If you go to Scandinavia, and do not see a moose, you will most likely be disappointed. South of Stockholm, they can be hard to spot. If you want to make sure you see one, you will have to see it in captivity. While there are a number of moose parks in Sweden, I recommend Smålandet Markaryds Älgsafari.
First, I would like to clarify what moose are in the Smålandet park. The dozen or so moose are Eurasian Elk. This is an unfortunate name, as it causes a lot of confusion. They are not elk, (a smaller member of the deer family,); they are moose. The park also has an enclosure with American Bison which, depending on where you are from, may be just as exciting.
Pay admission at the gift shop, and drive through the three kilometers of winding forest road at your own pace, or ride the little train like you find in a zoo. Depending on the time of year, the train may make its rounds once or twice a day, every day or just on weekends. (I recommend a car, that way, you can stay in there until the park closes.) Driving through the park, you should not have much trouble spotting a moose in the first kilometer. They are surprisingly well camouflaged, but the roads are laid out so that they cannot get far enough away from the path to hide themselves. After the first kilometer, you have the opportunity to turn off into the bison area, or continue through the remaining two kilometers of road in the moose enclosure. Be sure to bring the moose something to eat; they like apples and carrots, but even a juicy reed will do. One of the moose in particular may even stick its head in your car if you bring it something tasty. (Thankfully, this one does not have antlers, otherwise you might find a few holes in your upholstery.)
Smålandet gift shop has one of the most extensive collections of moose-related souvenirs I have ever seen. It also has a cafe that serves moose sausage, but it is only open in the summer time. If the kids do not like shopping, even for stuffed animals and bumper stickers, they can play with the goats in back. However, be sure to tell them to avoid the dark green shoots on the left side of the pen, they are stinging nettle and should be avoided. Sweden has some especially stinging nettle.
I really enjoyed the moose park, and I fail to see how anyone wouldn’t. The kids will enjoy it, especially if the friendly moose lets them feed and pet him. And who doesn’t want to see a moose up close? If you are in Scandinavia and have your heart set on seeing a moose, Smålandet Markaryds Älgsafari is the place to go.
(For more information on Smålandet Markaryds Älgsafari, click here)