Our first destination on our little family trip was the Serengeti Park in Hodenhagen. A friend of mine told me about it a few months back and I thought it would be neat to actually see the animals walking around free, instead of just in a zoo.
We looked it up online and it’s not just a safari park, but also a nice little amusement park that also offers several tours and shows.
So we packed the family in the van and took off north. Hodenhagen is a small town right between Hannover and Hamburg. The park offers little lodges to stay in, but since those where all booked we decided to stay in a hotel in Hannover.
We did take advantage of the free entry ticket on the website, one adult per car free, and was able to book the guided bus tour right at the entry while buying the rest of the tickets for the park. The bus tour is the only thing that costs extra and is your safest thing to do if you REALLY love your car… as we found out later.
We parked and took off walking to the busses for the tour. They do offer stroller parking which was much appreciated by our friends. The tour, sadly only in German, was fun but not great to take pictures. If you do speak German, the drivers are funny guides with the typical northern accent. After about 45 minutes of driving through the wild animals, the bus dumps you right back at the parking area, from there it’s about a 5 minute walk and you’re in the amusement park of the Serengeti Park. There are quite a few rides, some more suited for smaller children, but they do have a big log-water ride and some faster rides. A little train takes you around the park if you do not feel like walking.
The park itself is divided into 4 areas, the monkey world, the amusement park, the water world and the animal expeditions. They feature playgrounds, rides, rope climbing and even airboat rides.
After we explored the park, rode rides, participated in the jumpy safari bus tour and did the airboat tour we decided to drive through the safari with our own van.
I have to add that our friends who came too, have a very nice truck and just like my hubby loves his van, Dennis loves his truck; but we were in good faith since none of the monkeys bothered the bus on the guided tour earlier.
Feeding the giraffes through the open car window was the absolute highlight for the kids and me. They ate right of your hand and wiggled their huge tongues through any cracked window in the hopes of a treat. It was great to drive through on your own pace and stop where ever you wanted to take breathtaking pictures. Signs posted everywhere made sure you knew when to leave your windows closed and there are guards on high seats and in patrol cars everywhere to make sure you and the animals are save at all times. We didn’t need to be told to keep the doors and windows closed since even the lions and tigers walk around freely in there, so if you bring small children, be aware of that.
Driving through the park was great till we came to the monkey section… I guess our cars were much more interesting than the plain old tour bus, and sure enough within seconds we had monkeys all over us. Those little $%^#$ are not very friendly when it comes to your car and soon we had several chew on our windshield wipers and banging on the roof, while our friends windshield washer hoses where put under a stress test. I have to add there is no detour around the monkey area, but within a few minutes there were park guides shooing the monkeys away with their car. Damage was minimal besides a couple scratches on plastic parts and some excitement.
After we finished our own drive it was almost closing time for the park and we continued back to the hotel. For us with 2 families one day was just enough to see everything we wanted in the park and I have to add the site makes the park look much bigger then it is, because we had originally planned for 2 days in the park.
All in all, if you go there to see animals it’s well worth it, the safari tour and the petting zoo are great for all family members. If you are looking for lots of rides and thrills this may not be the place for you and the shows are scheduled so if you want to see them make sure to check times before you head out. Parking was no problem at the park and you did not have to wait in long lines for rides, which was nice. There are a few restaurants but I suggest bringing some fresh fruit or old bread to feed the animals.
That’s it from me.
Have fun at the park!