Why Lion Country might get cheetah, penguins

After 50 years in Palm Beach County, the owners of Lion Country Safari plan to sell the drive-through zoo and amusement park to the owner of a Connecticut-based wildlife center — a move that could bring more animals to the facility off Southern Boulevard.

A young giraffe is seen at Lion Country Safari, which earned the county tourism award, the Providencia.
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old: Nafari, which means “first-born” in Swahili, was born June 24 and is the first baby giraffe of the 2014 season at Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee, Florida. Nafari was born weighing 141.5 pounds and measured 70 inches tall. Lion Country Safari is a leader in giraffe breeding programs in North America with more than 60 giraffes births. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Marcella Leone, founder and director of the nonprofit Leo Zoological Conservation Center in Greenwich, Conn., plans to buy Lion Country in a deal that is expected to be finalized later this year. Once the sale is complete, she said she hopes to bring more animals to the park — including a cheetah and a colony of African penguins — both of which are currently living at her Connecticut wildlife center.

VIDEO: Lion Country Safari Exhibits: Extinct oryx thrive at the park

“Our plan is to expand upon the foundation that is created,” Leone said Tuesday of her plan to buy Lion Country. “I have a true love for that place and for animals. I just want to continue to improve it and expand on what they are already doing.”

Earlier this month, Lion Country Safari was named one the best “Savanna Exhibits” in the world, according to a ranking released by Zoo Nation.

The list features the top 10 places in the world to view African wildlife outside of Africa. Lion Country took the 10th spot on Zoo Nation’s list — a ranking it is using to help draw out-of-town visitors to its drive-thru zoo.

RELATED: Lion Country named one of the world’s “Top 10 Savanna Exhibits”

The ranking placed Lion Country among A-list attractions, including the top-rated African Plains exhibit at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

JUST IN: Lion Country named one of the world’s “Top 10 Savanna Exhibits”

Lion Country Safari in western Palm Beach County has been named one the best “Savanna Exhibits” in the world, according to a ranking released this week by Zoo Nation.

The list features the top 10 places in the world to view African wildlife outside of Africa. Lion Country, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, took the 10th spot on Zoo Nation’s list — a ranking it is using to help draw out-of-town visitors to its drive-through zoo.

RELATED: Lion Country Safari wins county tourism award

“Home to over 900 animals, Lion Country Safari is Florida’s only drive-through and walk-through Safari and was America’s first “cageless” zoo,” Zoo Nation said on its website. “With about five miles of road to drive on, visitors to the park get as close to African animals as you can get without touching them. With thrilling animals such as lions, rhinos, giraffes, and ostriches, driving through the savanna at Lion Country Safari will be sure to give visitors an incredible look at the beautiful animals of Africa.”

A young giraffe is seen at Lion Country Safari, which earned the county tourism award, the Providencia.
*
old: Nafari, which means “first-born” in Swahili, was born June 24 and is the first baby giraffe of the 2014 season at Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee, Florida. Nafari was born weighing 141.5 pounds and measured 70 inches tall. Lion Country Safari is a leader in giraffe breeding programs in North America with more than 60 giraffes births. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Other exhibits on the list include: Harambe Wildlife Preserve at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando; Serengeti Plain at Bush Gardens in Tampa; and the East African Savanna at  Chimelong Safari Park in Guangzhou, China.

But the top spot went to the African Plains exhibit at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Last month, Lion Country was named the 2017 winner of the county’s 2017 Providencia Award, beating out two other finalists for the coveted title.

The award is presented to an individual or organization that has a major impact on tourism.

The award is named after a Spanish ship that sank off the coast in the 1880s. The crew sold its cargo of coconuts to people who planted them along the waterfront. Ultimately, that’s how Palm Beach got its name.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wellington theater to offer FREE kids movies this summer

Paragon Theaters at the Mall at Wellington Green will offer FREE kids movies this summer.

The movies are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. and are available on a first come, first serve basis. The promotion begins on on June 13 and runs through August.

RELATED: New, luxury Wellington movie theater holds grand opening at mall

Movies include: Storks, Boxtrolls, Secret Life of Pets, Sing, Paranorman, The Lego Movie, Kubo, Pirates! Band of Misfits, and Curious George.

Here is the complete schedule: