Welcome to Wildwood Wildlife Park, the home to more than 1,000 animals including endangered and threatened species. A privately
owned zoo purchased in 1997 by the Domaszek family, the story of the Wildwood Wildlife Park 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 Muskelunge. 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 rehabilitor 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 as philosophy dictated 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 Duane and Judy Domaszek with a proposal for the Domaszek’s to purchase the Minocqua park. Duane and Judy, along with son’s Ryan and Shawn, owned and operated a private game farm in Rosholt, WI, and 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 the Domaszek’s 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.
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 the hard work and dedication from the entire Wildwood Wildlife Park staff, 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 for another 100 years.