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 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 also constructed by Mr. Tobias using the heavy equipment he owned for his excavating and grading business. J.R. owned several businesses throughout the years, including a cement block 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 150,000 park visitors each season. Lake Tobias relies strictly on park revenue for its financial support and does not receive any state or federal funding.