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“Don’t wash the car!”

Cherokee Trace Drive-Thru Safari
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: This 300 Acre Drive-Thru Safari Park features over 25 exotic species from around the world in an open range environment all from the comfort of your car !
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities
Reviewed 4 May 2018

Getting there involved some back roads. At a few intersections near the Safari are signs. The road in front of the Safari is paved, but barely. It’s not a two lane road, but more a 1.5 lane road. They have a big sign at the entrance from FM 4405, so it’s hard to miss.

A few tips before you go:

* Don’t wash the car. The road through the safari is all East Texas red dirt. If it hasn’t rained, it will be dusty.
* Don’t take a low-rider car. There are gullies in the road. Low cars will scrape.
* Take some wipes. The cattle like to stick their head in the car and they drool. Their breath is pretty bad too.
* Make sure you have time to go through it. Once you start, you’re not getting out quick.

You start by parking your car and going inside. There you pay for the admission, buy some extra food, and they have bathrooms. I suggest you go now, as the trail is longer than others I’ve been on. They give you a sheet with animal info (you keep), and window tag and a laminated sheet with names and pictures of the animals you will see (they want these returned). Next you start your adventure.

The animals know what’s what, so you’ll get approached for food rather quickly. Keep the bag out of reach. We saw a car in front of us lose their bag to an antelope. The donkey’s, deer, and antelope are the most common ones that you will see up close and personal. Don’t give away all your food too quickly, or you’ll get ignored by some other animals further in the safari. Animals such as the rhea, zebras, highland cattle, and the bison. There’s even a group of ducks and geese that have figured out how to get food.

I wondered if the hungry animals would all be at the beginning of the safari and further on in, they wouldn’t approach you because they weren’t hungry. I was wrong. They seem to all be hungry and never full.

There are signs at the ¼, ½, and ¾ points in the trail, so you can pace yourself when giving out the food. At one point in the trail is a stop where you can get back to the shop if you need a bathroom break or want to buy more food, but we didn’t take it.

Although they do advertise and have kangaroos and capybara, both are in a cage and can’t approach the car. You’ll only see them at a distance.

The trail can’t be rushed. There are a few places you can physically pass another slower car in front of you, but usually you can’t because the animals are in the road and not afraid of cars. At one point a minor traffic jam occurred because an adult buffalo was standing on the one lane bridge separating two sections of the trail and didn’t feel like moving. I suspect this is the reason why several areas are posted no feeding zones.

Other delays are waiting for a section of road to clear, both of other cars and animals. There are some sections I really didn’t want to stop on. Some of the trail is rather steep, both up and down. I remember looking down one section of road and thinking to myself, “That’s steeper than most roller coaster drops.”

We got there a little before 2:40 and were leaving at abourt 4:20. There weren’t a lot of cars there, so at busier times it will probably take longer to go through.

2  Thank tapathos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a ReviewReviews (153)
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"feed the animals"
in 17 reviews
"stick their heads"
in 6 reviews
"welcome center"
in 6 reviews
"red dirt"
in 3 reviews
"drive through"
in 3 reviews
"bathroom break"
in 2 reviews
"extra bags"
in 2 reviews
"follow the rules"
in 2 reviews
"two hours"
in 8 reviews
"exotic animals"
in 4 reviews
"pack a lunch"
in 3 reviews
"car window"
in 2 reviews
"great gift shop"
in 3 reviews
"great pictures"
in 3 reviews
"highland cattle"
in 2 reviews
"concession stand"
in 2 reviews
"fun place to visit"
in 2 reviews
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9 - 13 of 153 reviews

Reviewed 24 April 2018 via mobile

I had heard of the "drive thru zoo" a couple of years ago and was never able to go, until this passed April 22, 2018... it was THE perfect day to go. the staff were very friendly and helpful. I will say though just a couple bags of feed won't be enough, lol. I ended up getting 8 bags for my drive thru, mainly due to the zebras and the camel stealing the bags out of my car lol! make it a point to check the weather before you go. I had heard and was also told by the staff that as it gets hotter the animals tend to stay where the shade is and are not as active. money well spent!!!

1  Thank Lorrissa S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 April 2018 via mobile

I was in Tyler for business and asked what I should see I the area and was told to visit this, even though it was a little out of the way for me. I am so glad I did! It was so much fun for my wife and I to drive through and meet some new furry friends. Follow the rules, but take your time and have fun and you will have a great time! I would absolutely go back if ever I get the chance. My only regret is we did not see the camel or capybaras.

1  Thank Dustin H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 March 2018

This turned out to be the high light of our spring break vacation. The animals are eager to gather around if you drop a few morsels of food lol. Many of them will stick their head through your vehicle window to steal a little food, especially the Camels. Young children might be a little anxious but we had children 10 and 11 years of age with us. They are still talking about this experience.

2  Thank p5hobbs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 3 March 2018 via mobile

This was our 5th trip & we will definitely be back! There are so many neat animals to see & feed. It's just a great experience overall. Recommended for kids & adults.

1  Thank Kristy F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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