Matthew Lickona 10:45 a.m., May 24
I’ve been to all kinds of zoos and wild animal parks. I’ve seen a trillion different animals in these settings, examples of animals who roam the wild somewhere in the world. But nothing prepared me for the shock of fear I experienced when I caught sight of one of the wolves at the California Wolf Center in Julian.
I don’t know what it is exactly that makes wolves so scary to me, but they are. They're just so...wild. I didn’t even know I felt that way until I saw one emerge from behind a bush and approach the fence where I stood with Erin Hunt, the center’s general manager.
The fence was ten feet high with four feet of wire under the ground and four feet of overhang above, but the proximity was still unnerving. And thrilling.
The California Wolf Center currently has 19 wolves in 5 packs, two of which are “display packs” that they use in their public programs and private tours. The others are part of a special breeding program and are not allowed any kind of contact with the public.
For $20 per person, on Saturdays (check their website for hours, as they change depending on the season), you can participate in a 2-hour program that includes an educational presentation, observation of two packs of wolves, and a 5x7 photo of one of the wolves.
On Sundays, $10 per person will get you an abbreviated presentation and observation of one wolf-pack.
Discounts are available for seniors, students, and military. Youth and educational groups can also receive discounts. Private tours are also available. Reservations for all tours and programs must be made in advance.