Have a wild time under a wild sky at African Safari Wildlife Park

Apr 2, 2024 | Entertainment | 0 comments

African Safari Wildlife Park offers the opportunity to watch the eclipse amongst its wild gang of animals, including zebras. (Submitted photo)

BY SHERI TRUSTY

Of all the ways to watch the solar eclipse on April 8, maybe the most entertainingly outrageous option would be to sit amongst zebras, bison, alpacas and emus. African Safari Wildlife Park will be open for wild business on April 8.

“The park is a great place to watch the eclipse because why would anyone want to be anywhere else when you could be surrounded by hundreds of animals?” said African Safari Advancement Manager Eilliot Zirulnik.

The park’s Drive-Thru Safari, which also includes animals like exotic cattle and elk, will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the last car admitted at 4 p.m. Some of the park’s animals, like the giraffe, won’t be visible unless the air temperature is above 60 degrees. The park’s Walk-Thru Safari does not open until May.

This once-in-a-lifetime event for park guests is also a once-in-a-lifetime event for the park’s animals, giving guests the opportunity to see how the animals respond to unexpected darkness during the day. Park Director Kelsey Keller, however, doesn’t anticipate much of a change from their typical behavior.

“Animals are pretty used to weird phenomena happening in nature, so we’re not expecting too much impact,” Keller said.

Keller said animals naturally respond to the daily light cycle, so they may try to step into their normal evening routine as the sky darkens.

“We expect them to think that it’s nighttime, that it’s bedtime,” she said. “We have night bedrooms to keep everyone safe, and for three minutes, they’ll probably want to go back to their safe places.”

Staff will engage with the animals during the few minutes of confusion.

“We’ll try to keep them comfortable with snacks and things,” Keller said. “After three minutes, they’ll realize it’s over, and we’ll go back to our normal day.”

Park staff have fielded many questions about the impact the eclipse will have on the animals’ eyes.

“Animals are smart enough not to look at the sun. They don’t look at it during the day anyway,” Keller said. “Animals tend to follow Mother Nature’s patterns pretty well.”

African Safari Wildlife Park is located at 267 Lightner Rd. in Port Clinton. For more information, call 419-732-3606 or visit www.africansafariwildlifepark.com.

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