So, you want to meet some wolves. The logical place to go is southern Indiana, right? Right!
Wolf Creek Habitat was established in 2000 by Terry and Kathy Baudendistel when they established their first pack of wolf-dog hybrids. They were motivated by the knowledge that so many were being put down because many people couldn’t handle them as pets. They built the rescue facility on their property in Brookville, Indiana. By 2003 they had decided to focus only on pure wolves and after five years, they opened their doors to the public. Wolf Creek Habitat is currently home to 32 wolves living in packs of two or more, each pack with its own enclosure.
Wolf Creek continues to rescue wolf cubs four months old or younger. Older wolves are much harder to assimilate into an existing pack. Wolf Creeks also breeds wolf cubs to be sent to other educational facilities.
Wolf Creek Habitat is open every weekend for wolf viewing, but be aware that the wolves are not very active when the temperature is very hot. A raised platform provides an excellent view of several of the enclosures. Often the wolves come out to greet their visitors, but sometimes they are a little shy. Occasionally, the staff will give visitors marshmallows to toss to the wolves in order to entice them to come out. Who knew wolves had a sweet tooth?
While there is no cost to simply view the wolves, donations are always appreciated to help defray the cost of feeding the wolves.
After you’ve had a chance to view the wolves, decide if you’re ready for a closer encounter. Weekend wolf interactions are not scheduled in advance. Just let a staff member know that you’d like to do an interaction, pay the $20 fee, and sign the disclaimer form. You might want to read this letter from the wolves also.
There is no set age requirement for this activity; staff members will determine if a child is able to remain calm and follow instructions before allowing him to enter the enclosure. They are very conscientious about visitor safety and will not permit anyone in the enclosure who they feel is at risk. Wolf interactions are done with only one of the packs and most of these wolves were bottle-fed and socialized from an early age. While they are unable to guarantee anyone’s safety around these wild animals, in all of their years of operation, no visitor has ever been bitten.
Interacting with the wolves is an amazing experience. At first, staff members give the wolves some time to become acquainted with the visitors, and then they will encourage petting.
Expect to receive some “wolfy kisses” and for the wolves to rub up against you.
When the wolves are shedding their winter coats, they may allow you to help pull off some fur.
You might even forget that these are wolves and think you are playing with large dogs.
If you plan to interact with the wolves, plan ahead and dress appropriately. Wear clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty: long pants, close-toed shoes, and nothing with fringe or anything the wolves could grab. It is best not to wear hair in a ponytail because the wolves might mistake it for a toy and tug it.
Small cameras are permitted in the enclosure, but they won’t allow you to risk having your expensive cameras broken by the wolves.
During our visit, we experienced a rather rare treat: playing with wolf cubs. These cubs were about three months old at the time.
These rambunctious cubs acted just like you would expect a puppy to act.
They jumped all over us, licked us, scratched us, and tried to chew pant legs and everything else.
So, we got a few scratches, but nothing major. It was absolutely worth it to play with these adorable babies. Who could resist a face like this?
After a while they settled down a little. My daughters have a way with animals and the wolf babies liked having them rub their bellies.
Private wolf interactions can also be scheduled on Fridays for $30 per person, but these are frequently booked up months in advance. Before you leave, browse the unique items in the gift shop. All purchases help support the care and feeding of the wolves.
Ready to visit?
Wolf Creek Habitat
14099 Wolf Creek Road
Brookville, IN 47012
Saturday and Sunday: 11 a.m.–5 p.m.; Interactions end at 4 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Interactions end at 5 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Interactions end at 4 p.m.
Donations appreciated to cover the cost of food
Wolf viewing: free
Wolf Interactions: $20 donation per person