Action Wildlife: A Photo Tour

Northwest Connecticut Wild Animal Park is Affordable Family Day Trip Destination

ct safari park

TripSavvy / Kim Knox Beckius 

A drive-through safari. Exotic animals including some on the brink of extinction. A petting zoo. A museum-quality collection of mounted animals ranging from cuddly forest critters to giants of the African savanna. Playgrounds. Indoor and outdoor waterfalls. Amazing photo opportunities. Action Wildlife in Goshen, CT, will blow away your expectations.

This 116-acre zoo and museum (here's a map of the property) affords opportunities to observe animal behavior and to marvel at the diversity of life on our planet. And, at $10 for adults, $8 for children 12 and under (as of 2018), Action Wildlife is one of Connecticut's best family entertainment bargains.

Admission fees cover only 25 percent of the non-profit Action Wildlife Foundation's operating costs: The facility is obviously founder Jim Mazzarelli's passion. You'll love sharing an animal adventure with your kids in an uncrowded setting. Visit Action Wildlife spring through fall.

Museum and Exploration Center

In 2008, a Museum and Exploration Center was added at Action Wildlife in Goshen, CT. Inside this enormous warehouse, located just inside the admission gate, visitors first encounter an assortment of live birds and reptiles, like this turtle.

Holy Watusi!

We weren't surprised to spy a fish tank when we reached the first floor of the museum at Action Wildlife, but we certainly weren't expecting to come face-to-face with an incredibly lifelike, long-horned Watusi cow: a preview of the displays that awaited.

Stuffed Turkey

The stuffed turkey at Action Wildlife is not the kind you'd serve on Thanksgiving day. It is one of a menagerie of brilliantly executed taxidermy animals in the museum's vast and diverse collection.

From a Raccoon...

How diverse is the array of animals brought to life by taxidermist Mike Maston? The amazingly alert-looking animals on display range from this everyday North American masked bandit, the raccoon... a White Rhino a White Rhino , an enormous creature from the grasslands of Africa. Action Wildlife founder Jim Mazzarelli hunted all but a handful of the animals on display in the museum. A White Rhino hunting license was $20,000, we were told, with no guarantees.

Bison Battle

Video footage of scenes observed in the wild aided in the creation of realistic dioramas, such as this battle between two American bison, inside the museum at Action Wildlife.

Please Don't Pet the Bears

Action Wildlife's displays reminded me of those at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC, only here in Connecticut, glass does not separate visitors from the animals, and even on a holiday weekend, there isn't a crowd. Still, touching is not allowed.

A Photographer's Dream

Because the taxidermy animals are not hidden behind glass, Action Wildlife is a photographer's dream, even when the subject is a not terribly photogenic creature like the warthog! As you'll see, I was able to capture neat live animal shots outdoors, too.

Reach Out and Touch That Snout

No, you can't touch the water buffalo's nose. But doesn't it look as though it would be warm and moist if you did? The taxidermy work at Action Wildlife is a marvel. Pelts, preserved in the field, are mounted on mannequins. Even the glass eyes look real.

Lions' Prey

Some of the dioramas, such as this scene of lions attacking a water buffalo, are admittedly a tad gruesome. But my 7-year-old, who'd seen something similar on Animal Planet, was unfazed. There are ample options for diverting younger children's gaze.

In the museum's last room, my daughter had the chance to touch an assortment of fur pelts—moose, bear, raccoon—and elephant skin, too, at an interactive station. By now, we were eager to hop in our car and continue our Action Wildlife animal safari.

Fallow Deer

White-spotted, graceful Fallow Deer are common in England, but they're not often seen in New England. Action Wildlife has successfully bred Fallow Deer, and a small herd can be observed as visitors begin their drive around this animal park in Goshen, CT.

Scimitar Oryx

The Scimitar Oryx only sounds like an animal invented by Dr. Seuss! Native to North Africa, the Scimitar Oryx is extinct in the wild, so the opportunity to see this curvy-horned antelope at Action Wildlife in Goshen, Connecticut, is a rare one, indeed.

Water Buffalo

The taxidermy water buffalo we saw inside the museum gave us a sense of this hulking creature's size. Viewing this live water buffalo on the grounds of Action Wildlife gave us a sense of this big bovine's sloppy eating habits!

Drive-Through Safari

Around the corner from the Watusi Cattle, the 50-acre drive-through wildlife safari is one of Action Wildlife's most unique attractions. As we circumnavigated this enclosed area, we kept our eyes peeled for llamas, emu and Japanese Sika Deer.

Hop Out and See the Animals Up Close

That's a face only a Mama Llama could love! When we entered Action Wildlife, we learned that one of the beauties of this zoo is that visitors can hop in and out of their cars safely at any point for a close-up view of both exotic and domestic animals.

Poitou Donkey

The shaggy Poitou Donkey , an ancient breed that originated in France's Poitou region, is an incredibly rare animal. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy lists the breed's status as "critical": Only 450 pure Poitous were known to exist as of 2005.

Head Into the Petting Zoo

The endangered and exotic animals at Action Wildlife are fascinating to observe, but who can resist baby farm animals? Not my family.

Making Friends

It's easy to make friends with the petting zoo sheep... if you have a bottle in your hand! When we visited, bottles of milk were $3 and small cups of grain $1. Be forewarned: The attendant likely won't have change. It's a bit of a ploy, I think.

Fun and Educational

For my little girl, feeding the baby sheep, kids and piglets was a highlight of our visit to Action Wildlife in Goshen, Connecticut. The animal park is a fun place to take kids of all ages, and school groups are welcome to plan educational outings, too.

A Scene from Disney

Deer aren't typically found in petting zoos, and the chance to feed this young fawn from our hands was like a scene from an animated Disney movie... only without singing birds flying around our heads.

A Playground for Little Tots

At Action Wildlife, there's a picnic area and playground for little kids under 6 near the petting zoo. Pack a picnic lunch, and you can easily make a day out of your visit to this wild animal park and safari in Northwest Connecticut.

A Work of Art

I've seen zebras in zoos before, but I only realized what a work of art the zebra is as I viewed the sole member of the species on view at Action Wildlife. For the first time, I noticed that the stripes on a zebra's mane align perfectly with its coat.

Don't Fence Me In

The Action Wildlife animals are penned in, but they all have plenty of space to roam inside their landscaped habitats. This horse wasn't going anywhere, but we did see a goat wander out into the road. We laughed when a staffer said, "That's Houdini."

Where the Buffalo Roam

The animals on display at Action Wildlife really do run the gamut from A to Z: American Bison to Zebu. The herd of bison (or buffalo) that call the wildlife park home can be seen from Route 4.

Larger Than Life

The American Bison is North America's largest living land animal, and, with my 80-200mm lens, I was able to gaze into the eyes of one of these majestic beasts. Action Wildlife's signage is sparse, but you can research animal facts online after your visit.

A Vigilant Elk

This American Elk kept careful watch on us as we observed her and even made a charge toward the fence at one point, causing me to reflexively grab my daughter's shoulder and pull her back from the elk enclosure.

A Mother's Instinct

I quickly realized that the elk's protective behavior mirrored my own. Mama elk was simply, instinctively ensuring the safety of her babies. I had never seen a baby elk. There's only one word to describe this bright-eyed calf: adorable.

A male elk, who I assume is the proud papa of this brood, looked on languidly while his offspring frolicked. American Elk shed their antlers annually. When you see how impressive a male elk's antlers can be, that's almost impossible to believe.

The Male of the Species

It's a natural instinct for elk and human moms to keep a sharp watch while their little ones play. I'll let you draw your own conclusions about whether the males of both species also share instinctive tendencies.

Goodbye Goats

We had to pull our 7-year-old daughter away from her new "friends," the Pygmy Goats, when we first visited their pen, so before we left Action Wildlife in Goshen, Connecticut, we drove back around and gave her a chance to say, "goodbye."

A Playground for Bigger Kids

Action Wildlife has a playground for bigger kids, too, back near the museum and gift shop, where shaded picnic tables are also available. With swings, slides, ride-on animals, a climbing wall and more, kids could easily spend an hour or more playing here.

Ride the Orange Snail

We thought gazing up at a rhino, touching elephant skin, beholding an Oryx, embarking on a safari, making friends with goats, bottle-feeding piglets, admiring a zebra and dodging a wary elk was enough for our girl. No. She had to ride the orange snail.

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The Action Wildlife Foundation offers fun for all! Be a part of our efforts to inspire and engage generations through a community-shared legacy of conservation, agriculture, and education. 

Boy with Calf

Park Admission 

Grain in a 

Souvenir bucket


Season Pass

10 am-5 pm Gate locks @ 6 pm

**Weather Permitting**


Action Wildlife Foundation is a Non-Profit, privately owned facility. We do not receive any government funding or grants. Any money that you pay in our park goes right back into our facility and helps us create for our animals. This includes admission, petting zoo, gift shop, and donations. Our animals appreciate every purchase.

About our Admission Pricing:

Action wildlife foundation public entrance 435 torrington rd, goshen ct 06756  .

Action Wildlife Foundation

Photo of Action Wildlife Foundation - Goshen, CT, US. Animal artwork on outside wall

Review Highlights

Sherry C.

“ Just right outside the museum, there are plenty of picnic tables and a large playground . ” in 2 reviews

Alison N.

“ The safari was closed when we went, but I really don't feel like it took away from our experience at all. ” in 3 reviews

Leslie S.

“ The petting zoo is great and you get an opportunity to get up close to some really well cared for animals. ” in 2 reviews

Location & Hours

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337 Torrington Rd

Goshen, CT 06756

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Photo of Sherry C.

Come here to spend a few hours with the family and walk through the property, you won't be disappointed. There's an impressive museum filled with wild animals, a learning room for kids to color with various interactive games, plus a cute gift shop with connectic sand which was my son's favorite. Just right outside the museum, there are plenty of picnic tables and a large playground. You can walk or drive to see all the animals they have onsite. Most people did a blend of both... Drive to a spot, park and walk. There are also pit stops along the trail for the kids to play, like sandpits and lookout spots. We had a great time with our kiddos. A gem to bring your kids to! We'll be back.

ct safari park

See all photos from Sherry C. for Action Wildlife Foundation

Photo of Ma A.

I was there on aug 8. I was very disappointed so expensive. half the animals were not out. no history stories about the animals (educationa) and the petting zoo was all goats and a sickly looking cow.

Photo of Noelle B.

Great attraction, poor execution. We will definitely go back, but be prepared for little to no direction on where to go, where to park, where to start, etc. There are a couple signs but not many. Animals are abundant and very close to you. Some include bison, goats, zebras, elk, cows, and more. Tips for your visit: 1. Bring Cash. We went on the weekend when you are supposed to be able to use credit/debit; the employee couldn't get it to work. Luckily we had enough on hand. 2. Buy Some Grain. The grain comes in a plastic container, $5 a piece. You don't need it because half of the animals eat hay, but for the full experience some go crazy for it. My 3 year old daughter loved feeding them. 3. Bring some bug spray. There are lots of flies, which is pretty typical for farms with large animals. One flew in my eye so beware. 4. Save the playground for last. After all the in and out of the car and excitement of the animals the playground is the perfect place to sit and refuel (lots of picnic tables under a large gazebo). The playground is nice, perhaps best for slightly older children as the climbing equipment is quite high. We loved it.

ct safari park

See all photos from Noelle B. for Action Wildlife Foundation

Photo of Regina C.

I visited here last week, and I am already looking forward to going back!! Such a beautifully landscaped property. And easy to either drive or walk around to see the animals. It is very well-maintained, clean, and picturesque. The animals all look happy and healthy. I loved spending the afternoon here with my 12-year-old granddaughter. Perfect place for us to spend time together (we ate a picnic lunch there that we had brought with us) . Can't say enough good things about this place

Photo of Brian W.

We took our 3yo daughter for their Country Christmas Something-or-other. Advertised to have rides, games, horse drawn carriage rides, food, smores, and petting zoo. Along with appearances by Santa and the Grinch. Tickets were $30 per person and no discounted price for kids. Oh and let's add a $5.00 parking fee for the privilege of using their pitch black gravel lot. We walked in to find they had a slightly smaller carousel that went about as fast as a salad spinner. Instead of music, they replaced it with the fun sounds of loud screeching. After four times around our ride was over. Lasting about :20secs, which we were fine with. They had a big carnival slide which was wet and stopped you at every level part. Food was at ballpark prices, games were also overly expensive. The horse drawn carriage ride was also down a muddy hill with no signage and no lighting. It carried what looked like eight people at a time, and a line that seemed like an hour wait. The petting zoo consisted of a few goats, and a small cow all corralled together in a 40 square foot pen. The whole experience was awful. What did we pay $30 per person for? Definitely seemed like a cash grab.

Photo of Gianna L.

The website says it's open on Sunday, so I drove here with my daughter (she was super excited) and the gates were shut & no answer on the phone. Super lame & uncool. The weather was overcast but certainly not raining. No reason it shouldn't have been open. Get it together guys. Btw - here is a pic of the blue sky to show it isn't raining. Booooo on you guys.

ct safari park

What a boring attraction. The petting zoo and museum are closed, guessing cause of this covid issue. But the fact you still get charged to see farm animals is ridiculous. I think zebras were the only odd animal. Charged by person, not even by vehicle. Horses, goats, boars, bison, cows, zebras, donkeys. That's the wildlife, there was no action. So signs or info. This will be fun for a very sheltered child. Not worth a trip not even worth stopping passing through town.

Photo of Cola J.

The attraction as a whole was okay it's something to do on a nice day to get out especially if you have kids. The safari part however was a complete let down . I drive a compact vehicle and the road was full of pot holes, huge rocks, and a lot of uneven terrain. I bottomed out multiple times and almost got stuck in a muddy area ....NOT OKAY. Had there been a warning sign or something letting people know there will be rough road ahead then I probably would have opted out of the safari area especially since we didn't see a single animal. Unless you drive an SUV or truck, I highly recommend avoiding the safari.

Photo of Ang R.

I am so disturbed by the condition of the animals and the place itself. The place looks abandoned l. The fences were sharp and dangerous for the animals. The animals looked malnourished and neglected. They have a goat with four horns two are suppose to grow downward... however they did not trim the properly and they are growing into the poor things face and its so deep that theres blood coming out and u can see the inside of it. Will never go back unless something is done. Im so disgusted. There was a lot of disturbing things these are just some examples.

ct safari park

This was my favorite place to bring my boys when young and it continues to be up there. They even celebrated a birthday there one year. The petting zoo is great and you get an opportunity to get up close to some really well cared for animals. Highly recommend it!

4 other reviews that are not currently recommended

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For your safety and to allow us to continue this amazing experience, we ask that you follow our rules listed here and given by the tour guides  before embarking on each adventure!


ONE TRUCK RUNNING: 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 3:00 PM daily.

TWO TRUCKS RUNNING: 11:00 AM, 11:30 AM, 1:00 PM, 1:30 PM, 3:00 PM, 3:30 PM

THREE TRUCKS RUNNING: 11:00 AM, 11:15 AM, 1:30, AM, 1:00 PM, 1:15 PM, 1:30 PM, 3:00 PM, 3:15 PM, and 3:30 PM 


Drive your own vehicle or sign up for a Safari Truck Tour! 

Safari Truck Tours are first come first serve sign-ups in the gift shop (must pay combo price).

Pre-booking only available for group reservations.

Welcome to our largest addition yet!

See over 100 animals of 25 species in our large open spaces at the Drive-Thru Safari. The Safari section is located just up the roa d from

Keys tone Safari's walk-thru par k.

 Please do NOT feed or interact with the Zebras, Blue Wildebeest, and Scimitar Horned Oryx. Any guest not following this rule will be escorted out of the park without refund. 

Safari Truck  Tours

-Our 1970s ex-military vehicles are outfitted with bull bars and undercarriage framing to protect our animals, and you!

-Our tour guides are not just drivers! They are well equipped and highly trained to handle any questions and any encounters with our wild animals. Education is important to us as it is to you - come prepared to  learn  about our animals from nose to tail!

-You will get up close and personal with over 100 wild animals on this hour long trek across 80 acres of Rolling Plains, Thick Fore sts and Deep Waters!


Safari Drive-Thru (Personal Car)

Gates close 45 minute before cl osing

Keystone Safari and it’s affiliates are not responsible for damages to any vehicle. Drivers assume all liability when entering the Drive-Thru section of the park.

Jeeps Are Welcome!

We are excited to share the gravel road with o ur friends

Enjoy our safari tour from the comfort of your Jeep

Rules For Jeeps

MUST have full doors, half doors, or tube doors

MUST have a full roof 

NO soft tops

Stay in the vehicle! Do not exit your vehicle or hang out of it

No outside animals of any kind

Speed Limit 2 MPH. Keep the animals safe

Animal List

Guanacos, Llamas, Miniature Donkeys, Highlander Cattle, Emu, Rhea,  Nilgai, Pere David’s Deer, Blue Wildebeest , Scimitar-Horned Oryx, Fallow Deer, American Bison, Yak, Common Eland, Turkey, Grant's Zebra, Water Buffalo, Elk and more!

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7 Wild Encounters in Connecticut

last updated: January 2024

By Traci L. Suppa We've got places in Connecticut where you can interact with animals of every order.

Mystic Aquarium

It’s one of the nation’s leading aquariums , with more than 300 marine life species and Arctic Coast—the largest outdoor beluga whale exhibit in the United States. Watch them through underwater viewing windows or during feeding and training sessions. Rescued harbor seals Bristol and Coral recently joined the belugas. Other exhibits at this Mystic favorite feature African penguins, alligators, frogs, seals and sea lions. Main Gallery habitats feature crowd-pleasing sharks, stingrays and jellyfish.

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk

This year, the aquarium symbolizes its 30th anniversary with the pearl—befitting, since Norwalk is the oystering capital of Connecticut. Expect celebratory special offers, events and displays throughout 2018. The new Journey with Jellies exhibit added exotic species to the largest jellyfish collection in New England, but don’t forget the sharks, seals, turtles and otters. In addition to animal-encounter programs, guests can participate in marine-life tours on Long Island Sound.

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Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo

Protecting endangered species is a key mission for this Bridgeport institution , which opened in the early 1920s and is the state’s only accredited zoo. Many of the 300 animals, such as the Siberian tigers and Brazilian ocelots, are threatened by extinction. Popular exhibits include the indoor rainforest, Alligator Alley and New England Farmyard. The newest, Pampas Plains, features South American species such as the vicuña and giant anteater. Save time to ride the indoor carousel.

Action Wildlife Foundation

You’ll forget you’re even in Connecticut as you embark on the Drive-thru Safari at this wildlife sanctuary in Goshen. The more than 350 exotic animals that live here—elk, zebra, ibex, red sheep and wild boars—come from North America, Africa, India, Asia and the Arctic, and many are endangered. Visit the petting zoo to feed the smaller animals, spend time in the museum and picnic area and take a hayride in the fall.

Burgis Brook Alpacas

Alpacas are rare outside of South America, but there are more than 50 Peruvian huacayas living on this farm in Canterbury. With whimsical names like El Futuro and Claribelle, many are happy to be petted. If owners Mark and Alisa aren’t out at a farmers market, they’ll tell you how the soft fleece turns into beautiful knitting yarn. Stop into The Crimp Farm Shop for yarns, hand knits, honey and garlic, all produced on-site.

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Stamford Museum & Nature Center

Nature, history and art come together in Stamford, where visitors enjoy the interactive nature center , planetarium, observatory and telescope, otter pond, trails and playground. Animal “meet and greets” featuring small exotic animals from around the world are a family favorite. Seasonal exhibits explore science, conservation and endangered species. Or plan a visit during one of their annual events such as Harvest Festival Weekend or the Farm Egg Hunt.

The Connecticut Audubon Society

The 19 sanctuaries stewarded by the state’s Audubon Society provide daily access to nature—to observe wildlife and go birdwatching, hike and learn from interpretative signage. Nature centers offering educational programs are located in Fairfield, Milford, and Pomfret. Some of the largest sanctuaries are Croft preserve in Goshen, Bafflin preserve in Pomfret and the newest—Deer Pond Farm in Sherman, with 835 acres of forest, meadow and wetlands.

Want to check in with some chickens, or gab with a goat? Find a farm open to the public. There are 400 chickens at Flamig Farm in West Simsbury, as well as a petting zoo with alpacas, cows, emus, goats, peacocks, potbellied pigs and sheep. At Fort Hill Farms in Thompson, meet cows and calves on guided tours, and sample fresh milk and ice cream.

Karabin Farms in Southington is a great place for a wagon ride to meet the cows, pigs, turkeys and chickens on-site. Creamery Brook Bison in Brooklyn runs monthly Bison Adventure Saturdays, giving wagon rides to the bison pasture.

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13 Best State Parks in Connecticut

Written by Shandley McMurray Updated Aug 4, 2022

As the third smallest state, Connecticut is far from large. What it lacks in size, however, this gorgeous region more than makes up for in natural beauty. From sparkling lakes to crashing waterfalls to sandy beaches, its most captivating wonders can be seen in its best state parks.

Whether you're looking for a coastal retreat, a forested spot for a hike, or a grassy meadow to enjoy a stream-side picnic, you're sure to find it (and so much more) in one of the 110 Connecticut State Parks.

Organic wonders are the main attractions in these parks, but they're also well maintained, and most include facilities (like toilets and concessions) that make it easier to spend a whole day enjoying the natural perks. Not ready to call it a day? No worries; many of Connecticut's state parks offer camping facilities for those who just can't bear to pack up and go home.

With so many parks to choose from, it can be tough to narrow your list. Decide which to visit first with our list of the best state parks in Connecticut.

1. Hammonasset Beach State Park, Madison

2. sleeping giant state park, hamden, 3. kent falls state park, kent, 4. lake waramaug state park, new preston, 5. lover's leap state park, new milford, 6. rocky neck state park, 7. devil's hopyard state park, east haddam, 8. macedonia brook state park, kent, 9. silver sands state park, milford, 10. harkness memorial state park, waterford, 11. bigelow hollow state park and nipmuck state forest, 12. sherwood island state park, 13. wadsworth falls state park, middletown, map of state parks in connecticut.

Empty beach at Hammonasset Beach State Park

Beach lovers flock to Hammonasset Beach State Park at all times of year, but it's the summer months when you'll find the shores really packed. Don't worry! At two miles in length, you'll find plenty of space to stretch out your towel and luxuriate under a beach umbrella.

The largest beach in the state , this beauty is also one of the best beaches in Connecticut . It's a hot spot for families, and you'll see people of all ages enjoying the calm water of the Long Island Sound. Whether you swim, kayak, paddle an SUP, or boat, you'll love spending a day at this pristine park.

Walk the trails, try your luck at fishing, and enjoy a picnic at one of the many tables provided. There are plenty of concessions available and clean facilities to use when nature calls. Be sure to schedule enough time to visit the park's fascinating Meigs Point Nature Center .

If you're hoping to camp overnight, you're in luck. This vast park is home to a large campground that's open from Memorial Day weekend through mid-October. It has a volleyball court, amphitheater, playground, and other fun activities on offer.

Sleeping Giant State Park

Named after the two miles of mountaintop that resemble a sleeping giant, this remarkable spot is by far one of the best state parks in Connecticut. Located across from Quinnipiac University, about eight miles north of New Haven , this is an optimal place to hike, rock climb, picnic, horseback ride, or cross-country ski.

Tower Trail is the park's most popular (and more moderate) path. It traverses 739 feet to the summit of Mount Carmel . Don't worry, it's set up in a zigzag format, so the climb isn't too taxing. That said, the path is laden with small pebble-like rocks, so it can get a bit slippery, especially upon your descent.

Your reward at the top is a visit to the stone observation tower, a regal spot to enjoy unsurpassed views of the surrounding countryside. This trail is just over three miles round trip, so expect it to take over an hour. Pack water if it's hot, and be prepared to encounter many other hikers if you're visiting on a summer weekend.

The other trails are steeper, so you may want to stick to the Tower path if you're not a fan of tricky hikes. Also, the map and trails aren't well labeled, so if you're worried about getting lost, it's best to stick to the wider Tower Trail.

Kent Falls State Park

Spending the day at Kent Falls State Park is one of the best things to do in Connecticut . A stress-relieving adventure awaits every visitor, whether they choose to gasp with delight at the covered bridge; feel the spray from the 250-foot Kent Falls ; or hike the trails through the deep, dark forest.

Set in the magical Litchfield Hills , this park is particularly spectacular to visit when the trees are abuzz with fall's most glamorous shades of red, yellow, and orange. If you're hoping to view the falls at their best, however, you'll want to arrive in early spring, after the winter snow has melted.

A quarter-mile hike along the Kent Falls Trail offers the best view in the park, so you really shouldn't miss it. Don't worry, it's steep, but easy. Be sure to bring a camera, it's one of the most beautiful places to photograph in Connecticut .

Bathrooms, grills, and picnic tables are available, and many offer optimal views of the falls.

Lake Waramaug State Park

Lake Waramaug State Park is one of the most captivating parks in the state. Located in Kent, it's easy to see why this is one of the best parks in Connecticut. Everything here revolves around its star: the shimmering Lake Waramaug .

A soft, sandy beach stretches along the shoreline near the park's main entrance, winding its way past picnic tables, canoe rentals, and a roped-off swimming area. With no tide and few ripples on the water, this is a perfect place to bring children.

Build a sandcastle, swim a few laps, fish, or paddle your way across the lake's surface. There are so many ways to enjoy this waterfront wonderland that it's impossible to be bored. Bathrooms and concessions are also on-site, which make it easy to spend a whole day enjoying the luscious surroundings. If you're hoping to stay longer, check in to the campground, which boasts 78 campsites, including a few cabin rentals.

Insider's tip: Visit during summer to enjoy the water-based activities and again in fall to gasp with delight at the magnificent display of colorful foliage reflected in the lake's calm surface.

1895 Berlin Iron Bridge in Lover's Leap State Park

Lover's Leap State Park is packed with 127 acres of scenery so dramatic, it will literally take your breath away. From steep rocky outcroppings to verdant forest to trickling streams, there's a lot to love in this New Milford haven.

Walk high above the Housatonic River on the captivating 1895 Berlin Iron Bridge, one of only five of its kind in Connecticut. Then, take Lover's Leap Trail . This easy walk climbs slightly to offer the most impressive view of Lake Lillinonah , one of the best lakes in Connecticut .

If you're up for a longer trek, the Waramaug Loop leads to the Old Factory Trails , which are home to the historic ruins of the Silex Factory .

The spectacular river gorge was made famous years before through an Indian Legend that inspired the park's name. Chief Waramaug's daughter, Princess Lillinonah apparently canoed into the "Great Falls" when her lover had not returned from a trip away. He arrived in time to see her in the rapids; however, he died when he leaped in the water to save her.

If you're hoping to get on the water, use the carry-in water or kayak access points to launch a boat.

Salt marsh in Rocky Neck State Park

A soft, sandy beach; salt marshes plush with creatures; and easy walking trails make Rocky Neck State Park one of the best parks in Connecticut for families. Pack binoculars, as you'll want to get a closer view of the multiple animals that call this 700-acre wonderland home. Whether you're a fan of birds, crabs, turtles, or coyotes, you're bound to spot something spectacular. Marsh-viewing platforms make it easy to spy unique waterfowl, and they provide easy access for fishing and crabbing.

A half-mile crescent of beach welcomes visitors who walk through a captivating tunnel to reach its pristine shore. Once you settle your toes into this luxurious spot, you won't want to leave, so be sure to pack snacks, water, and beach chairs.

Other popular areas include mountain biking trails and a marine estuary that bisects the park. This is where avid anglers and bird-watchers spend most of their time. If you truly can't tear yourself away, no worries.

Pitch your tent in the park's campground, it's one of the best places to go camping in Connecticut .

Waterfall in Devil's Hopyard State Park

Don't let the name fool you, there's nothing to be feared at Devil's Hopyard State Park. A place of serene beauty highlighted by a spectacular waterfall, this is one of the best state parks in Connecticut for many reasons. First, it boasts multiple hiking trails that traverse the diverse terrain. Second, you'll find a picturesque, covered bridge; exciting bird-watching sites; and many fishing opportunities.

Don't forget about that waterfall we mentioned earlier. This phenomenal cascade (a.k.a. Chapman Falls ) is one of the best waterfalls in Connecticut due to its dramatic rocks featuring circular holes. While legends claim these were caused by Satan (he was apparently angry about getting his tail wet and burned the holes), they were actually caused by rubbing due to the constant current.

The falls are easily reachable from the parking lot, although you really should opt for a longer stay that includes taking in some of the other trails and sites. Pack a picnic, polish your binoculars, and get ready to enjoy a peaceful day filled with impeccable scenery.

The park is also home to a campsite for those who'd like to prolong their stay.

A wooden bridge in Macedonia Brook State Park

It's easy to unwind in Macedonia Brook State Park. A 2,300-acre natural wonderland set a mere four miles from neighboring Kent, this vast expanse is bursting with forested trails, bubbling streams, and freshwater springs.

Plan to spend multiple hours here, as there is so much to see and do. Whether you're a fan of fishing, hiking, mountain climbing, biking, or cooling off in a refreshing stream, you'll hate to leave this nirvana.

Cook a meal on one of the park's many grills, grab a drink from the water taps, and eat under the shade of a picnic shelter. When it's time to "go," you can make use of one of the wooden outhouses sprinkled around the area.

While many believe summer to be the best time to visit, fall is unbeatable in terms of beauty. The park becomes blanketed in a kaleidoscope of nature's most vibrant colors; it is perfectly primed for stunning photos.

While you're in the neighborhood, be sure to visit nearby Bull's Bridg e, a gorgeous, 19 th -century wooden covered bridge that crosses the Housatonic River beside a crashing waterfall.

Picnic table at Silver Sands State Park

It's easy to feel like a professional photographer when you've got a spectacular background, and Silver Sands State park in Milford offers some pretty fantastic views. A popular spot for locals to stretch their legs, this pretty, half-mile waterfront park is lined with three quarters of a mile of picturesque boardwalk.

While many choose to swim or fish in the Long Island Sound, still more enjoy admiring the view during a quiet stroll along the lengthy boardwalk. A large area known as the "bath house complex" was recently erected on an elevated deck near the beach. This is where you'll find the concessions and bathrooms. It is connected to the main boardwalk by a short walkway that spreads across the tidal wetlands.

If you're planning a beach day, you may want to borrow a friend's buggy to haul your things along the boardwalk to the pebbly sand. It's a bit of a hike, but it's worth it!

Insider's tip: a "secret" path to nearby Charles Island reveals itself at low tide. It's worth a look, but be sure to head back before the tide comes in, as the currents are strong.

Path at Harkness Memorial State Park

Over 230 acres of sprawling, seaside gardens; vast lawns; and immaculate views greet visitors to Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford. The park's main attraction is Eolia , a grandiose stately home that once served as the summer residence of the Harkness family. You, too, can get a glimpse at how the other half lived in the mid-1900s by renting it out for an event.

A small beach hugs the Long Island Sound. While swimming isn't permitted here, anglers can feel free to cast a rod and aim for a haul of striped bass, bluefish, or blackfish off the nearby rocky point. That said, some have had luck catching flounder off the beach.

The lawns are lush and expansive, with picnic tables and grills dotted throughout, which means it's easy to have a picnic. The facilities are clean and much appreciated after an hour or more spent exploring the property. A sweet gift shop hut opens to sell sundries and other treats. There's also a campsite dedicated to those with special needs.

Bigelow Hollow State Park

When combined with the neighboring Nipmuck State Forest , Bigelow Hollow State Park sprawls across 9,000 acres. Its hiking trails traverse miles of shady woodlands so dense, you could easily become lost if you veered off the marked pathways. In winter, these are frequented by cross-country skiers and snowmobilers.

Hiking enthusiasts should opt for the Breakneck Pond Loop Trail . It covers six miles of moderate terrain and passes the beautiful Breakneck Pond on its route. Be sure to pack food and water, as this will take most of the day to complete, especially if you take breaks to admire the view.

Anglers will enjoy fishing in the 18-acre Bigelow Hollow Pond and 300-acre Mashapaug Pond. Breakneck Pond is another must-visit located in Nipmuck State Forest. If you like scuba diving, bring your gear and hop in to explore the deep, dark depth of the ponds. Or hop in a kayak for a paddle.

The park and forest have pit toilets, a backpack campsite, multiple picnic shelters, tables, and boat launches.

Sherwood Island State Park

Sherwood Island State Park is conveniently located just off the I-95 in Westport , one of the best beach towns in Connecticut . The first state park in the Nutmeg State, guests are treated to more than 230 acres of mainly beachfront, as well as large, wooded areas and multiple open fields.

Soft, golden sand escorts you to the clear water of the Long Island Sound. On hot summer days, you'll want to wear shoes on this journey. Swimming is encouraged, and the shallow water makes it especially fun for little ones. Many visitors fish off the rock embankments, while some prefer to try their luck just off the sandy shore.

The 9-11 Living Memorial sits at the end of the path outside the main concession area. On a clear day, you can see New York's skyline. The smoke from the tragedy was seen from this spot.

A large bathhouse lies farther along the beach and contains showers and toilets. A smaller concession stand is set up nearby to sell all the tasty beach treats you'd expect, like hot dogs and ice cream.

Other activities include scuba diving; kayaking; SUPing; and playing sports like soccer on the large, open grassy areas. An observation platform allows guests to view the unique life in the marsh, while model plane enthusiasts can fly their creations in a designated spot near the entrance.

Picnicking is a massive draw. On summer weekends, you'll find families setting up camp for the day, cooking on the provided grills, and playing games on the grass.

During summer, the Nature Center (located between East Beach and the salt marsh trail) is open to the public. It offers guided nature walks, activities for the kids, and bird-watching opportunities. There's also a disc golf course just outside its walls.

Wadsworth Falls State Park

Two breathtaking waterfalls greet visitors to Wadsworth Falls State Park. Aptly named Big Falls and Little Falls , their innate beauty and the calming rush of water is enough to soothe your soul. The Big Falls are one of the best waterfalls in Connecticut. They are easily reached by hiking trails and boast the highest volume of any dam-free waterfall in New England .

While you cannot swim or picnic at Big Falls, their smaller neighbor (Little Falls) comes complete with a natural saucer-shaped "swimming pool" and beach, which entice guests to stay for hours. Looking to fish? Dip your rod into the Coginchaug River , which is well stocked with fish.

Trails meander throughout the park, offering hikers and bikers a path through the dense woods. Designated picnic areas by the stream make it easy to enjoy a quiet picnic with a relaxing view.

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View over 40 species of animals and our animated dinosaurs...all from the comfort of your own vehicle! You'll be able to see animals roam freely on our gorgeous property.   Drive your vehicle on our maintained gravel road and see the animals and dinosaurs through your windows!  

Visit anytime between 9:30 AM and 4:00 PM...

Open 7 days a week, no reservations necessary!


*Pricing above is subject to change.

*Feed IS NOT included, subject to an additional charge.

Adults - $23.00 Seniors (65+) - $20.00 Children (3-12) - $17.00 Ages 2 and under - FREE

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Experience the self-guided Wildlife & Dinosaur Safari in your personal vehicle and see over 40 different species, as well as animated dinosaurs!  


OPEN AIR VEHICLES are NOT allowed.  Vehicles must have tops and solid doors to participate in the safari.

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Experience the guided Wildlife Safari on wagon and see over 40 different species!  Go off the path and get up close and personal with the animals! Have the opportunity to drive back through in your personal vehicle to see the Dinosaur Safari opening 6/15/24 as well! Reservations highly suggested!

Adults - $37.00 Seniors (65+) - $34.00 Children (3-12) - $31.00 Ages 2 and under - FREE

Available seasonally from Mid-March-October 1 Hour Experience 9:30, 10:45, 12:00, 1:45, 3:00- peak season 10:00, 12:00, 2:00- non-peak season


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Complete with a variety of small animals, kangaroos, and reptiles it is sure to be a memorable experience!


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Amazing experiences and hundreds of exciting new exotic animal friends await you in this 50-acre park!

Catoctin Wildlife Preserve welcomes you with natural ponds, lush landscaping, and wandering Ambass-zoo-dors, eager to indulge inquisitive guests.

Get curious about everything from bears to boas, macaws to monkeys, panthers to pythons, and alligators to zebra. See some of our featured animals here.

These amazing animals are our extended family and vital ambassadors for their species. Through our personal style of exhibits and education, we know that they will be your extended family too.

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Catoctin Wildlife Preserve is supported by the Global Wildlife Trust whose mission is dedicated to broadening human understanding of the animal world. This is achieved through immersion in naturalistic habitat recreations and educational programs using live animals and instructional tools both on-site at Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and through presentations in the greater community.

We strive to provide the highest level of competent care for its resident wildlife ambassadors and to support the conservation of their wild counterparts in unspoiled habitats. We are committed to this mission because we believe promoting harmonious coexistence of all species is our duty as stewards of the Earth.

“I wasn’t expecting this zoo to be as big as it was and to have as large and diverse a collection of animals as they had. If you’re looking for something fun and educational to do in the Catoctin area, this is an excellent option.”

“My wife and I have been to zoo’s all over the country and they have animals here big city zoo’s do not have!”

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“I hadn’t been to this zoo since I was a child, and boy had it changed! It is so much bigger, more animals and a safari ride!! (We had) awesome tour guides on our safari ride. Very knowledgeable about the animals. We will definitely return!”

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8 Campers Share Their Favorite Campgrounds in Connecticut

A forest trail in Macedonia Brook State Park, one of the top campgrounds in Connecticut

This article is brought to you by  Banner & Oak , a company with deep expertise in headwear. Their  trucker hats are the perfect addition to your next camping trip in Connecticut. 

For many New Englanders, the nature of Connecticut is often overlooked in comparison to the more rugged landscapes of Maine and Vermont. Despite the state’s smaller size and crowded urban areas,  Connecticut is full of natural beauty from its dense forests to its shimmering coastlines.  Check out our favorite campgrounds in CT from beach spots on the coast to the rolling hills of the Berkshires region.

The Top Campgrounds in Connecticut, According to The Dyrt Campers

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While Connecticut is small, campgrounds in CT can vary a lot depending on their location. The Nutmeg State’s terrain is classic New England: a mixture of rolling hills, forested valleys, scattered ponds and rocky beaches, all ideal for camping in CT . The Central River Valley—running north to south in the middle of the state—has state parks and other camping options along the Connecticut River. The Northwest Hills are considered the Berkshire Region and are home to a leg the Appalachian Trail.

Connecticut’s “Quiet Corner” in the northeast features many privately-owned campgrounds, farms, antique stores and two of the country’s oldest agricultural fairs; Woodstock and Brooklyn. The Southeastern Mystic region extends from the coast inland. Here campers will find ocean swimming, fishing, and boating as well as hiking and biking trails.

See New England’s Hidden Beauty from these Campgrounds in CT

1. west thompson lake campground  in north grosvenor dale, ct.

kayaking near the west thompson campgrounds in connecticut

Image from The Dyrt camper Cynthia K.

Nestled in the state’s more placid northeast corner near Massachusetts and Rhode Island, West Thompson Lake Campground is an excellent choice for those seeking campgrounds in CT with peace and quiet. This family-owned campsite on the shores of West Thompson Lake offers great opportunities for boating, paddling, and kayaking. Hundreds of bluebirds and cedar waxwing birds can be seen while paddling the river. Don’t come with your cooler though, as fishing in the park is all catch and release.

This campground has 22 campsites in all; half of which provide campers with water and electric hookups.

West Thompson Lake has a variety of amenities including clean showers and bathrooms on site, a basketball court, a amphitheater, and a playground. Many hiking trails are also accessible from the park. One of its best-known amenities though, is the 18-hole free disc golf course on the shores of West Thompson Lake.

“This part of CT is very rural and quiet, but there is a large grocery store less than 2 miles away for anything you need. And there’s Riverside Pizza less than a mile away, I highly recommend it!” — The Dyrt camper Cynthia K.

Prepare for your next adventure by downloading maps. The Dyrt PRO lets you download maps and campgrounds without cell service. “My alternative to using pro would be to drive back out to cell service”.

2. Kettletown State Park  in Southbury, CT

River with portion roped off as a swimming area surrounded by green forests and lawn.

Image from The Dyrt camper Taylor C.

Originally inhabited by the Pootatuck Indians, the area now known as Kettletown State Park played a key part in Connecticut’s early days. Visitors still find occasional arrowheads on the property, something not common at campgrounds in Connecticut.

Hike the trails of the early colonists, and take a dip in the the popular swimming hole in the warm months, all just 20 miles from New Haven. The campground has 56 sites, some of which include hookups. Kettletown also rents out a few basic cabins/shelters without kitchens or bathrooms.

“I love Kettletown, it’s a favorite that is very close to home. It’s a small camp ground and it’s absolutely beautiful. The bathrooms are always kept clean and stocked and there are a ton of watering spots.” — The Dyrt camper Taylor C.

3. Waters Edge Family Campground in Lebanon, CT

An RV sits in a spot at Water's Edge Family Campground, Connecticut

Image from The Dyrt camper Laura M.

A group- and pet-friendly campground, Water’s Edge Family Campground is located in Connecticut’s eastern rural spread. They offer community spaces like the “safari field” with its shared pavilion and fire pits and the dog park for canine guests.

The campground is centered around the Mathiew Pond, offering kayaking and fishing to campers. However, if you’re looking to take a dip, look for the campground’s private pool. Campers may also kayak and fish on the lake. The park offers amenties like free wifi and a stocked camp store.

The campground is open from mid-April to mid-October, a common season for most campgrounds in Connecticut. Seasonal campers make up most of the park, but weekend visitors are always welcome. Although close together, many of the sites are enclosed by beautiful tall trees which make them feel more secluded and uncrowded.

“Most of the campground has seasonal campers, but we never felt like we didn’t belong, which is my criticism of other campground like this. There is a little lake for fishing, kayaking and swimming if you like. The camp store is adequately supplied and they had just enough actives for the kids to be engaged. We will be back!” — The Dyrt camper Erin M.

4. Lone Oak Campsites  in East Canaan, CT

People hike along rocks on the side of a waterfall in the forest.

Image from The Dyrt camper Ashley A.

Camp beside the highest point in Connecticut at the luxurious Lone Oak Campground. This camp resort is equipped with two large swimming pools a whirlpool, a playground, and theme weekends offering different family-friendly activities and events throughout the season.

Nearby hiking trails provide access to climbable waterfalls or Bear Mountain .

The campsites are well-maintained, even late in the season. There are a variety of sites to chose from, and the campground is open to both tent campers and RVs.

A less rugged option, Lone Oak is the perfect campground in CT for those with kids who want to be able to experience nature while keeping the young ones entertained.

“I have gone to lone oak campsites for 32 years. We have gone as a family since I was a fetus. Tons of waterfalls in the area and the highest point in Connecticut. Stars can be seen well and tons of kind and friendly campers.”  —The Dyrt camper Ashley A.

5. Black Rock State Park  in Watertown, CT

campgrounds in connectictut's black rock state park

Image from The Dyrt camper Michelle B.

Black Rock State Park, set in the Western Highlands of Connecticut, is filled with wonderful hiking trails, great swimming, scenic CT camping, and a whole lot of Native American legend.

The name Black Rock comes from the early settlers mining graphite lead in the region. The resident tribes of the area included the Mohegan, Paugussett and Tunxis peoples. The park was given to the state of Connecticut in 1926 by Black Rock Forest, Inc., a citizen’s conservation and woodland preservation group.

The campgrounds have 78 sites available, all of them clean and spacious. Campers can choose between open field sites and wooded, more private ones. The best, most secluded sites are the ones in the back, right ring.

The hiking trails take you through the dense and scenic Mattatuck State Forest. Popular sites nearby include Leather Man Cave, Whitestone Cliffs, Tory’s Den, and Buttermilk Falls are all worth a visit.

“Very rewarding visit. Rangers and other campers were very friendly.  Lot of good hiking trails with a scenic view and waterfall to discover. Beach was nice, just a bit crowded. Definitely can’t wait to go again this year!” — The Dyrt camper Tanya B.

6. Macedonia Brook State Park  in Kent, CT

a river in macedonia brook state park

Image from The Dyrt camper Ford S.

Offering access to the Blue Trail across Cobble Mountain with views of both the Catskill and Taconic Mountains, Macedonia Brook State Park is a great fall foliage destination.  Macedonia Brook is the perfect campground in CT for avid hikers looking to summit a few mountains.

Macedonia Brook is within walking distance of the charming village of Kent making it easy to stock up on suppplies or go out for a morning coffee.

“Delighted to find this facility on our return trip from Maine to NC. We camped next to the brook and one couldn’t have had a much better experience! Had supper in nearby Kent which is a fantastic small village.” — The Dyrt camper Ford S.

7. White Pines Campsites  in Barkhamsted, CT

2 Boys stand in front of green unconventional tent structure in the woods.

Image from The Dyrt camper Bryan S.

Surrounded by lakes that dot the northwest corridor of Connecticut, White Pines Campsites is, like many campgrounds in CT, a perfect blend of luxury and roughing it.

White Pines, a privately-owned campground, is family and pet friendly. White Pines Campsites has 209 sites to choose from for tents and RVs, they also rent cabins with kitchenettes.

The grounds have a large pool, an arcade, family recreation areas, and a volleyball court. Campers can rent equipment at the recreation center including kayaks, ping pong tables, all variety of sports balls, board games,  and sets for badminton, whiffle ball, and croquet.

“I was there with my two sons on a cold, rainy weekend very early in the season – not many other campers. The sites are good size and seemed well laid out. The folks in the office/store were incredibly friendly and helpful. Looking forward to going back later in the season.” — The Dyrt camper Bryan S.

8. Rocky Neck State Park  in Niantic, CT

a connecticut beach on a clear, blue day

Image from The Dyrt camper Christy C.

Rocky Neck State Park, located on Connecticut’s Golden Coast, has a sandy beach, varied hiking and mountain biking trails, and salt marshes. Walk through an underground railroad tunnel to access the beach or take the road to the beach overlook for ocean views and crabbing for Blueshells.

Rocky Neck State Park is a great spot for summer camping in CT and offers 160 campsites including some along the coastline of Long Island Sound, so you can fall asleep to waves crashing.

“We had to walk under the railroad tracks through a tunnel to get to the beach. Interesting but still a nice feature and probably the main attraction here. The bath rooms were clean and up to date. Good for a night on our way to Rhode Island.” — The Dyrt camper Christy C.

This article is brought to you by  Banner & Oak

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Their  s napback trucker hats are the perfect addition to your next Connecticut camping trip.

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Vanessa Nirode

Vanessa is a writer, cyclist, and outdoor adventure lover based in New York City. In her spare time, she works as a tailor and pattern maker for television shows and movies.

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Explore 350 Acres of Drive-thru Safari

Drive-thru adventure, experience animals up close, we are open daily, unforgettable adventures await at the alabama safari park. learn more, attractions.

Interact with our animals safely from your vehicle while exploring our 350-acre drive-thru safari, on foot walking through our village walk-about, up close when feeding the giraffes on the giraffe tower, or during a special, behind-the-scenes encounter.

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Alabama Safari Park is devoted to wildlife conservation. We fulfill this mission by educating our visitors, caring for our resident animals and supporting conservation organizations. Learn more


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Dinosaur forest, eat and drink.

Don't forget to book your seats aboard a safari truck and see how many magnificent animals you can spot on your way!

We’re home to over 900 animals across 75 species, including Kent's only spectacled bears as well as giraffes, zebras, lions, tigers, gorillas, monkeys and more! Find out more about our incredible animals here .

Your ticket will help to fund not only the care of the animals here at Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve but will also support our overseas projects. Thanks to the generosity of visitors like you, we - in conjunction with The Aspinall Foundation (charity number 326567) - have released more than 75 gorillas back to the wild and our released gorillas have had over 35 wild births! In Indonesia, we have released 41 Javan gibbons, 14 Javan grizzled langurs and 125 Javan ebony langurs. The Indonesian primates have over 35 wild births. We have also transferred 8 black rhino from our Kent parks to Africa, who have produced 25 offspring between them. Find out more about our conservation work around the world.

Steel your nerves and discover the forest that time forgot as you explore the UK’s largest outdoor dinosaur exhibition, Dinosaur Forest , featuring all your favourite beasts.

We serve home cooked food made with fresh, locally sourced produce at our restaurants and cafes . You'll find family favourites at Basecamp Cafe, Italian inspired dishes at Babydoll's Wood Fired Pizza or dine in style at The Garden Room Restaurant & Bar.

Relax, unwind, and recharge with an overnight stay in one of our unique accommodations .

The BIG day out

Annual pass.

Go wild and enjoy the best value days out to two of Kent's most popular animal parks with our new Annual Pass.  Visit Howletts Wild Animal Park and Port Lympne Reserve as many times as you like in a year! 

Your next adventure awaits

Enjoy unforgettable short breaks with friends, family and loved ones. Stay as long as you like and even pick a different accommodation for each night! Choose additional experiences or just soak up the peace and quiet, recharge and reconnect.

Stay in our multi award-winning accommodation

There are so many amazing ways to stay at Port Lympne. Our award winning short breaks range from glamping to a luxurious 4* hotel , or a unique Treehouse stay . Set in this unique coastal location, with amazing views, surrounded by wildlife, it’s a short break you’ll never forget.

What’s more, all profits from the parks and short breaks go back into the conservation work of our partner charity, The Aspinall Foundation. So you can enjoy your stay, knowing that you are directly helping our conservation work.

Luxury Stays

Immerse yourself in the lives of the lion pride at Lion Lodge and explore the rest of the Reserve on your private golf buggy.

Tiger Lodge

Wake up in a tiger’s world, then head out in your own personal golf buggy to meet the rest of the animals in the 600 acre reserve.

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Be part of the pack and watch our wolves from your private viewing window. Then discover over 700 animals as you explore the reserve on your golf buggy.

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Rhino Lodge

Make friends with your wild neighbours and explore the reserve in your own personal golf buggy.

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Enjoy stunning views from your award winning self-catering treehouse suite and explore the 600 acre reserve on your own personal golf buggy.

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Mansion Hotel

Get away from it all with a stay at our 4* boutique hotel.

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Giraffe Cottage

A classic country retreat with a guided safari and a private chef!

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The Treetop Bubble

Immerse yourself in a luxury romantic retreat amongst the treetops, with 180 degree panoramic views. Includes your own personal golf buggy.

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Forest Hideaway

Exclusive hidden forest dens, for the ultimate romantic retreat. Includes a golf buggy to explore the reserve at your leisure.

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Hog Deer Creek

Stay in the wilds of Kent in your cosy shepherd’s hut. Explore the 600 acre reserve on your own private golf buggy.

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Glamping Stays

Unforgettable glamping getaway overlooking the spectacled bear habitat. Camp out under the stars and immerse yourself in an exciting safari experience.

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Giraffe Lodge

Camp out under the stars and immerse yourself in an exciting safari experience - right here in Kent!

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Put the fun back into camping without the need to pitch a tent at Pinewood, where you can sleep within roaring distance of lions!

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Pinewood - Shepherds Hut

Camp in style and comfort at Pinewood's Shepherd's Hut and fall asleep to the sound of the roaring lions!

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There's so much more to Port Lympne...

We’re not just an award-winning wild day out and we’re not just a charity with conservation at our heart. We take good care of our animals and good care of our guests, too! There’s nowhere in the world quite like Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve.

  • Book activities including animal encounters, keeper days and safari park tours
  • Have a party or host your next conference or event 
  • Book your next getaway
  • Get married at our award-winning wedding venue
  • Eat and drink

Fun family days out at Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve in Kent

What's on

ct safari park


Explore: dinosaur forest.

Steel your nerves as you journey through Dinosaur Forest !  Marvel at the tremendous T-Rex, stare at the Stegosaurus, feel the terror of the Pterodactyl, and delight at the sheer size of the diplodocus! Come face to face with prehistoric life-sized creatures in the UK’s largest dinosaur forest!

Dinosaur Forest at Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve in Kent

We’re not a zoo

  • Port Lympne Reserve is a breeding sanctuary for rare and endangered animals and wherever possible we aim to send animals born here to protected areas of their natural habitat where they can live free – just as they should be.
  • We always make sure that the animals come first, from enclosure design to diet, no expense is spared. We grow our own herbs and vegetables and source our meat from trustworthy suppliers.
  • We design our enclosures with the animals in mind, so there’s lots of natural foliage and furniture to provide shelter and camouflage.
  • We never lock our animals into viewing areas, so, just like in the wild, it may take some time to spot certain animals.
  • We do our best to provide a fantastic visitor experience, whilst not forgetting the primary reason we’re here – to ensure the survival of endangered animals.
TRIPADVISOR Wonderful Day Out An excellent place to visit - see the animals close up and enjoy excellent food at Baby Dolls restaurant. Friendly helpful staff everywhere around the huge park. The Safari ride is a must do. A great day out at a great price. Ken S. Written August 26, 2021
TRIPADVISOR Super Safari The reserve is large and offers a lovely day out. I highly recommend booking the safari as this was the best part of our visit. Amy Rogers. Written August 6, 2021
TRIPADVISOR An unbelievable experience We were all amazed at just how good this place is. We stayed in the hotel for two nights so got two full days in the park. Everything is so well organised and the safari drives are brilliant. You get to see so many animals close up. We have been to a South African safari and we saw more animals here than we did there. We were very luck with the weather which added to the experience. You have to give this place a try, you will love it and the kids will too. Gary F. Written October 6, 2020

How to get here

Port Lympne Reserve, Lympne (Nr Hythe), Kent, United Kingdom, CT21 4PD

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The Aspinall Foundation

Woman mauled by wolves while jogging at zoo, reports say

FILE -- A woman visiting a French safari park and zoo was injured after wolves attacked her...

(Gray News) - A woman visiting a French safari park and zoo was reportedly attacked by several wolves over the weekend.

According to multiple reports, a 37-year-old Paris woman was visiting the Thoiry Zoo Safari in France when she decided to go out jogging after spending the night at the lodge.

But the woman accidentally entered a safari zone Sunday morning that is usually only accessible by car.

French news outlets, including TF1 , reported, that the area has open spaces where animals, wolves and bears roam freely.

TFI reports that while the woman was running the wolves “pounced” on her as she was about 900 feet outside of the lodge.

The woman, whose name was not immediately released, sustained “serious” injuries and was bitten on the neck, calf and back.

“Luckily the medical staff intervened very quickly, and we were able to save this person,” CNN quoted the zoo’s CEO Christelle Bercheny from a press conference.

Bercheny added that there are signs posted at the zoo while noting that the animals may not be used to seeing humans.

The injured woman has since been stabilized at the hospital.

Zoo officials said its team has launched an investigation.

Copyright 2024 Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Connecticut News | 3 CT destinations make list of best spots for…

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Connecticut news | police identify victims of bristol pedestrian crash following second death, connecticut news, connecticut news | 3 ct destinations make list of best spots for summer solstice sunrise.

Escaping the heat at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, July 24, 2022, the sixth consecutive day temperatures in parts of Connecticut reached into the 90s. Photo by Cloe Poisson/Special to the Courant

A survey conducted by Mixbook of 3,000 respondents found that a few Connecticut locations made the list. The 2024 summer solstice is June 20.

Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison was 1st in Connecticut and 56th overall, thanks to its beautiful sunrise view over Long Island Sound, according to the survey. You can catch the spectacle on the beach or from the Meigs Point Nature Center.

Connecticut's largest shoreline park opened in 1920. Hammonasset has more than 2 miles of beaches, picnic areas, camping, biking, walking trails, Meig's Point Nature Center and more. More than a million people visit each year.

Next up was MIlford’s Silver Sands State Park at 100th, according to Mixbook. Its boardwalks and beaches provide stunning views of the sunrise coupled with scenic Charles Island.

The last CT location to make the list was Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden. According to the survey, “The view from the tower on the summit provides a panoramic vista of the surrounding area, making it a perfect spot for sunrise watching.”

Hamden's Sleeping Giant State Park offers some of the best views of Connecticut - and is a must for hikers.

Nevada’s Lake Tahoe took the number one spot nationally, per Mixbook. Its eastern shore, particularly around Sand Harbor, makes for a beautiful destination to catch the sunrise against the clear blue waters and surrounding mountains.

Here is the full top ten, according to Mixbook:

  • Lake Tahoe, Nevada “The top pick across the country was the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe. In particular around Sand Harbor, it provides beautiful sunrise views over the clear blue waters and surrounding mountains.”
  • Arches National Park, Utah “Taking the runner’s up spot, the Delicate Arch and Windows Section offer spectacular sunrise views with the unique red rock formations creating a dramatic backdrop. The morning light enhances the vibrant colors of the arches and surrounding landscape.”
  • Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona “Perhaps unsurprisingly, the world famous Grand Canyon emerged as one of the most sought after destinations. The South Rim, particularly at Mather Point or Yaki Point, offers breathtaking sunrise views over the vast and colorful canyon.”
  • Stone Mountain Park, Georgia “Just outside Atlanta, the summit of Stone Mountain offers panoramic views of the surrounding area. Watching the sunrise from here provides a stunning perspective of the city and the natural landscape.”
  • Key West, Florida “The southernmost point in the continental U.S., Key West offers stunning sunrise views over the Atlantic Ocean. The White Street Pier is a particularly popular spot to catch the first light of the day.”
  • Everglades National Park, Florida “Known for its stunning natural beauty, the Everglades offers unique sunrise views at the Pa-hay-okee Overlook. This spot provides expansive vistas of the vast sawgrass marshes, creating a distinctive sunrise experience.”
  • Adirondack Mountains, New York “The High Peaks region offers breathtaking sunrise views from various summits. Mount Marcy, the highest point in New York, provides a particularly spectacular vantage point, but easier hikes like Cascade Mountain also offer stunning vistas.”
  • Sedona, Arizona “In 8th place came Sedona. With its iconic red rock formations, spots like Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock provide magnificent sunrise vistas.”
  • Maroon Bells, Colorado “Near Aspen, the Maroon Bells are two of the most photographed mountains in North America. The view of the sunrise over Maroon Lake with the peaks in the background is truly iconic.”
  • Cannon Beach, Oregon “And rounding up the top 10 came Cannon Beach on Oregon’s beach. Located on the northern Oregon coast, Cannon Beach, in 3rd place overall, offers beautiful sunrise views over the Pacific Ocean. The iconic Haystack Rock provides a striking silhouette against the morning sky.”

“Experiencing the Summer Solstice sunrise marks new beginnings and invites us to appreciate life’s beauty. We hope this list inspires you to start summer with a moment of appreciation for the world around us,” says Leslie Albertson, Head of Brand at Mixbook.

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Six Flags opens its first luxury hotel, which features daily giraffe feedings at safari-themed park

Zoo giraffes feeding

Giraffe encounters on an elevated walkway. The roar of nearby lions from a private veranda. Early morning game drives with elephants and rhinos. These experiences, typically reserved for safaris across the vast African continent, will soon be found at an amusement park in New Jersey, which also offers access to the world’s tallest roller coaster.

Six Flags Entertainment Corp.  is venturing into luxury hospitality, with a 20-room safari hotel slated to open on June 14. Located just 15 miles from New York City, inside the safari park at Six Flags Great Adventure, the  Savannah Sunset Resort & Spa  will perch guests above Ankole cattle, wildebeests and black bears that roam the property’s 350-acre African-themed expanse.

The company’s first foray into luxury hotels comes amid its planned  $1.88 billion acquisition  by  Cedar Fair LP , which owns 17 theme parks and 11 hotels, including Carowinds outside Charlotte and Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. 

Stays at Savannah Sunset begin at $599 per night during the summer season—with a two-night minimum—which puts it within range of some of Walt Disney World’s most high-end hotels. Here, that will include modern conveniences such as avocado toast and Starbucks chai lattes delivered to your canvas tent for breakfast, as well as tickets to Six Flags’ parks.

That adds to the attractions already bringing thrill-seekers to this corner of New Jersey, where Six Flags operates 510 acres filled with 14 hair-raising roller coasters, the Hurricane Harbor water park and the aforementioned Wild Safari Adventure. At the latter, guests are taken on 45-minute game drives to see 1,200 animals from six continents. While Six Flags does not release data for visitation to its individual parks, research from AECOM tracking attendance at global attractions shows that the New Jersey complex welcomed a record 3.5 million guests in 2019; in 2022, the most recent year for which AECOM data are available, that number was more than 2.1 million. 

The new hotel is a way to leverage the existing safari park for longer and more expensive stays, which in turn would drive spending in the rest of the parks. While the suites are modeled after the camps in, say, Botswana’s Okavango Delta or  Tanzania’s Serengeti , the layouts feature kitchenettes and Keurig coffee machines to cater to American families.

“We needed to really deliver things that were special,” says Edithann Velez Ramey, chief marketing officer at Six Flags.

A Company in Transition

Six Flags’ expansion into hotels comes at a critical time. This year  a survey of 3,491 US-based travelers  by Bloomberg Intelligence showed that more than half planned to visit theme parks for trips of at least three days, the second-most-popular vacation choice, after all-inclusive resorts. 

Courting visitors for multiple days is an advantage that such companies as  Walt Disney Co.  and  Comcast Corp. ’s Universal have long held over Six Flags, which has historically been focused almost exclusively on day guests. The gap has only widened, as Universal Orlando Resort readies a trio of new hotels around the 2025 debut of its Epic Universe theme park, and Disney continues to refurbish and launch new accommodations for its loyal Disney Vacation Club members.

Until now, Six Flags has operated just one hotel:  Great Escape Lodge , with 200 Adirondack-themed rooms surrounding an indoor water park in Queensbury, New York. Rooms start around $340 per night during prime summer weekends. 

The decision to experiment with luxury lodging was spurred by Chief Executive Officer Selim Bassoul, who took the helm in late 2021. It’s his most ambitious move as he shepherds the company ahead of its merger. (The close is expected to take place by the end of June, though some analysts and antitrust experts anticipate regulatory delays.) 

Marketing chief Ramey says the glamping concept was part of a strategy that encourages higher spending. The question Bassoul was asking, she says, is “How do we do things that allow us to elevate the price—and, by extension, revenues and profit?” 

In lieu of competing with Florida’s destination parks by building more attractions, Six Flags is using its proximity to the New York metro area as an advantage. Offering safari-like accommodations without a trip to the airport is unique, but as a one-off hotel, it’s a big idea that speaks to Six Flags’ current performance gaps. According to research by Bloomberg Intelligence, the company’s cash generation dropped in 2023 as per-person park spending decreased to $64 from $66, all while attendance remained lower than expected. Across all its 27 parks nationwide, Six Flags saw 22.2 million visitors last year—still far shy of 2019’s 32.8 million. 

What to Expect From a Six Flags Safari Stay

Savannah Sunset Resort & Spa is loaded with intriguing features and amenities—and also a heavy handful of contradictions. 

Nowhere else in the Northeast can you find rooms outfitted with genuine, handcrafted African wood furniture and vast savannah views. Daily giraffe feedings, made available exclusively to hotel guests, are the kind of thing some people associate with a bucket-list trip to Nairobi. An on-site restaurant, Mahaba Grill, will serve breakfast and dinner. Entrees, such as lobster ravioli or slow-roasted short rib, cost from $25 to $40. An on-site spa offers deep-tissue massages with a wooden African rungu stick. 

Each stay includes park admission, private transportation to the parks and expedited skip-the-line access on roller coasters and waterslides. Guests at Disney’s $300-a-night  Animal Kingdom Lodge , which claims the largest African wine list outside the continent and provides in-room views of animals roaming nearby, have to pay extra for such perks.

But there are significant challenges. Savannah Sunset requires all guests to be age 5 or older—a serious caveat for families with animal-loving preschoolers—and a restriction that’s almost impossible to find anywhere online. 

Six Flags also has to build this new business without the help of its most core demographic: Most of its guests are local and arrive with season passes in hand, which means they don’t need a hotel. 

This location is also the only Six Flag theme park that includes a safari park, so it’s unclear if this strategy can expand. 

And then there’s the issue that Savannah Sunset’s most senior staff have little experience with luxury hotels. In charge is Elizabeth Bransky-Cannata, who most recently served as traveling interim general manager for Holiday Inn Club Vacations locations. 

She’ll need to establish the hotel as a must-visit locale quickly, given its short seasonality. Six Flags Great Adventure is only open daily in summer (meaning, until Labor Day), and the hotel will be open only on select dates in the offseason. That’s a logistical issue that neither Disney nor Universal, which benefit from sunny Florida weather year-round, has to contend with at their resorts. 

Despite those caveats, Six Flags still sees enormous opportunity. 

“It’s one of our biggest, largest properties, so we knew we wanted to invest,” says Ramey. “And we’re thrilled that it’s happening in New Jersey.” 

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    Alabama Safari Park is set on 350 acres and features animals from all over the world - from Australia to Uganda - including giraffes and llamas. Go Behind the Scenes With Our Animal Encounters. Weekend Wagon Rides. X. Weather: 84° Time open: 9 am - 5 pm, Last Car Accepted at 4 pm; Contact: 334-288-2105 ;

  23. Port Lympne Safari Park, Wild Animal Reserve & Hotel

    A truly incredible safari experience. Visit Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve for an unforgettable safari experience set against hundreds of acres of stunning Kentish savannah. There's never been a better time to visit Port Lympne. Bring your family to meet our family! View all tickets and season passes.

  24. Woman mauled by wolves while jogging at zoo, reports say

    A woman visiting a safari park and zoo was reportedly attacked by several wolves over the weekend. ... Rocky Hill, CT 06067 (860) 728-3333; FCC Applications. Public File.

  25. CT destinations named best spots for summer solstice sunrise

    Escaping the heat at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, July 24, 2022, the sixth consecutive day temperatures in parts of Connecticut reached into the 90s.

  26. Six Flags opens its first luxury hotel, which features daily giraffe

    Six Flags Entertainment Corp. is venturing into luxury hospitality, with a 20-room safari hotel slated to open on June 14.Located just 15 miles from New York City, inside the safari park at Six ...