OUR VIEW: People want to help the Wild Animal Safari. The best way to help is to buy tickets when it reopens

Published 1:35 pm Monday, April 3, 2023

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Anyone who has spent time in this community has probably been to the Wild Animal Safari for a day of fun. There’s nothing quite like having a giraffe stick its neck through your window or seeing a zebra run up to one of the striped buses with its mouth wide open, begging someone to feed it.

People of all ages enjoy trips to the safari, including many on our staff.

So seeing it like we did Friday was heartbreaking. And we didn’t even see the initial scene, just the work remaining after almost a week of cleaning debris.

On Friday, cleanup efforts continued. Workers were all over the place, cutting up trees, fixing fencing and repairing buildings.

Last week’s tornado really did a number on the property, and worst of all, five animals died in the twister too. Several others had minor injuries, but the safari quickly had a veterinarian from Zoo Atlanta come to the park to check over the animals. They’re all doing good, including the now world-famous tigers.

As of this writing, it’s unknown exactly when the park will reopen, but it will be a staggered start where the drive-through will open, then the walkabout and finally everything.

Whenever the initial opening day comes, we imagine the Wild Animal Safari will be packed. The animals will be happy, and the guests will be glad to be back having fun.

Those first few days will be extremely busy, but it’s the days, weeks and months that follow that will be important.

This is a safari in the entertainment business that is losing its busiest week of the year, Spring Break. That’s a lot of revenue down the toilet thanks to the poor timing of Mother Nature.

People keep asking how they can help. Well, it’s simple, really.

Cleanup efforts are well under control. The response has been enormous.

What they need more than anything are crowds and ticket sales. It’s hard — impossible even — to replace a park full of students out for Spring Break. But over the course of the next few months, the park doesn’t need any slow days. It needs support.

It’s clear a tornado isn’t going to deter the safari from coming back stronger than ever, and it’s not going anywhere. In fact, the safari is adding new exhibits in the next few months.

If you want to show your support, then do it by buying a ticket or an annual pass. Buy some animal food. Buy a souvenir. Take pictures and have a great time. Then, tell a friend, and encourage them to do the same.

And if you’re reading this from another part of the country due to the tiger story going nationwide, we encourage you to do the same. Plan a trip to the LaGrange area. We have enough to keep you busy for several days.

The animal safari has been through a lot, and over the years, it has brought visitors to our area from all over the place. That has benefitted all of us.

Now, it’s time for us to really ramp up our support as it rebounds from a really difficult week.