For my son’s 4th birthday, we decided to take a day trip to Lake Tobias. We live in Southern Pennsylvania, so it wasn’t too big of a trip to accomplish in a day. The kids have been wanting to go to zoos, and we wanted them to see animals in more of a wildlife habitat setting as opposed to a concrete zoo. My husband has been to Lake Tobias before, so he was excited to go back.
As soon as I read the mission statement on their website, I was pretty hooked, and the kids couldn’t wait. Lake Tobias Wildlife Park is said to combine the best of both worlds. It’s more than a zoo, because it’s a fully operational farm and a zoo with an open air safari, reptile habitat, petting zoo, and more.
We loaded up our littles, and my husband’s sister and her fiancé followed us. I was a bit anxious, because this was our present to our son for his birthday rather than toys. I wanted it to be a wonderful experience for him.
On the drive, I kept my eyes open from the highway for signs. I expected something a lot less remote for some reason, so I was thrilled that this Wildlife Park was actually tucked behind some mountains and nestled in the countryside away from chaos. It was a beautiful setting, and my nerves went away as we pulled up.
There was no headache or hassle with parking, and it was free. We purchased the “Explorer” tickets, which include everything the park offers. For only $15 per person, kids 2 and under are free, it felt like an incredible deal.
First, we walked around and saw animals like baboons, lions, tigers, and bears. Then, we made our way towards the reptile building and petting zoo. All the while, free-range chickens, peacocks, and other birds were wandering around. There’s stations set up to buy food for the animals too. Everything had signs that explained the animals, and which ones you could feed.
The trails and sidewalk areas were beautiful, and there were benches and places to rest. The gorgeous lake can be seen from most of the walking area. It was lovely to walk around, and if you don’t want to do the safari bus tour, you can just do the “walk-about” package for $8 per person.
There was just the right amount of exhibits and things to do to keep my toddlers content without it being too overwhelming. It wasn’t crowded, and all of the staff was super friendly.
Petting Zoo & Safari
I’m pretty sure that the petting zoo was my toddlers’ favorite part. They were able to go into a large pen with small goats, sheep, and alpacas. They had so much fun playing and running around with those bouncy fur babies.
They did have signs that made you aware that those animals nibble, push, and play around. My little ones had no issue being swarmed and nibbled by goats and sheep. It really was a blast.
The safari ride was another favorite. They have school busses with the tops chopped off, and they are turned into safari rides. We waited in line for no longer than 10 minutes, and we boarded the bus. We saw so many types of deer and buffalo. The tour guide was hilarious and gave a bit of the parks history and animal facts. He would stop the bus at the herds, and the animals would walk right up. You could feed and pet them.
The long horns were just as friendly as the llamas, and even though you have to pay attention to their heads and horns, they wanted just as much attention and loving. It was so fun, and it was an experience my kids won’t forget.
Giraffes & Expansion
The park recently added two giraffes to their long list of animals. They are also expanding the park and hope to get more. It was incredible to see.
The giraffes can be seen from the bus tour, and there is also a beautiful trail that you can walk and see them as well. There was so much to do without feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. It was really special.
I definitely recommend this wildlife park for families. I was a bit nervous about taking the kids, because we aren’t a family that handles crowds well. This place was perfect and very accommodating.
There were pavilions and picnic areas, so it was easy to rest and snack. The bathrooms were clean and all over, which was handy for my potty training 4 year old.
It was a great day, and I hope everyone gets to experience it at some point or another. It’s a family owned park that has been operating for 55 years, and you can tell the family takes very good care of everything and it’s something they are passionate about.
I hope you check them out. Have a good week!