Spirit of the Hills Wildlife Sanctuary
Established as a safe haven and release site for injured or orphaned indigenous animals, the Spirit of the Hills Wildlife Sanctuary is home to over 300 animals of 40 different species including tigers, leopards, bears, African lions, mountain lions, coyotes, lynx, domestic animals and more. The animals come from South Dakota and its five neighboring states, many of which were injured or orphaned in the wild or have been rescued from illegal breeding operators, fur farms or the entertainment industry. The Sanctuary provides a lifelong home for them, free from further abuse and exploitation.
Established in 1999 by its director, Michael Welchynski, the Sanctuary sits on 200 acres of rocky, forested terrain, part of Josef Meier's estate three miles southwest of Spearfish. Visitors can embark on guided tours and led by Sanctuary volunteers to see the animals.
Tours are available at 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. Groups of eight or more can call for an appointment: (605) 642-2907 or 1-877-761-7754. Tours may be cancelled due to weather or other unexpected developments. Seasonal clothing and comfortable walking shoes are suggested. Pets and strollers are not permitted. Special arrangements can be made for visitors with disabilities and small children.
The Sanctuary operates with an all-volunteer team of caretakers and veterinarians, and modest admission fees sustain care for the animals.
Seniors/Military ID/Student ID: $10
Youth: 4-18: $7
Children 3 and under: Free
Take I-90 exit 12 to Jackson Blvd. Head west on Jackson Blvd. and turn left at University. Turn right onto Tinton Road/USFS #134. Follow Tinton 1.5 miles to a stop sign. Turn left at the sign; the Sanctuary is located ¼ mile on the left.
For more information visit the Spirit of the Hills Wildlife Sanctuary website.