Get up close and personal with the friendly, exotic animals at Lake Tobias Wildlife Park. This unique zoo experience includes an open-air safari tour, petting zoo, reptile building, a museum, and dozens of outdoor exhibits and habitats. Read on for more wild details!
Lake Tobias’ signature attraction, the Safari Tour, invites the whole family for a wild ride filled with animals who come right up to greet you. From your seat in the open-air safari cruiser, say hello to elk, bison, deer, antelope, flightless birds, and exotic animals like the Watusi (African cattle) and Asian Water Buffalo. In all, more than 500 animals roam freely across 150 acres of rolling hills.
In addition to seeing the animals up close, your expert tour guide will share knowledge about the species and habitats of the friends you encounter. Did you know that the water buffalo has 3 times the fat content in its milk compared to our cattle species? That’s why their milk is said to make the world’s best mozzarella cheese!
Before you board the bus, stock up on animal treats to help coax the animals to come in for a closer look. Their favorite snacks include carrots, pellets, and popcorn. Due to safety regulations and risk of contamination, you may only feed animals the special food sold at the designated Lake Tobias concession stands.
The newest sights (or heights) at Lake Tobias are two reticulated giraffes – Spike & Bakari! Take the walking trail through the newest section of the park to find these fellas roaming in their three-acre pasture. Giraffes are the tallest land animal, and seeing these lofty lads up close is a truly unique experience. Lake Tobias also offers visitors a chance to give Spike & Bakari a special treat from an elevated feeding platform. A giraffe’s diet is strict, and food selection and feeding times vary by day. The ability to feed the giraffes on your visit is not guaranteed.
The giraffes are the first stage of a multi-year park expansion, so stay tuned to find out which animals Lake Tobias will welcome to the park!
The heart of the park includes dozens of outdoor habitats, including some of the world’s most fearsome species like the African lions, Bengal tigers, and Black Bears. The Gibbon apes are a park favorite, delighting guests with their expressive faces and singing. Lake Tobias also has countless birds, from the astonishingly large ostrich and tropical birds to the peacocks, chickens, and guineafowl who roam freely around the park. Check out their interactive park map and chart your adventure!
Inside the Reptile Building, you’ll find custom-designed habitats for slithering and scaly creatures including Poison dart frogs, pythons, alligators, and lizards. You’ll also see tortoises, two-toed tree sloths, and the energetic Tamarins who are always bouncing about their enclosure, full of energy and swinging from branch to branch. Catch a 20-minute reptile show where you’ll learn about the zoo’s conservation efforts and see a creature or two up close.
The Lake Tobias’ Petting Zoo is a perfect way for children to interact with the park’s domesticated farm animals. Walk among these friendly and well-socialized creatures including adorable African pygmy goats and give an alpaca an al-snacka! Do keep in mind that the petting zoo animals love attention, but they are not trained. Keep your little ones close because these eager eaters might jump up to say hello and have been known to occasionally nibble on your shirt.
Lake Tobias Wildlife Park is part zoo, part African safari, part farm, and all family labor of love. The Tobias family has operated the park for more than 50 years, and they take pride in delivering one of the region's most unique experiences to visitors each day.
If you’re wondering how these exotic animals ended up in Halifax, it all started with J.R. Tobias, the park’s founder and lifetime animal lover. Learn more about Tobias, his vision, and his animals through the exhibits at the J.R. Tobias Museum & Education Center. There’re also a few animal exhibits inside as well including colorful toucans and a 500 gallon freshwater aquarium!
We’ve talked a lot about the zoo, but Lake Tobias really does have a lake! During park hours, they offer catch-and-release fishing in the main lake that holds bass, trout, and bluegills. In addition to park admission, it’s $3 per person 13 years of age and older. Children 12 and younger can fish for free when accompanied by a paying fisherman who is 16 years and up. Guests provide their own bait and rod. A fishing license is not required.
Lake Tobias Wildlife Park is open daily May through Labor Day, and on weekends in September and October. View the 2019 park hours. The best times of the year to visit are May/June and in the fall because the animals are most active in cooler temperatures. The best times of the week to visit are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and we recommend doing the Safari Tour first thing in the morning or the last stop in the evening. Lake Tobias is open annually on Columbus Day, a choice day for a fun fall field trip. If you like celebrations, check out their special events including Founders Day, Pioneer Day, Scavenger Hunt, and Wild Days Weekend.
One of the best things about Lake Tobias is its affordability! 2019 rates are $8 for a Walkabout Ticket (includes zoo exhibits, petting zoo, reptile building, and museum) and $15 for an Explorer Ticket (all the above plus the Safari Tour). Children under two and active military personnel and veterans (with military ID) are free. Additionally, parking is free!
You can purchase food and drink at several concession stations in the park. In the center of the park, you’ll find hot and cold sandwiches and ice cream at the Grille & Grub and the Chill Zone, both nearby the gift shop. The Hub Refreshment Stand and Safari Station sell snacks like popcorn and candy in addition to carrots and pellets to feed the animals.
Visitors can pack their own lunches and enjoy them at one of several pavilions and picnic tables nearby the parking lots and playground areas.