“What do you think is in this bucket?” asked Z Soffron, Assistant Director of Wolf Hollow, as he emerged through the pack with a large orange pail. “Raw meat?”
He dumped it on the ground and we saw large red dripping chunks, which the wolves excitedly started lapping at. Nope, it was homemade apple and watermelon “popsicles” (just fruit pieces frozen in water, an appropriate summer snack for your canines, as well).
While verbally reminding us that they are wild keystone predators, by serving what is basically a healthy version of the snowcones featured at the festival’s entrance, they made these creatures instantly relatable as well.
And that seems to be the point of Wolf Hollow’s Free Family Fun Fest. Wolf Hollow is a non-profit wolf education center, and an affordable day trip any season ($7.50 adults, $5.00 children and seniors). But once a year they open their gates for free so newcomers can check out what there is to learn, and old fans and new friends can enjoy the celebratory atmosphere.
It was very crowded–not overly so or in a bad way–but one could see how taking in these fascinating animals in their multi-acre sanctuary like atmosphere would take on a whole different tone on a quieter day, and I’m sure many first-time visitors (like us!) are now eager to have that experience as well.
But the Family Fun Festival is a good way to do it once a year, too. The usual hour long presentation was cut in half. While it was well done and made me curious about what else there is to learn, the shorter time is great for the younger children. As were the games and activities, including a coloring contest, puppet making, tye-dying, Pin the Nose on the Wolf, and more. There were food and drink vendors, and if you saw the post I made on the Facebook feed, the free Ipswich Ale Brewery samples for the adults did not disappoint! I recommend the summer ale!
The rest of the year they have hour presentations on weekend days (going down to Sundays only during the thick of winter) at 1:30pm. They are occasionally cancelled due to bad weather or special events so it is good to call first. Groups of 20 or larger, like school field trips or camp groups, can schedule presentations by appointment on weekdays.
Wolf Hollow supports its wolves and their habitat through their modest admission fees, gift shop sales, private donations, special fundraisers, and their Adopt a Wolf program so if you go and enjoy it, support them!
When I ask a small child what their favorite animal is, I find I often get one of several answers: dinosaurs (a lot to learn but sadly extinct), unicorns (imaginary, but many great creative myths) or wolves. With the latter, you’re in luck. Two local non-profits aim to feature them and educate us about them. There are the Mexican Grey Wolves at Stone Zoo and the the British Colombian Timber Wolves at Wolf Hollow. We’ve got easy access to these popular but occasionally misunderstood animals, so take advantage of it!