NewsPalm Beach CountyRegion C Palm Beach CountyWest Palm Beach


Lion Country Safari to be sold

Posted at 11:31 PM, Jun 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-21 10:22:36-04

The drive through Lion Country Safari is the only one like it in South Florida. It’s where from your car, you can see so many animals, including giraffes, zebras, and rhinos roam free.

Tuesday, staff announced that the cageless zoo will be sold to Marcella Leone. She’s the founder of LEO Zoological Conservation Center in Greenwich, Connecticut, a non-profit reserve for 49 species.

“It'll be a good change,” Leone said by phone, who's been coming to Wellington for almost 30 years.

She said the park will get a facelift but her focus will be on teaching people about the animals. “My interest is in wildlife conservation and education so we hope to grow those programs,” Leone explained.

Leone also told us under her ownership, the 4-mile drive will stay the same but changes you'll see include more species added to the park. “We will be bringing orangutans, cheetahs, and many more species… zebras,” Leone explained. “Different subspecies of giraffe. For instance, Rothschild giraffe, there’s only 670 left in the world.”

“I like everything the way it is,” said Alicia Tran, from Tequesta.

Monty Hewick, visiting from Pennsylvania added, “We really like the drive through,” he said. ”Wider lanes because there were a couple jams that we made up there with some other cars.”

Marc Unterhalter is the vice president of Lion Country Safari. "I think it's positive for the park," he said. "I think having somebody come in with new ideas, fresh ideas, and resources to implement them. We're planning on operating exactly as we have been before that's our instructions."

Leone hopes to close the deal with the current owners by the end of summer.

The amount the park is selling for has not been disclosed.