For 2007, the Safari Hospitality Center area got a makeover, becoming the Safari Exploration Station, further emphasizing the educational aspect of the Wild Safari. This makeover included several new animal encounters and informational displays to supplement the existing food, retail and services.
For the 2007 season, improvements and upgrades were made to what was
formerly the Safari Hospitality Center, and it was transformed into the
Wild Safari Exploration Station. The area was revitalized
with fresh paint and landscaping.
The Safari Exploration Station became an attraction included as part of the Wild Safari admission, or as an upcharge for those who did not purchase Safari tickets.
An important part of this renovation was the re-alignment of the park's entrance roads, and the re-direction of the Safari entrance. Traffic going through the Safari branched off from the theme park traffic, and the access to the Safari Exploration Station was limited to those who had already toured the Safari.
The colorful new makeover and the addition of more educational exhibits as part of the Exploration Station were coupled with the Safari being open weekdays in spring before the Theme Park began full time operations. This was all part of an effort to try and bring additional school groups to the park and help extend the season further.
|A new food stand was added called "Rip's Trunk of Treats"|
|The souvenir shop was re-named "King's Treasure Chest", and featured an updated and improved array of Safari themed merchandise. The merchandise featured new Safari "characters" in stuffed animal form.|
|The Guest Relations building received a colorful makeover and the new name "Georgia's Guest Relations Center".|
|SAFARI TOURS/PARKING AREA|
The Safari Tours continue to be popular, with more emphasis placed on
the V.I.P. Off-Road Adventure Tours, which offer a premium Safari
experience for a premium price.
Along with the new entry and parking configuration came a new emphasis on shuttle service between the three parks.
|The restroom facilities received an external cosmetic makeover. As part of the park's strict enforcement of the new "Code of Conduct" a smoking area was created at the far end of the area back behind the restroom facilities.|
|A new theater
structure was added to the Safari Exploration Station area.
"Cleo and Kumai's Theater" became the new home to animal presentations
featuring some of the smaller animals including capuchin monkeys,
kinkajous, bunny and a host of other animals demonstrating their
behaviors. The Animal Ambassadors present facts and
information about the animals and their habitats several times a day,
and offer the audience a chance to watch, ask questions, and in some
cases touch the animals.
Cleo the Capuchin Monkey gave demonstrations of her finger painting abilities, and a gallery of some of her artwork was on display in the adjoining "Doc's Discoveries" building.
Kumai the Kinkajou is a crowd favorite, climbing the posts and scenery, and even the Animal Ambassadors.
Everyone loves cuddly animals and the giant Belgian Rabbit was another crowd pleaser, with everyone being given a chance to touch its soft fur.
The biggest change to come to any of the existing structures was the
makeover with its transition into "Doc's Discoveries", an exhibit of
The exterior path leading to Doc's Discoveries is lined with outdoor displays where birds and other animals would spend their days.
Moluccan Cockatoos and Coatimundi spend their days in shaded enclosures with plenty of diversions and attention from the passing crowds.
|The enclosures were given thatched roofs to complement the Safari Exploration Station atmosphere, as well as provide shade on hot, sunny days.|
The interior of Doc's Discoveries features an array of exhibits.
The tour begins with some of the less cuddly creatures like reptiles and
insects who are kept behind glass.
One of these is Rosy the Albino Python, who also makes appearances in the adjacent theater and in The Golden Kingdom.
Along with the living animals are displays of antlers, bones, skulls, shells, eggs, shed fur and skin of some of the animals from the Safari, along with interesting facts about the animals.
Another new attraction for the Safari Exploration Station is a tent
featuring pony rides.
For a small upcharge, children can take a ride on a "pony-go-round"
One added feature of the Exploration Station is the addition of several
animal sculptures to the area.
Some animals were originally part of the Safari Hospitality area and have been relocated.
Other animal figures were relocated from inside the Theme Park, and had been part of other attractions that had been removed in previous years.
One of the most striking additions to the Safari
Exploration Station is a large wooden elephant. The elephant
sculpture, known as "Jumbo" was moved to the park in the 2004-2005 off
season from The Great Escape park in Lake George, NY. The
elephant was moved to be placed in The Golden Kingdom along with the
flying elephant ride which was also relocated from The Great Escape.
Jumbo was never placed in The Golden Kingdom, and after standing outside of the park's maintenance shops for two years, was added to the Exploration Station in spring of 2007.
Three brand new soft skinned play animals were placed in the area offering a small play area for the youngest of visitors.
In addition, a rhinoceros and an elephant topiary were added to help round out the enhanced landscaping of the Safari Exploration Station.