Forget hair-raising roller-coaster rides. Try hairy critters slobbering on your windshield. Indeed, the animals that roam Lion Country Safari, which is located west of West Palm Beach, make Orlando's mouse seem rather mundane. Developed in 1967 by a group of British and South African entrepreneurs who wanted to bring the African safari experience stateside, the park is now home to more than 1,200 animals that roam freely around visitors, who are warned to stay in their cars. While this may sound like the ultimate couch-potato experience, the place has a rich history. When it opened more than three decades ago, it was the first cageless zoo in the nation. Furthermore, a drive through the park underscores how oxymoronic the term "reality-based TV" truly is; it offers a new incentive to get out of the house. Where else can you commune with curious ostriches (albeit through shatter-proof glass)? And where else can you watch giraffes spar while you hope they don't lose their footing and turn your SUV into a battered Dodge Ram? And not only neophytes are captivated by the zoo's natural wonder. Famed chimpanzee expert Dr. Jane Goodall uses the attraction as part of her ChimpanZoo program, in which trained observers record the animals' activities to help scientists understand how man's closest relatives live. If all that anthropological stuff seems like too much, don't worry. A park at the end of the trail features a merry-go-round, mini-golf, and pedal boats.
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