Monday, November 30, 2009

Wolf Howl

Willa and Evan at the Campfire Wolf Howl. Photo Courtesy of Morton-Holden.

St Louis is fortunate to be the home of the Wolf Sanctuary - a.k.a. the Wild Canid Center. Located near Highway 44 & Antire Road at the Tyson Research Center, the Wolf Santuary is the country's most successful canid conservation, education, reproduction and research center. Although the Sanctuary has limited daytime visiting hours they do offer a fairly regular evening opportunity for folks to come out and participate in a campfire wolf howl. Here's how it works: Basically, you make your reservation in advance, pay 10 bucks, and drive out to the center around 7pm. You hang out in the main entrance while the rest of the group arrives and then head down to the campfire area around 7:30pm. The program starts with a fireside chat, the purpose of which is to dispel myths and falsehoods about wolves. Ours was led by the education coordinator and her sidekick, a gruff-voiced, semi-sarcastic but well-meaning curmudgeon type of guy. The program was loosely strung and, while clearly designed for kids, was full of some interesting facts and lighthearted humor. At this point, you're warned, again, that the wolves do their own thing ~ meaning that they may or may not at the end of the night when you walk to the enclosures for a little howl and response. On our particular night, last Wednesday, the wolves did howl briefly during the ed program but not at all at the enclosures. On the way back, the crowd visit the gift shop (a really cool WWII bunker that stored ammunition) for hot chocolate, cookies, and, of course, purchases! Overall, it was a fun night, especially for the youngsters. And, even though we couldn't get those wolves to howl for us, the money went to a great cause.

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