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1 TANK TRIPS: A slobbery encounter in the safari

Camels, donkeys, gators galore

JACKSONVILLE, Texas (KETK) - Click the video to take a ride through the Cherokee Trace Drive Thru safari! This place has more than 300 acres of land and more than 700 different animals that we'll be feeding. So go ahead and buckle up and here we go!

It didn't take long for us to start laughing and having a good time. Our producer, meteorologist, and intern were along for the ride.

"I used to come to these drive thru safaris as a kid and I still remember them to this day," Kendall Serman, producer, said.

The drive thru safari takes you down a dirt trail where you're met by hungry mouths, dirty noses, big teeth, and big horns.


"It's just God's creation, it's beautiful out there," Melissa Paddock, guest services manager, said. "The animals are friendly, they're exotic." 

There is a huge variety of animals you'll find.

"Animals really have a personality, and they connect with people."

From feeding the gators and seeing them lurk, to feeding sweet zebras from your hand.

"You get to see a lot of different animals, they come right up to you."

There's some pretty gross things and some elements of surprise too. Possibly the biggest star of the safari is Rupert the camel.

"He will stick his head inside the vehicle and take the feed. If he can't get your feed he'll take whatever else he can find."

The average tour through the safari takes about two hours. Plenty of time to experience memorable moments.

"While they're in the car and going through, take pictures and video it. There's so many funny things that go on out there, I mean I could go on and on."

The Cherokee Trace Drive Thru Safari is fun and affordable. It's a little bit more expensive than a movie ticket. But this ticket is a full day pass through the safari with picnic areas too. For prices and times the safari is open, check out there website here. They say it's best to call ahead of time to make sure the trails are open. Sometimes due to lots of rain they have to close. A big thank you to Melissa Paddock for allowing our KETK crew to come out!

This is part of our 5 part series called "One Tank Trips." We chose five different places in East Texas that you can travel to on one tank of gas for some affordable, fun, and unique road trips for families, friends, or as a couple's retreat. Here are the links to those other stories:

The Jefferson Hotel

The Texas State Railroad

Sailing in the Swamps

The Ranch at Pine Mountain


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