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Wildlife safari park to open later than expected in Como

COMO, Miss. -- Excitement’s growing over a new wildlife safari park expected to come to Como, Mississippi this year.

Property owners said people will soon be able to drive down Rooks Road to zebras, giraffes and more.

“It would be great," said Mike Williams who lives in Como. "I mean it would be great for the families around here to have a place like that to take their kids.”

The Safari Wildlife Animal Park and Reserve was originally targeted to open April 10th, but the owners said weather and other factors are pushing it back to later this year. They don't want to name a specific date yet.

WREG's Bridget Chapman checked with Panola County Land Development and found a permit with the necessary special exception has been filed for the land to build a wildlife reserve.

The website says when drivers come to the park, they’ll be met with ticket booths where they can also buy food for the animals. There will be camel rides, bird feeding and a children’s petting safari.

The website says when the doors are open, the 466-acre park will be open 362 days a year from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“It would be cool if you could get something like that to come, especially to Como, because we don’t have anything like that around here," said Noletha Jackson who lives in Como.

Billy Garrett said his son, the owner, has gotten interest in the park from people across the Mid-South.

“It’s unbelievable," said Garrett. "People are calling, just praising him because it’s something for the family.”

They expect it to boost the local economy as people pour in for tours.

“We’re excited about it and we’re excited for the general public too," said Garrett.

His son said they’re finishing up signing agreements with their investor and are getting ready to send equipment out there, noting it’s an idea they’ve had in mind for decades.

“It’s something you’re going to bring your family to and have a great time," said Garrett.

Although the land looks empty now, they said they’ve cleared trails for the safari and will soon take a drone out there to show progress.

The owners also said they regret allowing people to buy tickets in advance online and are going to offer them their money back if wanted.

Managers at the Tennessee Safari Park in Alamo said it took them five years to complete their park. However, the Como owners said they already have finances and the back-work in order, which speeds up the process.

For more information, go here.