North America / Travel With Kids

Drive-Thru Safari with a toddler

Mother and son on drive through safari
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As we try and adjust to our new normal and find things to do for the summer which adhere to social distancing guidelines and keep our little ones active and entertained, we decided to take a drive to Virginia Safari Park and do a drive through Safari.

toddler watching animals at drive through safari

Location of drive through safari

The drive through safari is a 2hr and 30-minute drive give or take from where we live here in Virginia.  We have not taken a road trip with Joakim in quite some time so we were a little nervous on how well he would do on an almost 3hr drive.  We stopped at a rest stop along the way to let him run around and stretch to break things up.


First, I will say there is not much around this area.  There is a gas station just before entering the drive through safari.  I would highly recommend you fill up the tank prior to entering.  Driving around the safari park at 5mph with the A/C on and frequent stops, it’s a good idea.   When we arrived, there was a pretty long line which was directed by employees.  It was organized and moved at good pace.  If you are going on a weekend like we did, purchase your tickets online!  We got our 2 buckets of feed and off we went on our first drive through safari.

The drive through Safari

Photo of ostrich at a drive through safari ready to take food from feed bucket.
Head to Instagram stories under “Virginia” highlights to see the video of this encounter!

 The animals are free to roam around the safari and they will not move for you. Hahaha.  They get a move on it when they are good and ready!  Straight away there was a pig walking the road minding his own business walking in front of cars, unbothered by anyone trying to get his attention.  We listened to Joakim oink oink for about a mile or two. Lol! 

The view of a toddler

Again, the speed limit is 5mph, Joakim sat in the front with us as Ty drove around the safari.  There are lots of stops and a fair amount of waiting. Other cars are feeding animals and the animals may have stopped directly in front of your vehicle. They move when they feel like it. Lol!  Joakim did a lot of feeding and petting the animals. We felt completely comfortable letting him participate in everything we did during the drive through Safari.  He enjoyed every second of it. There was an ostrich who decided he would stop eating out of Ty’s bucket and bit his finger. hahaha We saw a ton of different animals which was a great learning experience for Joakim. There were ostrich, deer, elk, zebra, llama, bison, cattle, and host of other animals.  Some how we missed the rhinos.

You get two buckets of feed per car.  By the time you get closer to the end of the drive through there is a good chance you will be out of food!  We had a half bucket left of food and I was feeding a bison, the bison took the WHOLE bucket!  Food, container, everything!  So, as you are ending the drive through safari you will find a lot of animals roaming to your car looking/sniffing for food.  We did not have any more to give.

The Safari Village
Father and son entering "Safari Villiage" at drive through safari

After we finished the drive through safari portion, we headed over to the Safari Village.  We purchased more feed prior to entering for the animals in this area.  Joakim got to feed some goat, watch penguins eat fish, monkeys swinging, cheetahs and other animals during our walk through.

We also purchased lettuce with the expectation to get up close and feed the giraffe.  We arrived at that area around 4:00 or 4:30 and were told the giraffe were not eating.  The lettuce was fed to the goats.  We purchased feed for the goat and fed them as soon as we entered the village.  I would ask what time the giraffe stops eating prior to purchasing the lettuce.

There were plenty of signs for social distancing and areas were marked 6ft apart.  We did however feel like we needed to have on a mask around the village because people were not always adhering to social distancing.

The highlight was the drive through safari. It is a do-over for us!

TipThere is also a café. However, it is on the pricey side. There is a large picnic area available.  In addition, lots of bench seating. Bring a cooler packed with lunch and lots of snacks. We bought this one with us.

Have you been on a drive through safari?


  • Carrie Pankratz
    December 20, 2020 at 9:21 am

    We had a drive-through safari near my house when I was a child. It closed down years ago. I didn’t know that these still existed. Sounds fun!

    • Mo
      December 20, 2020 at 1:02 pm

      Yes they do and it was so much fun! A great outdoor activity.

  • Alisha Thompson
    December 20, 2020 at 9:52 am

    Love this!

    • Mo
      December 20, 2020 at 12:56 pm

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Ebony Washington
    December 20, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    Love this!


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