If you ever find yourself wanting a 1,500-pound buffalo head in your car searching for food, you’re in luck.

Just down Highway 431 and through the woods a bit, there’s a place called Harmony Park Safari off of Hobbs Island Road. It’s not a bad day trip for anyone living in Marshall County and makes for nice experience if you’ve got little ones. Heck, it wouldn’t be a bad day trip for you and your significant other either.

My wife and I decided we’d try the park out last weekend. For several weeks, we talked about eventually taking our boys to check it out and see what all the fine folks at Harmony Park had to offer. I’ll admit, the word “Safari” did make me think we would be spotting lions, tigers and possibly even an elephant.

Besides the giraffe and antelope, the majority of the animals at the park can be found right here in north Alabama. You’re greeted by a big, very big, buffalo that has no issues with sticking its entire head in the car searching for food. A giant buffalo head in the car made my wife a tad uncomfortable, but I honestly didn’t mind it too much. I could’ve dealt without the inordinate amount of saliva, however.

The rest of the park was populated by steers, deer, emus, llamas and even some alligators. Much to my chagrin, none of the animals were wearing masks! I found myself pretty jealous of these animals in a way. When you think about it, they’re a pretty lucky bunch to live in a place where food is given out like candy at a homecoming parade. I was also very impressed at how in tune the animals were with their bodies in relation to your car.

At first glance, you’ll see dozens of steers with massive horns. My first thought was, "These cows better not scratch or dent the car.” I was amazed that not a single one left any evidence of their horns on the family wagon. To me it looked like something straight out of an insurance commercial, but luckily no claims had to be made.

I have to say, sometimes animals that aren’t dogs or cats can make me feel a bit uneasy. For example, we rode past a group of llamas and I was convinced one of them, if not all of them, were going to spit on me. What a great way to let someone know you’re welcome in their home, right? There was no spit, however, and my irrational fear of llamas was tamped down a bit.

I thoroughly enjoyed the park and so did the rest of the Cagle crew. There’s no walking involved, which was another plus. All you need to know how to do is roll down a window and drive 2 miles per hour.

All in all, it was worth the trip to Madison County. So many of us are looking for small weekend trips nowadays, and this is one I’d suggest. Of course, most everyone is finally getting back to school, which helps fill some time, but there’s always an hour or two to kill over a weekend, and Harmony Park isn’t a bad place to do it. Just be sure to have your food cup ready or the buffalo will get up close and personal. I know from first hand experience.

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