Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Lake Tobias Wildlife Park Safari

I have been doing some traveling in Pennsylvania the last month. When I read about the safari at Lake Tobias Wildlife Park in Halifax, Pa near Harrisburg, I thought it would be a fun day. I was hoping we didn't get rain, and I was thrilled to be given a really gorgeous day to visit this place. 

Here is a little history on Lake Tobias: 

Since 1965 Lake Tobias Wildlife Park has been fascinating patrons with its wild, exotic animals and adventure-seeking safari tours. The late J.R. Tobias founded the park on the same property where he was born and raised. He and his wife, Pauline, reared their seven children here before his passing in 1996. Mrs. Tobias still resides in the farm house which also serves as the park’s business office.

J.R always had a fascination with animals, especially unusual and exotic ones. He had originally planned to attend college studying animals and agriculture, but in 1943, he decided to join  the military and chose to serve as a Marine. J.R. once commented that his desire to open a wildlife park was actually “just a hobby to fall back on in my retirement”. He also had the unique idea of touring the herds in their natural habitat by transforming school busses into “safari cruisers”. It is an idea that has since been duplicated by others today. The stream-fed lakes located throughout the park were constructed by Mr. Tobias using the heavy equipment he owned for his excavating and grading business. J.R.was self-employed his entire adult life owning several businesses both before and during his years of maintaining Lake Tobias. In addition to the excavating  business, he had also owned a dairy, a cement block manufacturing company and a John Deere farm machinery business, all of which were housed and operated from the family homestead.

Before his passing, Mr. Tobias bestowed his hobby-turned -business to his children, many of whom were already managing areas of the park. The unfortunate death in 2010 of the eldest of the seven children, Dee Ann (Tobias) Hoffman, has resulted in the current ownership of the park being the six remaining siblings and a grandson. Under their direction, J.R.’s love and interest in animals continues to grow as a self-sustaining, family-owned business that has become a favorite family attraction for over 170,000 park visitors each season. Lake Tobias relies strictly on park revenue for its financial support and does not receive any state or federal funding.

I cannot tell you how gorgeous it was, with the blue sky, the puffy clouds and green grass to go on forever. It was such a perfect day for this safari tour!  

It was so neat to see the animals in their natural environment. I don't think I have ever seen these types of animals this close before, and the adults on the bus were just as excited as the kids!  

The old school bus turned into a safari bus worked very well  
Too darn cute.  
What a gorgeous animal with those blue eyes! My Sony camera did very well on this trip! 

It couldn't get any more picture perfect if I tried! We rode through 150 acres of rolling hills, pasture and woodlands.  

You could purchase food at the park to feed the animals. I was too busy photographing them to feed them but many folks did and it was pretty cool.  

To be up close to this guy with those big antlers was quite amazing! He even let you pet him!  
Okay, so I don't think I ever saw a Zebra before in person, maybe when I was little but I just LOVED these guys! Yes, the one is rolling around in the dirt!  
Such beautiful animals  
I must say, I am not a country girl, but this place was really magical. It was a most wonderful experience that I would recommend to anyone - young and old.  
Hello there big guy!  
I came back to my friends and they were quite the friendly!  
I cannot stand the cuteness!!!! 

This is truly a wonderful place to check out, and I would for sure mark it on your "to-do" list. The park has some animals in cages as well like a regular zoo, but the safari tour is the must do here. In fact, I was upset with myself I didn't go a second time! It was such a lovely day, and so neat to see these animals ups close and personal. What a fantastic job the Tobias family is doing with this animal wonderland! 

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