Drive-Thru Safari

August 26th, 2010

Drive-Thru Safari - Behind The Awkwardness

“This photo of my family was taken at one of those drive-through safari places in the 80s. My brother thought the politically incorrect “tribesmen” were real and was terrified. My mom hates snakes. I’m the one with the live snake (yes, it’s real) around my neck and although I love them, I’m struggling because it was a lot heavier than me. And my Dad? He’s just excited that his shorts are shorter than my mom’s.”

(submitted by Kirsten)

73 Responses to “Drive-Thru Safari”

  1. Jay says:

    Awesome x10

  2. Dez says:

    I like this one the best! Awesome pic!

  3. Truegem says:

    Everything is politically incorrect these days. Pretty soon breathing will be politically incorrect.

  4. Cari says:

    Thank you!!!!!! I just laughed the hardest I’ve laughed in…. months. (That’s sad =). I could barely read on I was laughing so hard. Your poor brother!!!!!! That’s when my laughing fit started. And then poor YOU!!!! Two traumatized kids and the parents look so content!
    Phew, thanks for a good laugh!

    • joanne rowland says:

      I am Aunt Jo of the Safari Family photo. I took them through Lion Country Safari in Palm Beach, Florida, and insisted on this photo! My brother is the handsome father in the group! We had fun that day but I actually was upset about them putting the snake around Kirsten’s neck – I had nightmares. And, yes, little Geoff was not a happy camper!!! Our family has quite a collection of awkward family photos – might send in some more – we are a crazy bunch!

      • Kirsten Oliphant says:

        Aunt JO, I cannot BELIEVE you commented on this. You are awesome. I’m so glad you made us do this!!! 🙂

  5. Anonymous says:

    Is that a bike helmet hanging from the tree? Upper right corner

    • SmartAzz says:

      Its not a bike helmet silly…its a skull with a detachable chin strap…that is supposed to look like a bike helmet…they totally tricked you !!!

  6. Smartazz says:

    Is it just me, or if you look at the hut, right next to the Mom. Is that a Basketball Hoop and a Ball that just went through it ? If not, it sure would be funny 🙂

  7. Christine says:

    I’m so glad I missed this fad in the 80s…too much stereotyping to handle. Love the snake though!

  8. Jean says:

    It’s interesting and funny.

  9. rei_hiino says:

    you’re dad resembles Chris Noth

  10. Snowrider says:

    Clockwise from the upper left:
    Steve, Terri, Bindi and Robert.

  11. Ted C says:

    How are the “tribesmen” politically incorrect?

  12. db says:

    “When we got back in the minivan, Dad wouldn’t stop playing the Steve Miller Band’s ‘Jungle Love’ in the cassette player.”

  13. JerseyPam says:

    Great Adventure is still open in NJ, supposed to be the largest safari drive-through in the US. I went through it once back in the 80’s and the car was a mess when it was over. Camels licked the windows ALOT, llamas spit on the windows, and baboons destroyed the vinyl on the roof and tore off the windshield wipers to bang on the car with. The best part was the lions, when a male sauntered over to a female for about 2 seconds and she fell right over on her side afterwards. We must have sounded like the baboons, screaming and laughing in the car.

    Kirsten, you and your mom would be totally stylish today in Jersey…you are both rocking the animal prints!

  14. LaLaLa says:

    Hmmmm… Dad looks kinda hot. 😉

  15. Todd says:

    That python is squeezing all the fun out of that vacation

  16. Elle says:

    Absolutely awesome, K!! 🙂

  17. Lesli says:

    haha I like the way Mom has her right arm up away from the snake! She probably has a death grip on Dad!

  18. Kirsten says:

    That’s me! We’re awkward! And yes…this is framed and hanging on my wall.

  19. JBoz says:

    The landscape and the fake tribesmen are evocative of Africa, however the boa constrictor is indigenous to Central and South America. Also, the fake tribesman on the right is wearing a fedora, which I don’t believe is authentic tribal attire. The proprietor of this establishment apparently wasn’t thorough in his research. Of course, this was in ancient times – the pre-internet ’80s.

  20. Alan says:

    A drive-thru safari with headhunters… I get it….Meals on wheels.

  21. Em Gee says:

    Meet the Proto-Irwins!

  22. Tammy Nagel says:

    This screams “Griswolds.”

  23. whathuhwhat says:

    You missed the fact that the politically incorrect tribesmen are wearing tiger-print thongs, not actual loincloths. Definitely awkward!

    • Jon says:

      That’s assuming that they are not made out to be from tiger “skin” for “authenticity.” Makes it worse if they were.

  24. ash says:

    Oh wow, LOVE!

    Your mom has a real festive shirt on! Woohoo! 🙂

  25. It was the fanciest hat party ever… save for one young girl.

  26. Yaos says:

    Who wear short shorts? Your dad wears short shorts!

  27. Linda says:

    oh, Kirsten, thank you sooo much for sharing! what an incredible photo and thanks, too, for the story behind it. i was wondering why mom had such a “deer caught in the headlights” look.

  28. chillycanadian says:

    ooohhhh WWWOOOWWWW!!!!

    this one is sure to rank right up there as the all time favorites on AFP

  29. LaurieV says:

    Love this picture. Specially the skull hanging in the tree. Perfect “incorrect” 80s awkward.

  30. steph says:

    I think this might be why they encourage you to stay in you car.

    The best part is the village looks so “real” and yet they give the little girl a boa constrictor around the neck….what!

  31. MeToo says:

    Kirsten, you simply ROCK for holding on to a live snake. Your synopsis of this picture is priceless. Your poor little brother. I’m ltotall diggin’ your dad’s blue shorts. The only thing you failed to mention was the skull hanging in the tree. I hope this picture is hanging on your wall somewhere.

  32. Wombatgirl says:

    This is pure poetry

  33. Bongo Boy says:

    Have these drive-thru safari places closed? It would be a mercy.

  34. carol says:

    AW, poor little boy probably had nightmares after this! He’s probably still traumatized to this day, with flashbacks!

  35. dave says:

    that’s dangerous to have a constrictor around your neck. you should have a resentment against your father.

    • Kate says:

      No way. That boa was most likely captive bred and around humans it’s entire life. She was in virtually no danger.

    • Alyse says:

      seriously? I’ve had boas around my neck on four separate occasions, at zoos and once at the circus. Those snakes and this one was probably fed before being brought out and are tame after being around humans so much.

    • Grainne Gillespie says:

      Boa constrictors are among the most docile of snake species though. Of course they can be snappy as babies (and who would blame them when they see a big hand coming towards them), but my big female who isn’t that used to being handled and doesn’t like being handled has never bitten me out of defence (the only time I was bitten by her was when I was dangling a dead rat in front of her by it’s tail and she missed the rat and got my knuckles instead, she was a lot smaller then and I stopped dangling the rats from my hand and used feeding tongs instead)

      This boa would be more used to being handled than my female

  36. Smartazz says:

    I actually thought this family was in the middle of the Serengeti !!! It just goes to show you how easily duped I can be. I couldn’t find one thing wrong with this pic until I saw the explanation…now there is just all kinds of Awkward 🙂

    I honestly thought the village would be having this family for dinner..not having them over for dinner…but having them for dinner, served in that Cauldron !!!

  37. Barb says:

    Mom looks like she is trying to be fierce!

  38. Rettiset says:


  39. Linda says:

    Wow, those tribesmen are Politically Incorrect!

    • Debra says:

      LOL…Everyone knows tribesmen are much better dressed and carry a laptop..geezz…drive through…what were you thinking? I mean, afterall…that is what I see in my PC photos!

  40. Bethyanne says:

    This looks like it was dad’s idea. You can almost hear him in the family car as they drive past the signs: “Hey, look! A safari! Let’s check it out!” Personally, I love the cannibalistic element suggested by the giant cauldron…

  41. Robert says:

    Whoa now – “one of those drive-through safari places in the 80s”??? I obviously missed something huge – explanation please!

    • Robert says:

      Just replying to myself. I just realized the kind of place you’re talking about – for some reason I thought it was a place where you just went to get photographed! I went to a similar place in Canada, the monkeys were bored, and they totally ripped all the trim off our rental car, snapped off the wipers, and tried to get in the (locked) doors. All kinds of trauma.

    • centavo71 says:

      Ok I totally missed THAT part of the 80’s…

    • veluxx says:

      We still go to them, it’s kinda fun

  42. jac says:

    Drive thru safari place? Ha ha ha that is awesome!

  43. 626 says:

    Maybe I’m missing something but what about the tribesmen is politically incorrect? In National Geographic pictures of African tribes that is what they look like.

  44. Kat in the house says:

    Drive thru Safari? It appears that the young lady asked for the snake to be supersized! And dad, well dad had trouble reading the menu…

    • Lacey says:

      yup… drive-through safari… there’s one in West Palm Beach, FL called Lion Country Safari. I believe it’s the only one… but I could be wrong. You can still get your picture taken there in this exact same back-drop wearing the exact same “costumes”. I have a picture of my family posed the same way back from about 1985. 🙂 Gotta love it!

      The best supersized thing…. the giant rhino poops you drive through….

  45. CB says:

    Yes……this is awkward. Well done.

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