Every once in a while I get an itch to try to find that really great gift for someone I love. It’s always fun to give gifts, but it’s really fun to give that really unique gift that you know they will be truly excited about. I am also a big proponent of gifting experiences because pretty much everyone has enough “stuff”. This past Christmas, I really wanted to get my nephew T something special. T is an animal lover, so I started researching various options. Of course there were things like the zoo – but that’s nothing new and exciting. T-shirts, stuffed animals… even animal adoption… were all things I had done for him before. Then I randomly typed the phrase wolves (one of his favorite animals) and Cincinnati into my search engine and the magic that is Google spat this back out at me:
I was intrigued. I followed the link to learn more. Wolf Creek Habitat is about an hour outside of Cincinnati, located near Brookville, Indiana. It is the home to an Indiana family and a sanctuary for their 20+ wolves. These people seriously just love their wolves and want to share these amazing creatures with the world. To this end, they host hours when the public can come observe and appreciate the wolves – FOR FREE. But, even better than that… you can opt to pay a small fee and actually go into the enclosure. You can pet, experience and yes… even be licked by the wolves.
I had found the perfect gift.
A few short months later, my nephew came to stay with us for a few days over spring break and the two of us headed out to the Wolf Creek Habitat. As luck would have it, there were TWO litters of puppies born a few days before our visit. We could not touch them due to their age, but their puddle of puppy cuteness, was enough to make me melt.
We spent some time walking above the enclosures while we waited for our enclosure time. At one point, one of the caretakers went into a back enclosure and howled at the wolves. Every single one of them responded. I got it on video, but it doesn’t do it justice. It was so incredible to experience – there were goosebumps on my arms.
We then got to go into the enclosures. The staff does an excellent job laying the ground rules for the visitors so that everyone stays safe, including the wolves. The wolves showed a lot of interest when we first entered the enclosure, including walking right up to people and licking their faces and using their paws to get people to pet them. Of course they also made it clear when they were “over it” and would walk away to go sun themselves somewhere else.
Words can not describe how amazing it was to be in the presence of these animals. They were so strong and impressive in size, but still so sweet at the same time. You could tell that certain wolves have favorites among the people who care for them and the relationships between them and the wolves was cool to see. The agility and peacefulness of the wolves left a strong impression on me. As did the soulfulness of their eyes.
I found it really interesting to witness the wolf pack relationships up close and personal. One of the enclosures had a pack of siblings and there was a very clear alpha male, alpha female, beta female and omega female. You hear about that stuff, but I have never seen it so defined in real life.
As you can probably tell, I really enjoyed the experience. But, it was my nephew’s present right? It was also cool to see him interact with the wolves. He was timid at first, but then the experience took over. One wolf in particular kept kissing him and he was eating it up. T has had his share of challenges in his life, so I love that he was able to have an afternoon enmeshed in what he loved. I hope the memories stick with him as much as they have with me.
So if you are looking for a really cool experience, I recommend checking out the Wolf Creek Habitat. Make sure you read their restrictions on height and clothing before you go. And if you want to give back a little something, they can also use donations. Check out their website and Facebook page for more information (and more adorable puppy pictures.)