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Our Story

Hello there and welcome to our website!  Here is our little story about how Big Joel's Safari came to be. 
My wife, Mimi and I opened Big Joel's Safari Petting Zoo and Educational Park to the public in July, 2012. Our facility is a zoo and agri-tourism attraction recognized by the Missouri Farm Bureau. We are a privately funded and licensed facility. We do not receive funds from the government or receive any donations from any organizations or the public.
Before opening our zoo to you all, we had been working with and raising animals for many years. In fact, we have had many of our larger residents since they were only a few weeks old. Such as "Clyde" one of our male zebras and "Pumpkin" our bison cow. I have always had a passion for animals and received my first "exotic" pet, a ball python, when I was 6 years old. It only grew from there as you can see today! I played college football for Mizzou and graduated with my degree in Animal Sciences in 2007. It was at Mizzou that I met my wife Melissa, "Mimi", who also shared a passion for animals. She almost went to school to be a veterinarian, but became an occupational therapists instead (don't worry I have forgiven her). 

After graduation, in my spare time I began working with various species at different animal facilities.  Here I learned valuable lessons I couldn't learn in a classroom.  Over the years we kept adding more animals to our property. Friends and family enjoyed coming over to see the animals and as the word spread, many people would stop in the driveway to view the animals. It was from the encouragement of friends, that we began to plan opening a small zoo.
Years of learning to care and handle different animals helped us create what you can come see today. We are members of the ZAA ( Zoological Association of America) and other organizations to further our education in animal care and our park. It wasn't always easy though when we both were working full-time jobs, building the zoo, and taking care of the animals. Now it is my full-time job and Mimi's part-time job. We are proud of our animals, family, and employees that have helped us create our one of kind farm. But don't worry, we are not done just yet, as we are always planning new projects.
So that is the short story of how our farm became a zoo.  To keep up on new projects, animals, and news "Like" us on Facebook. We would like to thank you for taking the time to learn a little about us, our zoo, and of course, the animals. We hope to see you soon!

Big Joel & Mimi

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