For those of us who still miss Sea World in Aurora, Kalahari Resorts’ Safari Adventure Park in Sandusky now offers a chance to meet and interact with some amazing creatures of the sea.
The Stingray Exhibit opened July 25 with a 6,000-gallon saltwater tank being the new home for a dozen cownose rays, which were flown in from Florida. These gentle stingrays are related to the shark family and are found in the Atlantic Ocean along the west coast of Africa.
Cownose rays get their name from their unusual foreheads, which resemble the nose of a cow. They are playful ocean creatures known for being strong swimmers and migrating long distances.
Visitors can get into the water with these amazing creatures, along with trained staff members who monitor and maintain the exhibit and watch out for visitors’ safety. Don’t worry about getting stung; the rays have been de-barbed. However, visitors don’t have to enter the water to enjoy this exhibit; the rays will eat shrimp right out of your hand, or you can just watch their grace and beauty as they glide along.
“This is a rare opportunity to connect with ocean life,” said Brian Shanle of Kalahari Resorts. “Stingrays are such remarkable creatures, especially up close.”
The stingrays join more than 400 exotic animals who call Kalahari home, and visitors can interact with all of them. The park is now an official zoo, having been accredited in 2011 by the Zoological Association of America.
Tall, stately giraffes will nibble carrots out of your hand, or even lean in through an open window to munch breakfast over your shoulder. Guests are provided a bucket of fruit and vegetables as the Barbary sheep rush over to greet visitors and of course, beg for food.
You can also visit with kangaroos, Zebu cattle, antelopes, warthogs, cavies and ring-tailed lemurs. They all gather eagerly awaiting treats from visitors. There’s a parakeet exhibit, where the beautiful birds land on a handheld stick. Nearby, the camel stands at attention waiting for riders, a thrill for both kids and adults.
The Kalahari Adventure Park offers programs for children, including the popular Junior Zookeeper Program in which young guests can spend the day with zookeepers, caring for the animals, preparing their food and learning about these exotic creatures throughout the day.
The Safari Outdoor Adventure Park also offers a zip-line tour, a ropes course, climbing walls and many other outdoor adventures. You don’t have to be a resort guest to enjoy the adventure park, although resort guests do get a break in the price. Cost for all of the adventures is $24.95, with resort guests paying only $19.95.
Kalahari Resorts features the largest indoor water park in the country. Learn to surf, ride on an uphill water coaster or swim in the wave pool. There’s a water slide for every size from toddler to adult, and a lazy river to relax in between. The Kalahari Spa is a real treat for the adults in the party.
The resort’s 800 themed rooms and restaurants will take you on a getaway to Africa, without the long plane ride. As you enter the lobby you will see life-size rhino, elephant and lion sculptures, and a live lion or tiger cub will greet you and pose for pictures.
Kalahari recently added two Ny-um-ba luxury villas to the resort. These five-bedroom villas are great for family reunions, corporate meetings and seminars, or friend getaways, featuring an indoor hot tub and outdoor living area. All of the resort facilities are available for villa guests.
For more information call 877-525-2427, or visit www.kalahariresorts.com.