"We don’t even mind the two-hour drive from here to Mexicali."
In the last few days, photos and videos of snakes hissing and slithering within the confines of Mexicali vehicles have surfaced online.
“The last photo was with a viper,” captioned Juan M. underneath a Facebook photo of his presumed young daughter holding a large yellow-colored snake in the backseat. Aida posted a video of a snake that serpentined onto the door panel of the vehicle she was co-piloting. “Super cool," she said, "they give you the opportunity to touch them.”
“The last photo was with a viper.”
On August 29, Mexicali citizens gathered at the grand opening of “Safari en el Bosque” at the Bosque y Zoológico de la Ciudad de Mexicali park and zoo that’s about 120 miles east of the World Famous San Diego Zoo.
Marina del Pilar Ávila Olmeda, the city’s mayor, reportedly announced that “the first safari” in the entire state of Baja was opened to the public that Friday with the purpose of offering a “safe recreational space and re-activating the local economy.”
“We know that there have been very difficult months of confinement for everyone,” she continued in a statement, “and little by little we have to adapt to the new normal, and the bosque (forest) of the city is an example of this.”
The tigers from the adjoining zoo weren’t allowed to roam within the separated safari.
The circa-1964 park and zoo, which is located in the Río Nuevo area about four miles south of the Calexico and Mexicali port of entry, is charging 130 pesos ($6) per vehicle to enter the safari.
In an El Imparcial news report, they depicted the organizers squirting sanitizer onto the drivers’ hands and spraying down the vehicles prior to entering.
“It’s good to share moments with the animals,” said a driver of a red jeep in the news report, “my nephews, little girl, and my wife came with me.”
Photos were taken at the safari — of kangaroos, horses, ostriches, donkeys, goats, llamas, deer, and camels, and a dozen animals parading across a dirt road in front of a stopped SUV — then posted online.
The majority of visitors who posted online about the 45-minute drive-through petting zoo, were content, while a handful was pet-peeved, some wondering why the tigers from the adjoining zoo weren’t allowed to roam within the separated safari confines.
“A total disappointment,” said Gallegos B., “the poor people lined up for hours [and] there is no seriousness in the staff … and you get to the dinosaurs, and you are welcomed by a speaker at the top of the stairs, and it’s not even hidden. Asked if I’d go back? Never.”
“He probably expected a Jurassic Park [styled] tour,” said Jenny from City Heights. “What do you expect for six bucks? In all honesty, we don’t even mind the two-hour drive from here to Mexicali. We’re planning to pay the extra 50 pesos to reserve our spot; that’s 180 pesos total, which exchanges to what — $9 USD. Even with an additional $40 in gas, and another $25 for tacos and sodas, which we can take into the vehicle during the safari, that’s $74 for a car full of happy kids.”
According to the venue’s Facebook page, the safari is open from Thursday through Sunday between 9 am to 5 pm.