We came to Homestead to visit a friend and after reading all the great reviews decided safari edventure would be an amazing place to visit. Much of what we saw broke our hearts. I want to be very fair and always start with the good. The price is right, the animals friendly, and all appeared well fed. We enjoyed interacting with the huge variety of animals. It had just rained and that didn't help enclosures or animals look any better... Having owned large numbers of different reptiles, I was very concerned about the lack of heat lamps for their snakes and iguana. It was in the 70's and they survive in that weather but that doesn't mean they are comfortable. They should always be given the option. The cockatoo I saw had absolutely nothing to stimulate him/her at all. Many of the animals had uneaten food in their cages covered in bugs. It would seem to me that if an animal doesnt eat, the food should be removed before attracting bugs and offered at a later time. A few of the wolves had sores and scabs around their ears and one sloth was being kept in a parrot cage not much bigger than he was, covered in bugs. Perhaps he was sick and being isolated? But then I would hope they would move him to an area designed for that purpose away from the other sloths (the bird cage was in the sloth pen).The pen holding the peacocks and chickens had absolutely no shealter that I could see and most of the chickens had lost feathers and had skin issues, actually owning chickens myself I can attest that this is never normal. The ponies and donkeys also had no shelter other than trees. I kept telling myself that maybe they bring some animals to and from their enclosures, I hope I am right but I think I'm probably being naive. The staff was friendly enough and able to answer the few questions we asked. With the number of visitors I'm sure they get, I don't think it is possible for them to sneak past regulations but that being said, just because shelters meet regulations doesn't mean it's great or the animals are happy. A few improvments in this park could go a long way to making animals look and feel better I think and help them even better to the public that love to see them.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
January 22, 2014
As stated in other responses to other reviews, we sincerely wish people would comment on what they experienced here, and what they know, rather that what they suspect, or imagine might be the reason for something they see. We are a small non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about the wildlife and the environment. We operate almost entirely on volunteers, and have been providing our services for over 35 years. Some of the newer volunteers are not going to be quite as knowledgeable as those who have been around for many years, but all of them can answer most questions asked of them, and will never make up facts if they don't know an answer. Our director is on site nearly 100% of time we are open to the public, and is always happy to answer any questions or concerns that were not answered by the staff. PLEASE DO NOT GO AWAY ASSUMING ANYTHING! ASK US WHILE YOU ARE STILL HERE. If a thought arises later, after your visit, call us. The director usually answers the phone himself.
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All of our animals have enclosures that meet or exceed Fl. Wildlife Commission & U.S.D.A. requirements. We are licensed and inspected by both agencies. There are several of the enclosures that we would like to enlarge, but do not feel that any of the current enclosures are causing any stress at all to any of our animals. The writer of this review even commented that "THE ANIMALS LOOK HAPPY" - They are! Many of our animals breed at our facility including some species that most facilities can't even keep alive, much less keep them in conditions that are conducive to reproduction.
As mentioned above, there are several enclosures that we would like to enlarge, and also as mentioned above we are a small non-profit organization. Anyone that would like to contribute funds to help enlarge enclosures is encouraged to contact us. All donations designated for this, will be used exclusively for that purpose.
PLEASE ASK US ANYTHING YOU HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT BEFORE LEAVING AND ESPECIALLY BEFORE WRITING A REVIEW. WE ARE ALWAYS HAPPY TO ANSWER ANY AND ALL QUESTIONS.
To address the concerns of this particular reviewer:
- Our reptiles all have heat lamps, heat pads or other means of prviding proper temperatures. Not all of these are visible or apparent to visitors. ALL of our reptiles on display that day are well suited to be in temperatures in the 70's, and thrive on that as part of their daily and seasonal temperature and daylight hour variances that would occur naturally in the wild.
- Our chickens do not have a specific "shelter", as this would create a health problem. First, chickens do not seek shelter for rain, or sleep. They naturally roost in trees, and they are water-proof. If we did provide other "traditional" shelters for them, they would sit on top of it and poop on the roof. Then they would stand in it, which ovbiously would not be the ideal situation. Chickens molt their feathers twice a year in most places. In our climate it can happen even more often. Some of the chickens are going through a molt, (losing old feathers and then growing new ones), which is completely normal. NONE OF THEM HAVE ANY SKIN ISSUES! The veterinarian that oversees our animals has never found any skin or other issues with our chickens..
- Our ponies and donkeys DO have a shelter other than trees. It is in a corner of their enclosure not readily visible to visitors.
- We do not have any sick parrots, or any ever covered in bugs. We do provide our parrots with fresh fruit among other food items, and there WILL be some fruit flies wherever there is fruit. Especially in our sub-tropical climate with December temps in the 70's and 80's. EVERY zoo or other animal facility has this, as does most every household. We just let you get much closer to our animals than other facilities, so you can see the fruit flies. They eat friut - NOT PARROTS!
- As for the bird cage in with the sloths....ABSOLUTLY!
HOWEVER, had the reviewer look closer, or asked any of our staff about this, they would have realized how incorrect their comment was. We do keep a parrot type cage in the larger sloth enclosure. This is to give them extra places to climb, and hang from to rest. THE DOOR TO THE PARROT CAGE IS OPEN, and any sloth that is seen inside can get to anywhere else in the larger enclosure. If they are in there, it is 100% by their choice. One of our sloths prefers this as her favorite resting spot.
- Once again, this reviewer commented that the staff here "was friendly enough and able to answer the FEW questions we asked." If that is the case......why wouldn't they ask more questions about things they had concerns about before posting those unanswered concerns in a review that clearly does not reflect the standards we live by at our facility.
- Can we improve? Definately! Who can"t? We have great aspirations for great improvements, but for now our animals are happy, healthy and content. If you would like to help us improve instead of assuming the worst, we would love to hear from you. We are always looking for good, caring volunteers, and donations that will make us even better tomorrow.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.