We had been close before to being able to claim “best in the nation,” but had not quite made it over the hump.
Thanks to you, that is no longer the case! The official results are in – Fossil Rim Wildlife Center is the 2020 USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest winner for Best Safari Park!
“Fossil Rim Wildlife Center sincerely appreciates the many people who voted for this conservation organization as the Best Safari Park in 2020,” said Executive Director Kelley Snodgrass. “Furthermore, it is only possible through the efforts of the collective group who supports Fossil Rim that we will be able to address the enormous challenges facing nature today.”
The 19 nominees in this category were chosen by a panel of editors from USA TODAY; editors from 10Best.com; relevant expert contributors; and sources for both these media and other Gannett (owner of USA TODAY) properties. From there, it was all about four weeks of public voting to crown a champion.
The contest began in March, but was paused with the rise of COVID-19. Although Fossil Rim was not one of the few at the very top when the contest resumed in June, supporters like you changed that in a hurry. Within 24 hours, we had vaulted up to No. 1!
On the last day the leaderboard was shown, and a few days before voting end, we definitely fell behind two-time, defending champion Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park. Knowing the win would be very difficult, we challenged our supporters to help us finish strong and regain the premier position.
Sure enough, enthusiastic voters like you rose to the occasion and we were informed we had won the contest for the first time! Here are the final top-ten standings:
- Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
- Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park (Nebraska)
- Bearizona Wildlife Park (Arizona)
- San Diego Zoo Safari Park (California)
- Wildlife Safari (Oregon)
- Safari West (California)
- Virginia Safari Park (Virginia)
- The Wilds (Ohio)
- Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch (Texas)
- Lion Country Safari (Florida)
Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park has been a force to be reckoned with in this contest, finishing first in 2019, first in 2018, and second in 2017. That is why we are so impressed and proud of supporters like you for helping us reestablish control of the contest even after they had overtaken our position!
Previous finishes for Fossil Rim include fifth in 2019, second in 2018, and third in 2017.
The 10Best.com website averages five million visitors per month, so this could be a true game changer for us in terms of national exposure. People who never previously heard of Fossil Rim will be able to come experience the wondrous sights and sounds that you have come to know and love.
Again, thank you so much for voting, no matter how many times. And thanks if you got your friends and family on board with voting for us, as well.
The next time you visit and see your favorite animal, be sure to mention to them that you voted for their home. They just might understand – you never know!
-Tye Chandler, Marketing Associate