Visit: Lakota Wolf Preserve {Columbia, New Jersey}

by Cate on September 17, 2017

Looking for something unique to do for an afternoon of adventuring? A visit to the Lakota Wolf Preserve might be just the thing.

Lakota Wolf Preserve

Surprisingly enough, visiting the Lakota Wolf Preserve has been on my list of “things to do” since at least 2013.

Or that’s the last time I have documented it.

Isn’t that always the way with things that are near you? You tend to keep putting them off, because it’s reasonably convenient to get to, and you take it for granted.

Well this is the year we finally crossed it off our list!

Lakota Wolf Preserve

Summer was starting to wind down, yet we weren’t quite ready to give up on our quest for fun, and finally decided to go visit the preserve. Like, enough already, just DO IT.

The Lakota Wolf Preserve is located in Columbia, New Jersey, kind of in the middle of nowhere (so plan gas needs and bathroom stops accordingly), but it’s actually only about forty-five minutes from us. They run guided tours twice a day, at 10 am and 4 pm, and you need to make reservations ahead of time to go on a tour; you are also required to arrive thirty minutes before your tour starts.

On our way there, to be honest, I wasn’t quite sure I was in the right area. It looked like a residential area, and then, all of the sudden, we saw the sign and pulled into the lot.

Lakota Wolf Preserve

We had to give our license plate number to the office staffer when we signed in, and then waited a few minutes to catch a shuttle bus to the main area where the wolves are kept. You can walk there, but it’s a bit of a hike through a twisty roadway through a campground that the preserve shares space with and … well … I just wasn’t sure I wouldn’t get lost along the way.

They have two older, slightly rickety shuttle buses to bring visitors up to the wolf den area, and once everyone is there, the owners start their tour.

Lakota Wolf Preserve

Owned by a husband and wife team, and the only employees, this is clearly a passion project. They have raised the wolves from babies, and have many new litters every year (though they are limited by the state as to how many they can keep, so some babies are later relocated to other similar preserves). Some of their wolves are also rescues from other areas.

The husband led the tour and gave us a run down on their wolves, what they do at the preserve, and their mission, and took questions at the end. The wolves were all in separate runs, based on their packs, and they have tons of big open space to roam around. They all have names, and at one point, the wife called out to them by name, and the wolves answered by howling. It was pretty awesome.

Lakota Wolf Preserve

Lakota Wolf Preserve

Lakota Wolf Preserve

The owner kept the wolves coming to the front of their gates by throwing them treats as he talked to us.

Once everyone had their questions answered, we could check out the pens (from a safe distance, of course) for a few minutes before we were directed to another area, where his wife introduced us to their resident foxes.

Lakota Wolf Preserve

There isn’t a lot of shade, and there is a bit of walking, so keep that in mind when going on hot summer days, especially with little ones. Once the tour was concluded, everyone boarded the shuttle bus back for the five minute ride to the main office.

I honestly could have just watched the wolves for longer, but it is very definitely a guided tour, and they keep everyone moving along. All in, the tour lasted about an hour and a half. Wolves do not roam the state of New Jersey, so here, the only way you’ll see them is in a zoo or this preserve. It definitely made for a fun and interesting afternoon.

Lakota Wolf Preserve
89 Mount Pleasant Road
Columbia, NJ

Hungry for more day trips or afternoon adventures?
You can visit Thomas Edison’s estate, museum, and laboratory for a rich step back into his life and mind.
Head for the Jersey shore and Jenkinson’s Aquarium. It’s small, but packed with many sea creatures and knowledgeable and friendly staff.
If you have an avid rock collector or history buff in your family, visit the Sterling Hill Mining Museum.
Brookhollow’s Barnyard might have been the cutest farm we’ve visited so far.
The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms is a great step back in time.
For even more activity ideas in the tri-state area, visit this appropriately-themed Pinterest board.

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