Family trip: Lion Country Safari

By Jill Martin

Sure, there’s plenty of wildlife in Florida, but have you ever viewed a giraffe from the comfort of your car?

You won’t find big screens or bags of popcorn at these drive-ins, but they're action-packed and provide lots of entertainment. Silence your cell phone and enjoy the show at these drive-through zoos in Florida.

1. J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island

Sunbathing gators, green herons, white ibis and a crocodile call this four-mile Wildlife Drive home. Roseate spoonbills can be found here year-round.

2. Lion Country Safari, West Palm Beach

Florida’s only drive-through safari boasts 800-plus animals, including wildebeests, rhinos and the world’s largest herd of captive zebras. But the giraffes steal the show at Lion Country Safari.

3. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Titusville

Amazing wildlife viewing is easy with the self-guided map that lists numbered stops along Black Point Drive. See gators, otters, turtles and hundreds of bird species, including eagles.

4. St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, near Tallahassee

Rated five stars by birders, this seven-mile drive through zoo takes you past pinelands and salt marshes to Florida’s second-oldest lighthouse. Look for black bears, turkeys, deer and whooping cranes.

6. Wild Florida, Kenansville

Features more than 200 animals, including exotics like zebras, sloths, lemurs and Watusi, and a walk-in bird aviary with pheasants, parrots and other birds from all over the world. Also: airboat tours, a drive-through safari park and animal shows.

Video tour of St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge