When you think of a safari, it’s likely that your head is filled with images of off-roading vehicles driving through an African savannah, elephants on one side of the jeep, lions on the other. However, the safari at Lake Tobias Wildlife Park in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, couldn’t be further from this.
Instead of an off-roading jeep, visitors are guided around the rolling hills of central Pennsylvania viewing much more tame animals in a sawed in half school bus. However, that’s not to say that a safari at the park isn’t a fun way to see many interesting animals.
In fact, I think that the safari tour at Lake Tobias Wildlife Park is one of the most unique ways to see animals in all of Pennsylvania. As you drive through the grounds of the park, you’ll encounter hundreds of animals representing at least a dozen different species.
While many of the animals are quite common in zoos across the country, like buffalo and zebras, they also have many animals that you don’t often see, like the watusi or eland.
Even though seeing the many different herd animals interacting with each other is interesting, the best part is that you can actually hand feed most of the animals from the comfort of your bus seat. In fact, many of the animals will come right up to you whether you have food for them or not. Getting so close to the animals is definitely a unique and interesting experience.
While Lake Tobias Wildlife Park is known for their safari ride, that’s not the only reason to visit. They also have a smaller traditional zoo that features several exciting animals including lions, bears, alligators, and tigers.
What I really enjoyed about these exhibits is that you can get much closer to the animals than you can at many larger zoos. Despite this, the cages seemed to provide a good environment for the animals and were safe for visitors.
Lake Tobias also has a very nice reptile house that houses animals such as large snakes, sloths, and various amphibians. They put on a reptile show regularly, but unfortunately didn’t offer the show during my visit.
For younger children, there is also a small petting zoo that features many common petting zoo animals such as goats and llamas, among others.
Overall, I really enjoyed visiting Lake Tobias Wildlife Park. Their unique safari ride gave me a great chance to see several interesting animals up close, and the more traditional zoo provided several animals I expect to see when I visit a wildlife park.
While it might not have the great facilities and variety of animals that you would find at the Philadelphia Zoo, the Pittsburgh Zoo, or the National Zoo in DC, I would definitely recommend a visit for anyone looking for a unique way to see animals in Pennsylvania Dutch Country.
Note: My visit to Lake Tobias Wildlife Park was hosted by the Hershey Harrisburg Tourism Bureau. However, the opinions expressed in the article are my own and were not subject to review.
Lake Tobias Wildlife Park
Hours: Varies, See website
Cost: Admission $8, $15 with safari
Address: 760 Tobias Road