Wolf Hollow – 114 Essex Road, Ipswich MA
What it is: Wolf Hollow is a non-profit educational conservation organization that offers an interactive one-hour presentation where visitors can observe the sanctuary’s resident wolf pack from seats in a covered pavilion. Basically you get to see the presenters feed the wolves and the wolves play while you learn about wolves, and there are many opportunities to ask questions. I was worried it might be boring, but it was most definitely not! The key presenter, Zee Soffron (son of the founders of Wolf Hollow), is a middle school art teacher in Andover and he does a great job engaging the kids in the audience, pacing the presentation well with breaks for questions and letting the kids guess answers to things like “how many wolves have attacked people in the past 100 years?” The answers are often surprising given the strong myths that many people believe about wolves. I brought my 3-year-old and even she made it 3/4 of the way through the presentation.
Cost: $8.50 for adults, $6 for seniors and kids aged 3-17.
What to know: Wolf Hollow is only open Saturdays and Sundays at 1pm, and the presentation begins at 1:30pm. Be early or on time! There was a long line of cars in the road waiting for gates to open when we arrived, so we got in it and they directed us where to park. (The lot is small and unpaved, so this is necessary.) The gift shop is where you buy your tickets. For antsy kids, there are printouts and crayons for kids to sit and color, and bones in glass cases to look at. For sale are wolf-ear headbands, stuffed animal wolves, t-shirts, magnets, stickers, etc. all reasonably priced. The bathroom is a porta-potty. There is no food or drink for sale.
Verdict: This is a truly unique (and inexpensive!) experience that will spark curiosity about wildlife and conservation in your children. They’ll discover that the same creatures we call big and bad in all of their storybooks are actually beautiful and playful and don’t want anything from humans but respect. It was surreal to be so close observing them – I loved it. I can’t wait to bring my daughter back when she’s a little older!
What’s Nearby: Crane Beach and the Crane Estate are a 5 minute drive.
Wolf Hollow 114 Essex Road, Ipswich MA