Reviewed for Third Grade, 2008

Safari West

Has your child always dreamed of going on safari? With the economy tight, a trip to Africa may not be in the cards, but a trip to Sonoma may be. This wildlife preserve in the California wine country is a whopping 400 acres. Visitors pile into jeeps and hit the road for close encounters with zebras, rhinos, wildebeests, and more than a dozen varieties of African antelope. Along the way, they get an earful of fascinating animal trivia, from which animal wards off predators with their incredible stink (water bucks) to which one can go up to ten months without a sip of water (the addox). The animals aren't roaming completely free in their native habitat, so there isn't the thrill of a chance African siting. On the other hand, because they're each housed in a set location, kids won't come home from the 3-hour tour disappointed because they haven't caught a glimpse of anything. A stay in one of the imported African tent cabins is pure luxury, and the look out the tent flaps at the giraffes grazing nearby, just may be the best view out of any hotel window in the world. (Safari tour alone: Adults $65, Children 3-12 $30, Infants 1-2 $10; Overnight stay in a tent cabin starts at $230 per night, including breakfast.)