When is Black Pine open?
Black Pine's first priority is the care of the animals, so program options vary by season and may be affected by staff availability. (If conflicts arise that affect published tour times, they will be announced on this website, on the visitor calendar, in posts on Facebook, and tweets on Twitter.)
Hours vary by tour type and day. Review tour types, and reference table below.
We must preface the definition of "General Visitation" with what makes a visit to Black Pine special, the opportunity to meet the animals and learn about each, and to see them as the individuals they are. By joining an animal keeper for a staff-guided tour you will have the best opportunity to see active, responsive animals, to hear their personal histories, be able to ask questions, learn more about why sanctuaries like Black Pine exist, and how they serve animals in need. General Visitation (touring "on your own") is also available, and may be more suitable for repeat visitors to Black Pine, for those with infants or toddlers, for those with special needs, or when staff-guided tour schedules are too time constraining for your agenda. Please note, general visitation is not recommended for first-time visitors Read more here....
No appointments are required or accepted unless you plan to visit with a group of 20 or more. Please note, all visitors are required to adhere to and respect all posted rules and verbal instructions to help ensure the animals' safety, comfort, and well-being at all times. All visitation will be closely monitored by Black Pine's staff at all times.
Staff-Guided Tours are guided by a member of Black Pine's staff, most often by animal keepers. Because the animals tend to be more responsive to familiar faces and to those who are providing their care for the REST of their lives, guided tours offer the best chance to see the most animals. You will enjoy up-close introductions to the residents, hear their personal stories, anecdotes about their personalities, likes, and dislikes. Your tour guide will share enlightening information about the exotic pet trade and what makes a "sanctuary" different from a "zoo". These guided tours last about 90 minutes. Appointments are not required or accepted unless you expect to have 20 or more people in your group.
Staff-Guided Feeding Tour
Staff-guided Feeding Tours are open to all ages and are chaperoned by our staff at all times. These "end of day" tours are not recommended, however, for infants or toddlers due to time of day, length of tour, and sometimes graphic carcass feedings. If young children participate and become disruptive they and their supervising adults may be asked to leave the tour. Feeding Tours include much of the same up-close introductions as "regular" Staff-Guided Tours, plus the chance to witness many of the large carnivores as they are delivered their meals by senior animal keepers. To check options by date by click here.
Staff-guided Private Tours are for ages 10 and up only and are chaperoned at all times by our staff. These tours are offered to provide an opportunity to meet the animals during the "off-season" when many are no longer housed in areas normally accessible to the public. These "behind the scene" tours explore areas of the sanctuary not seen during summer and can last up to two hours. To check options by date by click here.
Staff-guided group tours and "field trips" are offered for schools, youth groups, civic organizations, corporate outings, and more. All group tours are booked by appointment, with the most flexibility in booking times during May, September and October.
To review ALL visitor options, including special event activities, by date, please click here.
|Tour Type||Ages 0-2||Age 3-9||Age 10-54||Age 55+*|
(includes Guided Tour)
|FREE||add $4.00||add $4.00||add $4.00|
|Private Tour||N/A||N/A||$50.00 min||$50.00 min|
* Senior (age 55+) tours just $5.00 every Tuesday during summer season!
Park Pal Members are entitled to FREE Sanctuary Tours and Guided Feeding Tours (subject to age restrictions) when offered throughout the summer season, and select special events.
$2.00 OFF for each Little Brother / Little Sister who visits with their Big Brother / Big Sister. Must present valid Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana ID card.
Present a military ID and receive $2.00 OFF admission for you and your immediate family members. Offer good any time. May not be combined with any other offer.
As much as we wish we could allow everyone to visit for free or at a discount, it is our nominal program fees that make providing a forever home for our residents possible. We can not do what we do without the support of our guests. We generate a large portion of our funding through tour fees and do not rely on any tax funding or large annual grants for operating funds. Our annual fundraising events help supplement our income as well. We hope that once you've made a visit to the sanctuary and taken a tour, you'll agree the fees are reasonable, and well spent! If you cannot afford to make such a contribution, we encourage you to follow us on Facebook, subscribe to our e-Bulletins (complete the form on our "Home" page and submit), and/or watch this web site for specially announced discounted or free visitation opportunities.
We do request that groups of 20 or more make a reservation. Groups planning to visit are noted on our online visitor calendar to help you avoid bottlenecks, and to help us identify any need to add staff or otherwise manage especially heavy traffic days. We are able to accommodate up to 80 guests on a single guided tour without concern. If we see schedules filling up beyond that capacity, we will publish black-outs or add tours as needed to accommodate as many as possible. Reservations are not required or accepted for regularly scheduled tours for less than 20 people. Reservations are required for Private Tours offered during the off-season only.
Black Pine is located at 1426 W. 300 N. in Albion, Indiana, which is about 1.5 miles due west of the stoplight at the intersection of State Roads 8 and 9. In town, the road is called West Main Street, and is an extension of State Road 8 (that technically ends at the stoplight). Google Maps is the best online resource for accurate driving direction assistance.
The short answer is no, taking a staff-guided tour is not mandatory. However we strongly recommend that all visitors attend at least one guided tour, especially all first-time visitors. Black Pine is not a zoo. If all you hope to gain by visiting Black Pine is the opportunity to look at animals, you may disappointed. Black Pine's residents are often resting indoors or can become aggressive, or be completely aloof towards strangers. Taking a staff-guided tour offers the opportunity to enjoy an educational, enlightening, and truly intimate opportunity to meet the animals up close, hear their personal stories, ask questions of those who provide their care, and witness interactive behaviors rarely seen in a zoo setting. Either way, whether you tour "on your own" during general visitation hours, or plan your visit to include a staff-guided tour, we will ensure you receive an orientation and that staff members are on hand to monitor your visit. Please be mindful that on weekends during the summer season self-guided tours (general visitation) will end at 3:00 p.m. when the staff-guided Feeding Tour begins, so plan to arrive before 2:00 p.m. to ensure plenty of time to see the entire sanctuary before the grounds become "restricted" to only those attending the Feeding Tour.
Yes. We welcome children for a variety of programs. Guided sanctuary tours, offered weekdays between Memorial Day and Labor Day at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., and on weekends from May through October at 11:00 a.m., are recommended for all ages. In addition, children of all ages may participate in field trips by appointment. We do not recommend bringing infants or toddlers for guided tours, however if they do attend parents will be expected to ensure rules are adhered to in an effort to keep animals comfortable, remove any perceived threats, and to prohibit any sort of taunting or teasing. We will not tolerate running, loud voices or noises, mimicking, unauthorized feeding, climbing on fences, or other disrespectful or annoying behavior. Black Pine's visitor programs are intended to be quiet, observational, and informative, not "recreational." In addition to these rules that apply at all times, visitors who join Feeding Tours offered at 3:00 p.m. weekends from May through October will also be expected to remain with their tour guide(s) and as a group at all times. (The animals are especially sensitive and potentially volatile at dinner time!) Any distractions or disruptions that may occur could result in being removed from the tour, and/or the compound.
At this time, Black Pine offers beverages (vending machine) and may occasionally have light snacks available for purchase. Visitors are welcome to pack snacks or a full picnic and enjoy use of our covered picnic pavilions and tables at no charge. (Please, no alcohol, straws, or party balloons allowed.) If you are planning for a larger group to visit and picnic, please call ahead or use our Options by Date calendar to see the dates on which large groups planning are already planning a visit.
Yes! New in 2014, Wolf Den Gifts & Things opened. No purchase is required to visit our gift shop, which features apparel, home decor, collectibles, jewelry, children's toys, books, DVDs, and more! Enjoy a selection of Fair Trade products that promote the protection of workers in third world countries and support the conservation of natural habitats and animals. We accept MasterCard, Visa, cash or check. The Wolf Den is located at our main visitor entrance and is open any time we offer "general visitation".
Yes! We offer free Wi-Fi! You can connect in the comfort of the Wolf Den Gifts & Things and enjoy free cafe tables and seating indoors in the A/C, at no charge, or as your exploring the sanctuary connect to the wireless internet outdoors. Enjoy!
How big is the sanctuary?
Black Pine sits within an 18-acre site that features a beautiful pine forest and gently rolling hills. Here, you will meet neary 100 animals representing over 50 species from around the world, many of which are endangered. A typical family will spend at least one hour exploring the sanctuary, and most of our guided tour programs last 90 minutes to two hours.
Yes, however conditions are not ideal. To date, we have not been able to afford to pave our visitor pathways, so we cannot guarantee every wheelchair-bound visitor will be able to see 100% of the facility at this time. The visitor paths are currently finished with a layer of recycled asphalt and in some places the stone surface may be loose, like gravel, making it sometimes difficult to navigate. The staff is happy to try to accommodate anyone with special needs by use of a golf cart. Pre-arrangements are required. Motorized chairs are also welcomed and may maneuver a larger portion of the site. Please inquire upon admission if you need assistance or call ahead to (260) 636-7383.
From time to time we have domestic animals that, when safe for both the animal and our visitors, we will allow you to touch and see up close but always with supervision and/or safety barriers in place. Do not expect, however, to engage in contact with large carnivores or other potentially dangerous animals. We do not feel it is safe or responsible to allow "strangers" to the animals to engage in hands-on contact when such animals can be injurious, even lethal. In fact, facilities and private owners who have allowed such encounters have largely influenced the vast overpopulation of captive exotics, so it directly conflicts with our mission to reduce unwanted/displaced exotic animals. Even though you cannot touch the big cats and bears, you will see them in a much more intimate setting than at any "zoo."
No, but we do offer our own Park Pal memberships, senior discounts, and a variety of specials throughout the summer. Black Pine is a not associated with any zoo. Consult our Events page for upcoming specials. You might also search the internet for various coupon offers that may be available.
Yes! But we do ask that none of the film or photos be used for commercial purposes without our expressed written consent!
The only requests for help Black Pine will not consider are those related accepting native orphaned or injured wildlife such as raccoons, rabbits, foxes, birds, etc. Black Pine is not a licensed wildlife rehab facility, and native wildlife rescue is not our mission. For a link to licensed rehabbers in Indiana, please visit the Contact Us page. All other inquiries are considered on a case-by-case basis. The first step to seeking our help is to complete an animal adoption questionnaire, accessible on our Contact Us page.
Yes! We have two sheltered outdoor areas, and an indoor meeting space, that may suit your small company outing, meeting, or retreat; family gathering, birthday party; or other needs. Our covered picnic pavilion will seat up to 50 people. Our private patio with plastic tables and chairs will seat up to 24 people. Our indoor Dekko Meeting Room will accommodate up to 16 people. There is no charge to use these spaces, however they are subject to availability on a first come, first served basis. Tour fees will apply to anyone using the outdoor accommodations (because animals are visible while outdoors). If a party using the meeting room also wants to tour the sanctuary, tour fees will apply. For more information, call our office at 260-636-7383. For larger groups, you might inquire about renting the 4-H Pavilion (offering indoor space, tables, chairs, and restrooms) that is just adjacent to Black Pine by contacting the Noble County Extension Office at 260-636-2111 (a fee will apply).