VIENNA, Ohio (WKBN) – The owners of a Vienna safari park are reflecting on their passion of more than 20 years.
The Bertok family is preparing to open Wagon Trails on Saturday for its final season.
“That’s Tootsie and Tootsie’s son, Gumby,” said Christine Bertok while looking at the llamas in the pasture.
Bertok says taking care of the more than 300 animals at their family-owned and operated wildlife safari park has been hard work, but a labor of love.
“Animals was always our passion and this was the way that we all came together as a family and made a living for 23 years with the animals that we love,” she said.
For more than two decades, the Bertok family has given animal lovers a chance to see wildlife like ostriches and zebras roaming around their property in Vienna. However, Saturday’s opening day will mark the start of Wagon Trails’ final season.
“The animals are our passion but as a lot of us get older it’s just the most logical thing to do, I think, at this point in the game. So that’s what the family all decided,” Bertok said.
Bertok says they will be keeping a few of the animals, including Alice the miniature cow and Clyde, who they’ve had since before the park was open.
“There’s a couple it would be very difficult to part with,” Bertok said.
But most are heading to a similar park in North Carolina after the park closes for the season.
“Headed south for better winters for sure,” Bertok said.
But Bertok says they’re excited for one last season of making memories with their visitors who’ve become friends.
“We look forward to seeing all the people that we’ve grown to see every year,” Bertok said.