At one point, only five Mexican gray wolves and fourteen red wolves existed in the wild, says Steve Parker, director of operations at the nonprofit Endangered Wolf Center (6750 Tyson Valley Road; Eureka). Now, thanks to managed breeding and care facilities, those numbers have risen to 75 and 100 wolves, respectively -- and you can howl with some of them this summer! The Endangered Wolf Center reopens to the public after a couple months' closure for puppy season with a full calendar of food and fun.
The grand reopening, a Wine and Cheese Howl for adults, takes place on Wednesday, June 19, at 6:30 p.m. and features a sampling of wine from White Mule Winery and cheeses for $22 a person. From now through August, more events (including some for the kids) feature ice cream, brats, family cookouts, margaritas, beer and pretzels. Cookout events can seat up to 75 participants around the campfire.
Since 1971, the Endangered Wolf Center assisted with the birth of 41 pups in four litters. To get to its facilities, just head west on I-44 just a couple exits past Six Flags. There, a volunteer awaits at the gate and guides guests toward either the campsite or classroom for refreshments and a short program regarding the center's mission to protect wolves and reintroduce them into the wild.
"A guide leads a walk a half mile down the flat gravel road to howl at the wolves," says Parker. "The wolves almost always howl back. You get goosebumps from all the sounds coming from the hillside."
To see Mexican gray wolves, red wolves, maned wolves, African painted dogs and swift foxes (and some of those pups) upclose, schedule a daytime "Preda-Tour" between 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 1 p.m on Sundays. Private tours are also available Wednesdays through Saturdays. Call 636-938-5900 for event and tour reservations.
Page through for the Endangered Wolf Center's full summer event schedule.