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The Inside Scoop: Lake Hartwell Safari Park

The littles don’t travel well so we are hard pressed to find new and exciting things for them to do in less than a two hour drive from home. We have been eyeing the Lake Harwell Safari Park for quite a while and last weekend we finally were able to make the just over an hour drive to see the park and it certainly did not disappoint.

Lake Harwell Safari Park opened during Covid, with Jodi and Jeff Gray, owners of a well known travelling zoo, found 70 acres to transform into a drive-thru park. The park is amazing – and really feels like you are driving through a safari with a very natural habitat including a small lake and shaded areas.

We took the Tahoe, because it is our older vehicle and we knew there was a pretty good chance for some dings and scratches while inside the park. The park does offer vehicles for rent to drive through the park so you don’t have risk damage to your vehicle. There is also a giant bus you can take and have someone drive you and your party through the park. The Tahoe drove away primarily unharmed, however it could use a good washing as the sides are covered in dirt and animal slobber. The littles sat on our laps in the front seat, sometimes reluctantly as both Kyle and Sawyer were slightly apprehensive at times. But that’s understandable when a buffalo that isn’t much smaller than your vehicle is putting his entire head into your front seat.

I know some people might be a little worried about the animals as zoos sometimes do not care for the animals in the best way, but it was great to see all the animals in the park and to see how well cared for they were. There are 20 different species of animals at the park and we referenced the sheet they passed out several times to learn more about the animals we saw. Even with the littles being almost four and five years old, they loved learning all about the different animals.

I certainly think the best part of the park is that you can go through as many times as you want at no extra cost. We went through twice, once with me driving and once with Nick driving, as it is definitely a different experience to be a driver vs a passenger, so I would recommend do it at least twice!

The park was super affordable. I have been to some safari park that charged a set price for a carload, but this one was per person. It was $10 for adults and $5 for kids. That includes the safari park and the petting zoo, that lets you see Kangaroos, goats, turtles, zebras, and other animals up close. There is also the option to purchase food for the animals at $5 per bag, which I would of course highly recommend. I think we went through 5 bags of food on our two trips through the park. That was probably a little excessive, I am sure a bag or two would be just fine.

Overall, I would highly recommend people of all ages taking the drive to Lake Hartwell to visit the safari park. It was well worth the drive and really was the perfect way to spend an afternoon! If you want to know more, check out Lake Hartwell Wildlife Safari on Facebook. The park is located at 915 Boleman Hill Road, Hartwell.


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