Georgia Safari’s a go

Tia Lynn Ivey News

The long-anticipated Georgia Safari Conservation Park is officially underway in Morgan County as leaders held a ceremonial groundbreaking last Thursday to kick-off the construction and development of Phase I of the park.  The first iteration of the park, which will feature a drive-through safari complete with exotic animals such as giraffes, zebras, bongos, kudu and ostrich, is set to open in the Spring of 2020. The first phase is expected to cost $15 million.

According to Bill Killmer, CEO of the Georgia Safari Conservation Park, once the park is fully developed, the 530-acre zoological park will offer three distinct experiences on one site: A guided safari drive-through experience; wildlife walkthrough experiences featuring a variety of animals; and Treetop Lodging.

“We are extremely excited to be breaking ground on Phase I,” said Killmer. “Our dream is to create a legacy project that will benefit both people and animals for generations to come. We appreciate everyone locally and in the zoological community who have helped us reach this point.”

Local and State leaders attended Thursday’s groundbreaking to celebrate the future of the park and the years of planning and preparation it has taken to move forward.

Speakers included Killmer, Mike Conrads, who owns the land, Madison Mayor Fred Perriman, State Representative Dave Belton, Morgan County Commissioner Ron Milton, Director of Economic Development for Morgan County Bob Hughes.

Each of the speakers commended the park leaders and the local community for supporting the project. Leaders are hopeful that the park will not only add a significant tourism boost to Morgan County, but will enhance educational opportunities for Morgan County students, and students in surrounding areas.

Killmer noted the park’s commitment to using local resources to develop and construct the park. “He said Georgia Safari Conservation Park is committed to utilizing local contractors, consultants and vendors in the park’s construction and is proud to be working with Oconee Construction Services, LLC who, under the supervision of owners Charlie Vill and Keith Young, will construct the park’s $15 million phase I is set to open Spring of 2020,” said Brandie Anderson, public relations representative for the park. “Phase I will focus on the safari drive-through experience. Guests will be treated to an immersive and interpretive guided tour of the expansive wildlife savanna, aboard one of our custom safari vehicles through the open plains and forests of The Park. The tours will be designed to mirror the same experience as an authentic African game drive. Guests will see multiple species of African wildlife, including giraffes, zebras, bongos, kudu, ostrich and more on the open savanna. Custom guided tours, behind-the-scenes experiences, up-close animal encounters, animal feedings, photo opportunities, team-building activities, corporate excursions and events will also be offered in Phase I of the project.”

Georgia Safari Conservation Park is located in Morgan County, GA, near the City of Madison and less than an hour drive east of Atlanta on Interstate-20. Visit www.georgiasafari.com for more information.

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