Safari West#9 in Best Things To Do in Sonoma
Picture the Serengeti in the heart of wine country and you'll start to imagine what Safari West looks like. This African-inspired safari and nature preserve contains 900 exotic animals, such as zebras, giraffes and cheetahs, spread across 400 acres. When you're not exploring the grounds on your own two feet or in an open-air safari vehicle, spend the night gazing up at the stars in one of the preserve's luxury tents (more like glamping than camping).
Visitors say Safari West is a great way to experience the wildlife and terrain native to Africa without ever leaving the United States. Along with the amazing animals and beautiful landscape, travelers also praise the knowledgeable and friendly staff.
Classic Safari tickets, which include a three-hour walking or riding tour of the preserve, start at $83 per adult on the weekdays and $93 per adult on the weekends. Plan to book your tickets in advance on Safari West's website. Only kids ages 4 and older are permitted to participate in the Classic Safari for safety reasons. During peak season (April through August) the preserve offers safaris from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; there are fewer safaris offered the rest of the year. You'll find Safari West in Santa Rosa, about 30 miles north of Sonoma.
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#1 Sonoma Plaza
Centered in the heart of town, the historic Sonoma Plaza is a must-do. Once a Mexican military station and a Spanish mission village, the 8-acre park is now lined with more than 100 shops, dozens of eateries, and more than 20 tasting rooms. What's more, it's a National Historic Monument. Recent visitors highly recommended spending some time here window shopping, wine tasting, dining and even letting the kids run around the on-site playground. Reviewers said the plaza's atmosphere is both charming and family-friendly, and they suggested visiting on a Tuesday morning to take advantage of the weekly farmers market.
Sonoma Plaza is located in central Sonoma. Restaurants and shops have varying opening and closing times. Street parking is available, but with three-hour limits from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For extended parking options, consider leaving your vehicle in one of the free all-day lots located nearby, such as the one at First Street East, located across from the mission. For more information, visit Sonoma Plaza's website.
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