Short-Stay Get-Away

Go on “Safari” in Tennessee!

by Bruce Hartfield
Posted 2/15/23

Recently, I wrote about a short stay getaway The Cat and I took at Hotel Tupelo, a new boutique hotel in Tupelo, Mississippi. This Wyndham property was intended to be our home base for a 24-hour …

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Short-Stay Get-Away

Go on “Safari” in Tennessee!


Recently, I wrote about a short stay getaway The Cat and I took at Hotel Tupelo, a new boutique hotel in Tupelo, Mississippi. This Wyndham property was intended to be our home base for a 24-hour get-away in Tupelo, but it stole the show and became the focus of my article.
This piece is a little different because we planned to take a 2-day, 1-night stay in Jackson, Tennessee about two years ago, intending to visit the Tennessee Safari Park, in Alamo, Tennessee, 26 miles northwest of Jackson, then take in a few sites the next morning and return home.
Cat and I left our “farm” in Tishomingo County, on Thursday this time, making Jackson in about an hour and a half, so we decided to travel another 30 minutes and go straight to the Safari Park. Most animal parks are drive-through tours, like Tennessee Safari Park, so we knew that our tour could take a couple of hours, easily allowing us to return to Jackson by check-in time at the Holiday Inn Express.
Jackson, Tennessee, is a town of about 70,000, so it has plenty of good lodging options. Cat is a member of the Holiday Inn’s loyalty club, which gives us a little break in the rate and points toward a free room every so many stays. We also like the free breakfast perk they provide guests; their properties are usually well-maintained and in good locations to navigate the area.
Upon arriving at the Safari Park, we paid a reasonable admission fee without ever having to leave our vehicle, but we passed on the option to buy cups of animal feed. For us, especially Cat, that turned out to be a really good decision!
There are literally dozens of species and hundreds of animals in the park, and most are allowed to roam the property freely. I’m talking about animals like African deer, ostriches, emus, zebras, llamas, alpacas, camels, giraffes, monkeys, and warthogs, etc, etc, etc! THEY ARE ALL EXPERIENCED MOOCHERS, AND NONE ARE SHY ABOUT IT!
It’s one thing to be face to face with an exotic animal and your window is rolled up; it’s another thing to have their face inside your vehicle! However we saw plenty of visitors driving through, feeding animals, and we did not see any animals feeding on automobiles or visitors!
As we worked our way to the back side of the property, I happened to notice a llama that appeared to have gotten out of the fence that encloses the park, and he seemed frantic to get back inside, running back and forth along the fence. So, of course, I called the office and reported the animal’s situation!
The voice on the other end of my call snickered a little bit, then informed me that they already knew about him. She said, “That’s Larry, our guard llama! He patrols the outside of the fence to keep coyotes and all other predatory animals out of the Park!” Apparently, llamas make good animal security guards…..seriously, Google it!
We spent maybe two hours driving through Tennessee Safari Park, and we really had a fun time with a lot of great photo ops! It was a great experience for Cat and me by ourselves, and we saw a lot of adults with children having the time of their lives. This attraction gets a big thumbs up from us, but that wasn’t the end of our getaway….. there are more fun things to do in Jackson, Tennessee, as we soon found out!
Our 2-day, 1-night short stay became a 3-day, 2-night short stay, quite by chance, after driving by Redbone’s Grill and Bar on the way to our motel for the night. Read next week’s edition for the rest of our story!


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