What's less expensive than a trip to the zoo but just as fun and educational? A visit to an animal santuary! More specifically, a wolf sanctuary.
On a recent trip to Naples, my husband and I came across these words in a local magazine: "Pet a wolf."
Um... yes, please!
Two days later, we found ourselves at Shy Wolf Santuary Education and Experience Center, about 13 miles northeast of downtown Naples. We were so eager to get there that we didn't even have breakfast. For two hours, we learned the difference between a wolf and a dog, petted a few of the gentler residents and even got to hear the wolves howl awhile.
We also saw other animals, including panthers, a prarie dog, a fox, a rabbit and more. It wasn't until we'd returned to our car that we realized how hungry we'd gotten. As we drove off in search of food, the song playing on Lite 93.7 FM was – I kid you not – Duran Duran's Hungry Like the Wolf.
Some tips for visiting:
- Call ahead. There's only one tour per day, starting at 9 a.m., and reservations are required. Reserve your spot at at 239-455-1698.
- Wear long pants and close-toed shoes.
- Leave shiny objects, like sunglasses and dangly jewelry, in the car. But do bring your camera.
- Bring cash. Tours are free, but be prepared to chip in a donation at the end.
Shy Wolf is at 1161 27th Street SW. Get more information or ShyWolfSanctuary.com.