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Driving Through Lion Country Safari in a Mouse Limo

August 07, 2011 By Carlos Miller in Miami: Travel NewsMiami: Things to Do  | 5 Comments

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So there we were, a group of South Florida social media whores, sitting in the back of the Truly Nolen Mouse Limo, about to wind our way through Lion Country Safari in Palm Beach County.

The limo is like one of those yellow Truly Nolen VW Bugs disguised as mice we’ve been seeing for decades, only a limo.  A yellow limo with a black tail and ears.

Check it out in the video.

We were instructed to tweet about our experience so our followers would see what a great time we were having, which in turn might get them to hire Truly Nolen to fumigate their homes

Or persuade them to visit Lion County Safari in Palm Beach County and take their own drive through the preserve where animals roam free and snipers sit atop towers.

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It’s worth the trip, especially if you have kids, but I discovered that things have changed at Lion Country Safari since I was a kid.

For starters, the lions are now behind fences. I later learned the fences went up in 2005 because too many people refused to keep their windows and doors shut.

As a photographer, I can totally understand wanting to roll down your window or hang out the window to get a better shot.

Nevertheless, I was warned by our Tilson Public Relations host to keep my hands and legs inside the car and my window rolled up because the lions were a “little dangerous.”

I reached for my Canon 5D with a 300 mm lens and snapped a photo of a lioness through dark tinted windows.

Once we drove through the lion area, we entered the portion where the animals roam free, so I was allowed to roll my window down to videotape and photograph the animals.

And yes, I even hung out the window at times, photographing zebras, rhinos, giraffes and endless herds of horned deer-like animals.

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Lion County Safari

In 1967, a group of South African and British investors opened Lion Country Safari as the nation’s first drive-through safari park in Loxahatchee, not far from West Palm Beach.

The idea was to bring the experience of the African game park to the United States, so anybody could afford and experience it.

It became very popular and started expanding to other parts of the country, but those shut down, making this location the only one around.

They’ve since added an amusement park, water slides, Ferris wheel, safari boat, camel rides and petting zoo, just to name a few, so you can entertain your family here all day at a cost of less than $26.50 per person,
depending on age.

Today, more than 900 animals from six different continents live on the preserve.

It takes just over an hour to get there during non-rush hour times from Miami.

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Truly Nolen

So what does Truly Nolen have to do with all this?

Like Lion Country Safari, Truly Nolen is one of those companies I remember as a kid.

And only because they would always drive little yellow Volkswagen Bugs with mouse ears and tail.

I would get excited when I saw one while sitting in the backseat of my parents’ car and call them the Mickey Mouse cars, not realizing until later they had nothing to do with Disney.

And now they have these limousines they dress up as mice. And they’re doing all they can to promote it.

So they hired Tilson PR, who organized the event at Lion Country Safari by gathering a group of social media people together, meaning people who had nothing else to do on a weekday morning.

The idea was to see how the animals would react to the giant mouse. The giraffes didn’t seem to mind but the other animals seemed a little spooked at first, before becoming curious.

“If the larger sized animals are scared of the Truly Nolen Limo, then the smaller size animals are going to be scared of Truly Nolen,” Carly Sanders of Tilson PR said.

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Related Categories: Miami: Travel News, Miami: Things to Do,

Carlos Miller is a featured writer at Miami Beach 411. He also operates Photography is Not a Crime, a blog about photographer rights, New Media and First Amendment issues.

See more articles by Carlos Miller.

See more articles by Carlos Miller

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5 Comments on

"Driving Through Lion Country Safari in a Mouse Limo"

Mike LaMonica says:

This is real cool but I have a couple of questions.  Why did you need to roll up the windows if the lions were behind fences? Were there really snipers??? Did you get any pictures of them?

I’d like to do the Safari sometime looks cool. I have no extermination needs so I’m good for now on that. Thanks. Mike

Posted on 08/08/2011 at 10:12 AM

Carlos Miller says:

Maybe Truly Nolen is concerned about liability issues if the lions suddenly darted across the preserve and over the fences and into the limo. Would made made a hell of a video.

And yes, they have guards up in towers to monitor the animals. I imagine they have stun guns as opposed to real guns.

I didn’t photograph the towers, but I should have. I already had my hands full photographing and videotaping - and sending the occasional tweet to justify my inclusion into this adventure.

But you should definitely go. Diego would love it.

Posted on 08/08/2011 at 11:47 AM

Guy Fawkes says:

I would guess the guns they had were real, high caliber big game rifles. I doubt they want to risk the liability if someone getting killed because the anesthesia took too long to work from a stun gun.

Posted on 08/08/2011 at 4:15 PM

GandJ says:

Carlos -    Awesome Photos!


Glenn

Posted on 08/08/2011 at 9:08 PM

Christy says:

Gorgeous photos Carlos! I don’t understand the whole mouse thing but whatever.

Posted on 08/09/2011 at 4:19 PM

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