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FAQs

When is Black Pine open?

How much does it cost?

Do I need an appointment or reservation?

Where is Black Pine located?

Do I have to take a guided tour?

Can I visit with children?

Does Black Pine offer any food service?

Is there a gift shop?

Can I use my smartphone, iPod, or other internet device?

How big is the sanctuary?

Can wheelchairs be used?

Can I pet any of the animals?

Can other zoo passes be used at Black Pine?

Can I take pictures/video?

Will Black Pine take my animal?

Do you have any party or meeting facilities?

 

Wolf Den

Free Wi-Fi

Checks & cash also accepted

 

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.  Consult our Options by Date calendar for regular updates to published schedules.  Tour schedules are always subject to change.  Call us at 260-636-7383 if you need clarification.  Thank you.

General visitation

"General Visitation" refers to the option to explore the sanctuary "on your own", without the benefit of assistance to see animals that may be hiding away in dens, without the opportunity to ask questions of the animals' keepers, and without the opportunity to learn the animals' stories, why they live at Black Pine, where they came from, and more about the sanctuary's mission to encourage responsible pet ownership.  We strongly recommend to most visitors that their first visit include a Staff-Guided Tour.  However, General Visitation may be more suitable for repeat visitors who have already taken a Staff-Guide Tour, Park Pal Members, for those visiting with infants or toddlers who may become disruptive to guided tour audiences, for those with special needs who would enjoy more time, or when staff-guided tour schedules simply don't fit a visitor's travel agenda and timeline.  Read more about General Visitation 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 Tour

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 of 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.  All ages are welcomed, however adults visiting with young children are asked to respect the rights of all audience members to enjoy a tour free of annoyances or disruptions that younger visitors may bring.  These tours are "casual", so guests are encouraged to step "in and out" of the tour as necessary for the comfort of all guests - and animals.  

Staff-Guided Feeding Tour

Staff-guided Feeding Tours are open to all ages and are chaperoned by Black Pine's staff at all times.  These "end of day" tours are not recommended for those visiting with infants or toddlers due to time of day, length of tour, and sometimes graphic carcass feedings.  If young children participate and become disruptive or annoying to other guests or animals, 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 receive meals delivered by senior animal keepers.  Feeding Tours do not allow as much flexibility to "come and go" as a regular Staff-Guided Tour.  If someone is asked to or needs to leave a Feeding Tour, they will not be allowed to wander the sanctuary.  Rather, they may remain in the facility in a designated area (such as the gift shop or pavilion) until such time they can re-join the tour or await its end.  To check options by date by click here.

Private Tours

Staff-guided Private Tours are for ages 10 and up only, and are chaperoned at all times by a member of Black Pine's 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 scenes" tours explore areas of the sanctuary not seen during summer and can last up to two hours.  A confirmed appointment is required. To check options by date by click here.

Field Trips

Staff-guided field trips are offered for schools and youth groups, with the most options offered in May, September and October, though some programs may also be booked in June, July & August. All field trips are booked by appointment.  See more info here.

Family groups, corporate outings, civic groups, and others who are not associated with an educational institution are also welcomed to book group tours by appointment, and may be eligible for discounts.  Call our office at 260-636-7383 to inquire. To review ALL visitor options, including special event activities, by date, please click here.

Tour Times

How much does it cost?

Tour TypeAges 0-2Age 3-9Age 10-54Age 55+*
General Visitation
(includes Guided Tour)
FREE $7.00 $8.00 $7.50
Guided Tour FREE included included included

Guided Feeding Tour

FREE add $4.00 add $4.00 add $4.00
Private Tour N/A N/A $50.00 min $50.00 min
Field Trips FREE Click Click Click
Other Groups FREE Call Call Call

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Rates are effective through December 31, 2014.  Rates are subject to change.

* Senior (age 55+) tours just $5.00 every Tuesday during summer season!

Park Pal Members are entitled to FREE General Visitation, FREE Guided Tours, and FREE Guided Feeding Tours when offered throughout the year!  If you plan to visit more than 1-2 times per 12-month period, you may benefit from becoming a Park Pal!

 

$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.

Do I need an appointment or reservation?

Probably not.  If you are coming for General Visitation, a Staff-Guided Tour, or a staff-guided Private Tour, we don't need an appointment unless you will have a group of 20 or more planning to visit.  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 also required for Private Tours offered during the off-season only, from November through April.

Where is Black Pine located?

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 state route designation technically ends at the stoplight).  Google Maps is the best online resource for accurate driving direction assistance.  If you use a GPS system, please beware that users have reported the location being slightly off from our actual address.  You may find better results searching by our name as a nearby "Attraction" than by the physical address.

Do I have to take a guided tour?

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, to really benefit from all that Black Pine has to offer and to help us accomplish our true mission to educate the public about the exotic pet trade and responsible animal ownership.  Black Pine is not a zoo.  If your only motivation to visit is to get to see animals, you may be disappointed.  Black Pine's residents are often resting indoors, can become aggressive, or be completely aloof towards strangers.  Our rules for visitors, which exist to protect the comfort and well-being of the animals, will now allow you to "engage" with animals in an attempt to be entertained or to see more of them.  Staff-guided tours are educational, enlightening, and offer a 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 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 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.

Can I visit with children?

Yes.  We welcome children for a variety of programs.  Guided 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 staff-guided Feeding 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 of animals (intentional or not).  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." If children visit during staff-guided Feeding Tours, they will be expected to remain with a responsible adult, and with the tour 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.  Please read above about the Feeding Tours for more information.

Does Black Pine offer any food services?

At this time, Black Pine offers beverages (vending machine) and packaged snacks (chips, crackers, candy bars, etc.) available for purchase.  Visitors are welcome to pack their own snacks - or even a full picnic!  Enjoy the use of our covered picnic pavilions and tables at no additional charge.   Passersby and people conducting business in our community are also welcomed to enjoy the use of our Wolf Den Gift Shop & Things, cafe tables, and patio tables, and free Wi-Fi (no admission required).   We do not allow any alcohol, drinking 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.

Is there a gift shop?

Yes!  New in 2014, Wolf Den Gifts & Things is open!  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 endangered animals.  We accept MasterCard, Visa, cash or check.  The Wolf Den is located at our main visitor entrance inside the W. Paul Wolf Family Resource Center.  It is open any time we offer "general visitation" and on other select dates as announced.

Can I use my smartphone, iPod, or other internet device?

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 nearly 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.

Can wheelchairs be used?

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.  Pathways may be uneven and at various grades.  Motorized chairs typically perform pretty well.  At best, about 75% of the site is typically accessible by wheelchair or powered chair.  The photos in the "Virtual Tour" album on the home page of this site help provide an overview of what to expect.  Please inquire upon admission if you need assistance or call ahead to (260) 636-7383 for additional information.  

Can I pet any of the animals?

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."

Can other zoo passes be used at Black Pine?

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 special events.  You might also search the internet for various coupon offers that may be available.

Can I take pictures/video?

Yes!  But we do ask that none of the film or photos be used for commercial purposes without our expressed written consent.  We are happy to allow "commercial" photographers access to photograph in exchange for disks of images we may use to help promote our mission and programs.  We give photo credit as instructed/requested.  

Will Black Pine take my animal?

The only requests for help Black Pine will not consider are those related to taking in native orphaned or injured wildlife such as raccoon, rabbits, foxes, raptors, 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.

Do you offer any party or meeting facilities?

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) and free-will donations may be requested.  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).

 Still need help?  Please submit your question using our Feedback Form. Thank you!