we walked over to let the kids get a closer look. The attendant gave us some info about the elephant, teaching us some Japanese words for nose and ear. Then he gave us some food to feed to it! We got to sit there and touch the elephant’s trunk, feed it and get our pictures taken! We had it all to ourselves for at least 15 minutes; it was playful and curious, and the experience was magical.
I am not a huge fan of zoos. I hate going and seeing animals in pathetic cages looking miserable; that has just never appealed to me. It was not like that at Safari Land!
The animals at Safari Land roam around large enclosures, and most of them seemed to be pretty social.
Because there’s a lot of ground to cover, and you’re dealing with large and sometimes dangerous animals, the tourists are the ones in the cage! The cage is in the form of a themed bus.
We climbed in a bus (ours was designed like a tiger) where they handed us a tray of food. The bus had barred windows below the normal windows with a set of tongs attached for handing the animals their food.
Nothing was in English so we had to watch what other people were doing. When we got to the animals we were told which food we were able to feed them. That is where it was important to watch the other people! At one point, Matt’s dad was feeding a lion and a hawk swooped down and snatched it from the tongs before the big cat could get it. It was a daring hawk!
Jeannie was too little to fully appreciate the experience but Royce loved being able to feed the animals and see them up close. We will definitely go back now that they are older. They will love it!
As I mentioned before, there were not very many people. We also got there right as it opened so I’m not sure if we just got there before any of the rides opened but none of the rides were running when we went in early December. It was nice for us because it saved us money but we didn’t get a chance to try any of the rides besides a coin-operated car. Here is a list of their rides with prices:
Ferris wheel ¥400
Bounce house ¥300
Roller coaster ¥300
Go karts ¥500
Flour cups ¥300
Mystery house ¥300
Aqua roll ¥500
Here is a link to the Safari Land website to see what other rides they have!
This was a great little gift shop! There were a lot of things that I wanted to buy – especially some pretty cool animal puzzles carved from wood! They also had stuffed animals of most of the animals in the zoo. We bought the kids an elephant to remember the elephant they fed. They named him “Hana,” Japanese for “nose.” They also had a restaurant that was reasonably priced. The snack selection was also good, so we stocked up before the trip home.
There will definitely be a next time for us at Safari Land. We will probably go during the late fall again when there aren’t as many people. We didn’t mind not having all the rides open, we weren’t there for those anyway! Being able to get so close to the animals was something we really loved. I would love to have the kids experience again now that they’re older!