Frequently Asked Questions

What To Know Before You Go

Can I get tickets online or at-the-door?

You can do both!

To speed up the admission process and reduce wait time in lines, we encourage you to purchase your tickets online. Present your receipt at the gate and adventure on.

Tickets may also be purchased at-the-door using cash or all major credits cards.

Can I exchange my 1-day admission for a membership?

You can apply your one-day admission to a membership if you purchase the membership on the same day you purchased your admission.

What other zoos or aquariums can I visit with my membership?

Catoctin Wildlife Preserve has reciprocal membership arrangements with several other zoos, aquariums, and wildlife parks. Show your membership card to receive free or discounted admission.

See the 2023 Reciprocal Membership List here.

What form of payments do you accept?

We accept cash and all major credit cards.

How long is the average visit?

Your adventure is self-guided. Most guests spend between two and four hours visiting with our animals and the enjoying the grounds .

How long does the Safari Ride last?

About 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how long the truck stays in each area and how many animals approach the vehicle. There are no bathrooms on the transport, so we recommend you “empty out” before you board. wink

Do you offer same-day re-entry?

Yes! Same day re-entry is permitted, so you can leave the Preserve to go to your car or get lunch and return later that day. Just hang on to your receipt or get your hand stamped before you leave. Your admission is good all day.

Are their food options available inside the Preserve? Can I bring snacks or a picnic lunch inside?

We have vending machines for beverages and offer a few packaged snacks, however, there is no restaurant or food snack bar inside the Preserve.

 – You may bring small coolers and ice chests with food and non-alcoholic beverages.

– For safety, please leave glass containers, disposable straws/lids and balloons at home.

– Help keep our Zoo beautiful by placing trash and recyclables in designated receptacles.

– Thank you for NOT sharing your food with the animals. They are on regulated diets.

You may ask for a hand stamp before leaving and re-enter the same day. The town of Thurmont is 2 miles north of the Preserve and has several fast-food restaurants, pizza places, ethnic food restaurants, and a family-style buffet.

What are the trails like? Is the Preserve accessible to strollers and wheelchairs?

Approximately 50% of the trails are paved and the rest are crushed gravel or hard-packed earth. We recommend you bring large-wheeled transports to make traveling across this terrain easier.

We do not offer rentals for strollers, wheelchairs, or scooters.

Is there free parking? Yes!
Plenty of free parking is available at the preserve. If you are in a large vehicle, like a bus or RV, the parking along Catoctin Furnace Road will not be suitable for you. Instead, look for the larger recessed lots along the north and south borders of the parking area.
Where do the animal residents come from?

Most of the animals at Catoctin Wildlife Preserve come from other zoos and private collections in North America, usually under a professional loan or trade agreement. This keeps breeding bloodlines healthier and helps ensure that these animal ambassador’s wild cousins remain safe.

The transport and exhibiting of exotic animals is highly regulated, and for good reason. Throughout the United States, almost no animals are taken from wild habitats any longer.

Are you offering internships or volunteer opportunities in 2023?

Unfortunately, no. Internship and volunteer experiences are paused.

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