Guided Tour: Parc Safari

Park Safari (View map)

OPENING DAY: May 19, 2017

Schedule: Hours vary from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., depending on the day. Check the schedule before going.

Cost: Daily Rates (high season): $38.95 for adults, $25.95 for children age 3-15, $9.95 for kids 2-year-olds and Free for under 12 months. (prices subject to change)
Season Passport: $65 for adults and children over the age of 3. (prices subject to change)

Website: parcsafari.com/en


 

Although the main attraction at Parc Safari is the drive-through, um, safari, there's a lot more to this Hemmingford attraction for young families. In fact, for people with children age 0 to 3, I would recommend skipping the drive-through section of the park. Although it's fun to visit and feed animals giraffes, zebras, deer, etc. from your car windows, it can take over an hour to snake through the grounds.

We went the drive-through route on our first visit with a 3-year-old and a one-year-old. Both kids were bored after about half and hour and we were stuck in the car, unable to exit the line, for about an hour and a half. BUT, once we parked and saw all the other activities, we were glad we had sprung for season tickets and ended up going to Parc Safari about 3 more times that summer.

Water park targets young families
Once you park and enter the site, you see that there's no lack of things to do and other animals to see. There's a small amusement park area with basic rides (it costs a bit extra – a wild rides bracelet is $3 for the day). Kids are also wowed by the huge playground area, which has various jungle gyms and climbing structures. Then, you reach the water park area, where there's a network of wading pools with water sprinklers and slides that are perfect for the up-to-five age group. Aside from this, there's a lazy river, where you can float freely on inner tubes. There aren't any large-scale water slides or wave pools here – it's really targeted at young children.

Lots of animals to see by foot and stroller
There are also various animals to see in the walk/stroll-through "wildlife observatory" section. One of the big attractions at Parc Safari is the white lions; you can actually walk through a glass tunnel in the lions' enclosure. They may be standing on the tunnel as you walk through, so kids can see them at close range. There are also elevated walkways through chimpanzee, macaque, hyena and bear enclosures. In another part of the park is a deer trail, where visitors can walk in and feed free-roaming deer.

Game plan

  • Plan to arrive at or around opening time to maximize your time at Parc Safari. It's one of the more expensive family outings, so you may want to forgo naps or prepare to have the kids sleep on the way home in the car.
  • Have some change available – boxes of animal food are sold at $2 per box
  • Pack swimming gear and hand sanitizer, in case the kids do end up feeding the animals.
  • There are tables for picnicking, but also various restaurants – ranging from cafeteria to sit-down, order-from-a-menu style.
  • If you skip the drive-through section, the pool area is relatively quiet during the morning hours, but gets very busy in the afternoon.
  • Also, it's a great idea to bring your own stroller; although the grounds are not as big as Granby Zoo or La Ronde, it's helpful to have your own wheels. Wagons are rented for a $8 fee and wheelchairs are available for $5 (deposit +ID card required).

This article was published in May, 2013 and updated in May, 2017