Primorskiy Safari Park
Near Shkotovo (Outside Vladivostok)
This weekend, we got to make another excursion outside of Vladivostok. This time was not for hiking, however, but to see some of Primorsky Krai’s famed wildlife at the Safari Park. As part of a university sponsored trip, we took a chartered a bus from the university and headed north.
Vladivostok is a fantastic city, and I still have so much left to see, but I really enjoy getting out of the city. Perhaps it’s because I was raised in a small town, but driving down winding roads and looking out across the fields and rolling hills is a serene change from the week’s classes and business.
It took about 1.5 hours to reach the park. From the outside (and certainly from the road) there is not much to see. In fact, our driver passed right by the entrance before circling around to find the correct turn. The park is recessed in a wooded area, and a small ticket kiosk and the exterior fence covered in camouflaged netting is all that’s initially visible.
The price for admission is 600 Rubles, and the tour lasts between 1 and 1.5 hours.
Our tour was a group of about 40-50 people led by one tour guide. The park itself is divided up into several sections that house different types of animals. First up, we saw the park’s primary attraction: the tigers. Different from a zoo, the Safari Park gives the tigers a reasonably large space in which to roam. Three Amur Tigers inhabited the enclosure, and we walked on a sort of raised bridge that kept us out of their reach. During our tour, the tigers appeared very much as the big cats that they are. We found them sunbathing and rolling around in warm patches of grass.
The other sections of the park showed us deer, which we were able to touch and feed; two bear cubs; raccoons; foxes; wolves; and an aviary, which held a variety of hawks, eagles, and owls. Although I felt that the aviary was somewhat small, most of the birds appeared to have suffered injuries of some sort, so I believe that they are probably better off even in the small enclosure than they would be in the wild.
Overall, the experience was good, although I would say that the tour group was too large. Some of the pathways got very congested at the point that offered the best view of the current animal. Consequently, it was difficult to capture good photos along the way. Seeing the local wildlife was a great experience, however, and it was worth the trip.