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Friday, August 31, 2012

Summer Fun: A Trip to Lake Tobias in Halifax, PA

We tried to stay busy this summer (sometimes a success) and in August we made a trip with my daughter's girl scout troop to Lake Tobias in Halifax, PA.  Lake Tobias is a family-owned large wildlife park in central Pennsylvania.  They offer safari tours, reptile shows, petting zoo, a gift shop and more.  Some really great features of Lake Tobias are their practically free-range animals, unbanded gators and their prices.  It really upsets me to see large animals in tiny cages, treated poorly and neglected.  I am so happy and comfortable spending my money at this park. 
It's really exciting to see familiar animals like lions, bears (the lions and bears are quite lazy at Lake Tobias and probably the least entertaining of all the animals) and zebras (you can feed these guys!).  There are some very unfamiliar creatures as well, like the capybara, which looks like large otters and the watusi that look like cows with massive, heavy horns.  There are many different species of monkeys, birds and more that kids and adults will love to watch. 

This guy appeared to be copying the visitors.  There's seating behind him and he was trying to sit just like they were.  The visitors had the decency to use the restrooms to relieve themselves though!

A Capybara.  Very big.  There was a warning to NOT feed them.  They are bitey.

Also bitey, but no warnings against feeding them.  There were warnings not to put your head or hands too close though, because they are known to stick their heads out and take a taste. Their bite is more like a goose bite (that's really all I have to compare it with).  It hurts less than a child with sharp teeth.

Friendly zebras were also jumpy.  They ran away a lot but always returned for the crackers.

Friendly piggies.

Zach, daddy and Henry watching some animals.

On the safari tour you can feed the mammals (most of them look like different types of deer and cattle...although by writing that I'm probably making dozens of biologists rip out their hair in frustration!) and flightless birds.  The guide will share lots of interesting information about habitats and behaviors of these animals.  I get the most excited seeing the elk because they are just so massive.  My kids were probably most enamoured with the baby mammals and their favorites were any animals that came to eat from their hands.  A tip: late afternoon trips during the hot months seem to be a little less entertaining because the animals are too hot and tired to be hanging out in the sun.  Also, during mating season we were told that sometimes the male elk may charge the buses, feeling that they are a threat to their females.  How neat (or scary), depending on how you feel about large, angry animals! 

I think these were the Watusi. 

Full and lazy meant no visiting with us.

Almost close enough to touch but they were hot and tired.

Not an elk, but at least these guys were still hungry and gentle.

Buffalo?  He wasn't getting away without a pet from Amara.

In the petting zoo area you can find camels, llamas, goats, guinea pigs and other cool animals.  Not all of the animals are available for petting but the ones that are are very friendly.  Be careful though, because some like to eat clothing and hair! 

Friendly animals in the petting zoo.

Feisty camels weren't interested in us, only each other.

Jonas loved the petting zoo the most.

Henry wasn't sure what to think!

Jo probably hit up every single pettable animal there.

The reptile and exotic animal room is full of snakes, lizards, tortoises, alligators, sloths and more.  My kids were able to touch a snake and a gator!  Some of these animals were rescued from neglected homes.  They have shows at intervals during park hours where educators will teach about certain animals.  We learned about the alligators (I hope I really mean gators and not crocs!) and sloths during the show we attended. 

The tortoises are old and friendly.

This gator bit someone earlier but as long as you keep your hands away from his face you'll be fine!

The reptile show.

BIG snake!
 They also have a small playground and picnic tables for lunch and resting so day trips are made easy.  You can pack lunch or purchase from the concession stand.

Well worth the day trip! 

$6 for ages 3 and up.
$5 for the safari tour for ages 3 and up.
Group rates are available. 

Lake Tobias is located at:
Lake Tobias Wildlife Park • 760 Tobias Road, Halifax Pa 17032

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