Wolves are playful, social, intelligent, and majestic animals. Though our family dog may be a relative of the wolf, wolves need a far more wild environment. In this list, we are counting down the ten best wolf exhibits that provide plenty of space for running and playing, natural enrichment, and a realistic setting. All but one of the exhibits on this list are of grey wolves.
10.) Northwestern Wolf Exhibit: Mulhouse Zoo, Mulhouse, France
Starting off our list is this modest yet enriching exhibit at this quaint zoo in France. The wolves of Mulhouse Zoo have plenty of space to explore, exercise, and smell. The most interesting part of the exhibit is the large den in the middle of the enclosure. Comprised of rocks, bushes, large tree limbs, and small trees, this realistic and cozy den is the perfect place for wolves to have their privacy and to pack it in for the night.
9.) Arctic Wolf Exhibit: Zoo Duisburg, Duisburg, Germany
The only arctic wolf exhibit on our list, this one at Zoo Duisburg does not disappoint. Perfectly landscaped and set, the premiere feature of this habitat is the rushing waterfall that spills into a large pool. Along with the water elements, there are also den sites, fallen logs, large rocks for climbing, and large viewing areas for visitors. This wolf exhibit is one of the most impressive on our list in terms of the water elements within the exhibit.
8.) Regenstein Woods: Brookfield Zoo, Brookfield, IL
The beauty and grace of the Mexican grey wolf is exhibited perfectly in this natural and well-enriched exhibit at the Brookfield Zoo. Included in the enclosure is a stream, fallen logs and branches for climbing, and caves for den making and privacy. And what makes this exhibit even more natural and private for the animals is that the viewing glass for guests is one way glass. Visitors can see in, but the wolves cannot see out, making this space feel safe and secure.
7.) Mexican Grey Wolf Exhibit: Stone Zoo, Stoneham, MA
As a part of the species survival plan for this endangered species of wolf, it is very important to the Stone Zoo to provide these majestic animals with a healthy, enriching, and happy environment to promote breeding and ensure the survival of the Mexican grey wolf. This large exhibit takes up a major portion of the small zoo and allows for plenty of space for exercising and playing. Within the exhibit are all the things a wolf loves, like large rocks and logs to climb on, and plenty of sites to den. There are several viewing spots for visitors and there are also many places for the wolves to go within the exhibit to find privacy. It’s hard to believe this tranquil zoo lies just north of the city of Boston.
6.) Eurasian Grey Wolf Exhibit: GaiaZOO, Kerkrade, Netherlands
This very tidy exhibit is well kept, enriched, and is surprisingly large. At first look, the exhibit seems limited to a small space in the front of the area. But as you look closer, you can see the area narrows and then opens again to another usable space by the animals. There are logs and branches throughout the exhibit, as well as small shacks for the wolves to go into for shelter. There are also den making areas underneath platforms made of logs and several spots where visitors can get a look at the animals.
5.) Cotton Family Wolf Wilderness: Detroit Zoo, Detroit, MI
Home to a small family of grey wolves, this $1.4 million exhibit opened in 2015. Shipped in from the Minnesota Zoo, the two wolves that now call the Detroit Zoo home are a 9 year old female named Waziyata and a 7 year old male named Kaskapahtew. These two wolves have plenty of space to run and play in with a total exhibit area of two acres. Within the exhibit are indigenous trees of Michigan, a flowing river and pond, meadow and hilltop areas, and cliff sides for the animals to climb and explore. Visitors will be able to take in all the sights and wonder of the exhibit through a large wall of glass within a rustic log cabin.
4.) Wolf Haven: Busch Gardens Williamsburg Williamsburg, VA
Though Busch Gardens Tampa is known more for their animals than their Virginia counterpart, Busch Gardens Williamsburg does not disappoint. Part of a small collection at the park, the grey wolves of Wolf Haven live in a lush and enriching habitat. Built on an incline similar to how wolves would live in the wild, the enclosure is beautifully landscaped with several types of trees, bushes, and grasses. Expansive and carefully thought out, the exhibit also includes platforms, stumps, and rocks for climbing, as well as a stream with a small waterfall. At the world’s most beautiful theme park, you can expect to find animal exhibits just as beautiful.
3.) Wolf Canyon: San Francisco Zoo, San Francisco, CA
New to the San Francisco Zoo in 2016, this gorgeous Mexican grey wolf exhibit is just breathtaking. Nestled in walls of natural looking rock, this exhibit looks nearly identical to the conditions wild Mexican grey wolves live in. With sandy soil, scrub brush, a waterfall and pond, and countless places to climb, den, and explore, this exhibit is a piece of paradise for these intelligent and agile animals. As for visitors, there are large viewing windows to take in all the sights of this awesome habitat. Just one photo of this exhibit is all you’ll need to see what we’re talking about.
2.) Grey Wolf Exhibit: Boras Zoo, Boras, Sweden
When it comes to rugged and wild exhibits, this Swedish exhibit is just about as wild as they come. Enclosed on the side of a steep hill, this exhibit is dabbed with large and small rocks throughout, a large pond at the bottom of the hill, dozens of tree (both fallen and living), and guest viewing all along the front of the habitat. The wolves can den within naturally formed crevices in the rocks and under logs. To allow for more opportunities to watch the animals interact with their environment, the zoo has added a picnic space right up next to the viewing glass, allowing for a picnic families will never forget.
1.) Grey Wolves: Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, West Yellowstone, MT
Our number one wolf exhibit in the world is this larger than life, breathtaking exhibit at this sanctuary for animals native to Yellowstone National Park in Montana. This exhibit can best be described as the most perfect piece of wolf habitat turned into a zoo habitat. There are three different areas of the exhibit, as there are three different packs of wolves. However, all areas include a rich variety of places to den and hide, logs and rocks to climb and survey on, waterfalls and ponds, and tall grass. Keepers also provide enrichment throughout the day and usually hide bones and other treats within the crevices of rocks and logs. The Center also goes out of their way to use sustainable practices, and the meat they feed their animals is sourced from local hunters. This wolf exhibit is grand, gorgeous, and guaranteed to give visitors an intimate look into the lives of these secluded animals.
The exhibits in this top ten list were ranked based on visitor experience, realism, and enrichment. There are so many other great wolf exhibits out there. Be sure to check out your local zoo! You may just find a hidden gem.