Southern Utah News Articles
Dreamland Safari Tours celebrates 20 years
Dreamland Safari Tours had even more cause than most to celebrate over the fourth of July weekend. The Kanab-based tour company commemorated their 20th anniversary by hosting a fun-filled Fourth of July afternoon for over 100 attendees with lots of outdoor games, live music from the Stone Company and the White Sage Gurus, food and drinks from Big Water BBQ and Zion Brewery and a raffle to finish up the festivities.
To help kick off the celebratory weekend, their dinosaur themed float was awarded the Mayor’s Choice award in the float competition during the Kanab Fourth of July parade. Watching the T-Rex’s dance around on the moving float was a crowd favorite.
This 20-year milestone is especially sweet to Dreamland Safari owners, Sunny Stroeer and Paul Gagner, who purchased the company March 6, 2020, literally days before the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the nation, forcing many businesses, including theirs, to shut down.
Stroeer recalls, “The first few weeks and months were scary and stressful. We thought we might be bankrupt before we ever even had a chance to do anything with the business, and we arrived in Kanab right when social distancing and quarantines began to erode the tangible fibers of social connection.
“Despite all that,” she continues, “and despite us being brand new to town, the local business community rallied around us to help see us through the early days of the shutdown: from local love to regional grants to a well-received crowdfunding campaign that enabled us to put our guides back to work even while we weren’t running tours. Kanab helped us get through the reality of COVID, and we are grateful that we weren’t just able to survive 2020, but are thriving and blessed with an amazing team of guides.”
When Stroeer and Gagner took over the company in 2020, there were six guides, 10 vehicles and an estimated 3,000 guests in a year. Now, a little over a year later, even amidst COVID slowing them down in the beginning, they employ fifteen guides, own sixteen vehicles and estimate to host between 8,000-10,000 guests by the end of 2021. Their challenge has been finding enough guides and team members to help in the shop, mostly due to the housing market in Kanab, which makes it difficult for any out of town hiring. They are currently looking for help in their shop for anyone wanting to join the Dreamland team!
The twenty year legacy began in 2001, with David and Marilyn DeVooght, jumpstarting a tour company in response to a demand for scenic tours in the Kanab area. The company transferred ownership in 2011, to William and Meghann James, and once again in 2021, when Stroeer and Gagner became the owners.
The success of Dreamland Safari Tours after 20 years is surely a tribute to the combined endeavors of past and present ownership in their efforts of making their dream become a reality.