When the sun goes down, some of the animals at Busch Gardens heat up. Nocturnal animals in the Edge of Africa and on the Serengeti Plain, including lions, hippos and rhinos, are more playful, more active, more exciting to watch after the heat of the day.
BuschGardens’ Serengeti Night Safari, offered select nights this fall, is the ideal opportunity to view some of these nighttime behaviors that you can’t see during the day.
Stroll through Edge of Africa during the day, and you’ll most likely find the lions lazing in the shade, taking a cat nap. The predators, in fact, can sleep up to 20 hours a day. But at night, it’s a different scene. The lions are often seen playfully chasing each other and wrestling, said Kelly Fad, Edge of African zoo supervisor. Pride members greet each other by rubbing cheeks and Fad said her team often sees the lions engage in this behavior before and after their playtimes.
In their native Africa, hippos come out of the water for a much as six hours a night to graze on short grasses. Our hippos also come out of the water at night, Fad said, but they are also more playful in the water during nighttime. “We’ve seen our youngest, Kita, engage in play sessions at night with the turtles and fish that live in her habitat,” Fad said. “Kita will push off the bottom of the pool with her back feet and sail through the water, chasing turtles and fish in her path.”
During the day, white rhinos enjoy wallowing in the mud and resting in the shade. But after sun down, the relatively social animals will chase each other and meander among the Serengeti Plain looking for a nighttime resting spot. With three youngsters now at Busch Gardens, nursing is common at night after a hot day. The rhinos have also been seen peering over the fence near the campfire to see what’s going on at story time.
You can see all three species on a Serengeti Night Safari. The adventure includes a walking tour through Edge of Africa, then an open-truck ride across the Serengeti Plain, where you’ll use night-vision monoculars and special filtered lighting to view free-roaming herds of giraffes, zebra, rhinos and other African animals. The red lighting allows up-close views of animals without startling them. Then gather around a campfire for stories and up-close animal encounters.
The tour begins and ends in the exclusive Safari Club, with savory appetizers and adult beverages and a night cap complete with coffee and desserts. The Serengeti Night Safari is offered Nov. 5, 13, 20 and 27 and Dec. 4, 11 and 18, and begins after sunset each event night.
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