At their annual luncheon, Wichita's convention and visitors bureau, Visit Wichita, awarded Jim and Sherri Fouts with the Lifetime Achievment Award. This rarely-given honor recognizes an individual with an unsurpassed commitment to Wichita's travel and hospitality industry.
Here is an exerpt from the presentation:
"They have made a lasting impact on the Wichita area with their love of and investment in animals. Jim actually began his career as a keeper at the Sedgwick County Zoo in 1972. In 1985, they bought 5 acres in Goddard, beginning tours in what was their own backyard in 2000. By 2004, over 4,000 people were visiting and the vision for a world-class facility on 51 acres began. They are now world leaders in breeding and endangered species at one of the largest family-owned zoos in the country. When we take visitors to Tanganyika, they always say the same thing... they can't believe they are in Kansas and that they have never had so many animal encounters before. Jim, Sherri and their family give visitors the unique opportunity to experience animals up close, which helps foster a love and understanding of animals for all who visit."
The presentation was followed up with an emotional testimony from Terry Newman, chairman of the board for Visit Wichita, about how Tanganyika had touched the hearts of one of his employees before losing a battle with cancer.
Since Jim and Sherri expanded the wildlife park in 2008, it has quickly become a regional attraction for the Midwest with frequent visitors from Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Colorado and more thanks to their unique animal experiences and committment to rare and endangered species.