The Early Years
The Wild Wilderness Safari, located north of Gentry, Arkansas, had its beginnings in the early 1950's. Ross
Wilmoth, born and raised in the Falling Springs community west of Decatur, Arkansas, married Freda Luttrell,
a native of Siloam Springs, Arkansas, in 1951. Ross, a World War II Navy Veteran who served in the Pacific
Rim and Japan, planned to settle down and raise a large family on a farm. Like many baby boomer families,
the Wilmoth's started with very little material possessions, but much ambition to achieve their American
dream. Little did they know that their small dairy farm in the 1950's would grow into a unique animal safari
that is home to many rare and exotic species.
In the 1960's, the Wilmoth's began an
exotic animal program involving
cross-breeding domestic cattle, such as
Herefords, Angus, and Brahmas, with
American Buffalo. They also began
raising large herds of elk and various
breeds of deer. Soon after, people in the
community began to bring orphaned or
injured animals the Wilmoth's, such as
deer, that the family would nurse and
nurture back to health.
As word of the Wilmoth farm spread throughout Northwest Arkansas, many visitors began coming to view
the animals. During these years, the family also stayed busy with maintaining eight poultry houses, raising
large field crops, continuing their cattle operations, and raising hay to feed the animals. With so much outside
interest, a family decision was made in the early 1970's to expand the exotic animal facet of the farm; and
thus, Wild Wilderness Drive Through Safari was established.
First time visitors are in for a pleasant surprise to
find such a beautiful animal park in a small town
nestled in the Ozarks. The Safari is open 365 days a
year. In the spring, many school groups visit the
park with bus-loads of excited children. Weekends
typically bring families who spend a pleasurable day
playing with the animals and having a picnic. Be
sure to plan your visit soon, and bring your camera
to snap pictures to show your friends and co-workers!
The Safari Today
Over 180 acres have now been developed into a park setting. The Safari has
expanded to include petting areas where visitors can interact with pygmy
goats and kangaroos. Other areas of the park include enclosed pens of
porcupines, cavies, exotic birds, primates, and zebras. In the drive-through
area, tigers, leopards, and lions may be found along with bears and hoofed
animals including cape buffalo, American bison, longhorn cattle, wildebeests,
camels, antelope, and numerous species of deer. There is also a hippopotamus
who has the pleasure of his own pond. Ostriches and emus also roam the park.
Wild Wilderness Drive-Through Safari - 20923 Safari Rd. - Gentry, AR 72734 - (479) 736-8383
Last Update: July 31, 2009
©2009 Wild Wilderness Drive-Through Safari, Inc.
||20923 Safari Road
Gentry, AR 72734