Welcome to the Wildwood Wildlife Park. The zoo has been privately owned since we purchased it in 1997 and is home to 700 animals featuring more than 100 varied species, many of which are endangered. So many of our friends have come to know and love the park thanks to its former owners, the Peck family. For our new friends, we'd like to share the story of the Wildwood Wildlife Park.
Wildwood Wildlife Park's story began more than 50 years ago when Jim Peck, purchased land on the then outskirts of Minocqua, Wisconsin with the vision of creating a place where his love of animals could be shared with the public. In 1957, Jim's first order of business was the creation of two large ponds inhabited by Rainbow Trout and Muskellunge. In the spring of 1959, "Bambi", an injured Whitetail fawn, became the first resident of what would become "Jim Peck's Wildwood Kingdom."
Jim's love of animals and reputation as a rehabilitater grew beyond the Minocqua area as he opened his home to care for orphaned, abandoned and injured animals. The animals that were nursed back to health were unable to be released back into the wild; these creatures needed constant care and protection from other predators. Soon, exhibits were constructed to house these new residents and Peck allowed neighbors to come to the park to see how the animals were adjusting to their new homes. At the suggestion of friends, Jim placed a donation box at the park entrance to help defray the cost of feeding the park's permanent residents. By the end of that first year, Jim Peck's Wildwood Kingdom, now a family affair, officially opened to the public.
During the early years, the zoo consisted of over 35 varieties of animals including a fawn yard as well as barnyard friends: calves, goats, baby chicks and bunnies. It wasn't long before word began to spread, people from around the state began traveling to Minocqua, joining area residents as guests at the park. Without a doubt, the Petting Zoo was the top attraction. Jim's theme was "Pet 'em - Hold 'em - Love 'em" and the guests couldn't get enough of the hands-on exhibits. Walking among the Whitetail deer was another popular spot where guests could pet and feed the deer. As the exhibits grew, barns were constructed to provide year-round homes for the resident animals.
In 1995 the family owned business known as Jim Peck's Wildwood approached us, Duane and Judy Domaszek, with a proposal to purchase the Minocqua park. At that time we owned and operated, along with son's Ryan and Shawn, a private game farm in Rosholt, WI. We all understood the commitment, total dedication, daily supervision, care and responsibility this endeavor would require. Aware that there are no days off when you are responsible for a park of live animals that need full-time care, the family made the decision to accept the offer.
In 1997 we purchased the park from the Peck family and moved to Minocqua with a vision of nurturing and rebuilding the zoo as the new owners of Wildwood Wildlife Park.
Our family and staff are dedicated to the preservation and conservation of all animals. Wildwood Wildlife Park teamʼs mission: to provide an exciting zoological collection and educational facility for all visitors. Promoting life-long learning by enriching minds, fostering environmental respect, while helping prepare our visitors for our conservation future. We strive to provide experiences that last a lifetime with every visit no matter your age.
Wildwood Wildlife Park is a privately owned zoo which means the zoo does not receive local, state or federal funding of any kind. All admission proceeds go directly towards the care of the animals and upkeep of the zoo which includes animal housing, appropriate animal diets, veterinary care, new exhibits, utilities and year-round maintenance of the zoo facilities.
From its humble beginnings with a trout and musky pond and the acceptance of "Bambi" as the first park resident in 1957, the zoo has experienced a multitude of changes and extensive growth.
Daily programs are held at the Wildwood Wildlife Park amphitheater where visitors learn about various mammals, birds, primates, and reptiles. The park's staff works hard to provide a variety of educational programs and learning experiences at the zoo. Thanks to this hard work and dedication, the park received the prestigious Zoological Association of American accreditation in June 2008.
Wildwood Wildlife Park supports classroom studies and offers an environment where students can engage in meaningful science and wildlife experiences, all while having fun.
Wildwood Wildlife Park has embarked on a master development plan which highlights proposals for future expansions and renovations. This on-going development will enable the zoo to continue to build a world-class destination.
We are excited to include social media as part of our conservation and education conversation and hope you'll follow our blog and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.
In the end, we will conserve only what we love;
We will love only what we understand;
We will understand only what we are taught.