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Focus on Rescue and Rehabilitation: 10 Animal Sanctuaries in Ontario You Must Visit

Animal sanctuaries are one of my family’s favourite places to visit. Not only are they educational, but they also keep the little ones busy and entertained because who doesn’t love seeing majestic creatures up close?

Luckily, Ontario is home to some of the best sanctuaries that rescue and rehabilitate animals in need. You’ll find beautiful wild animals—from wolves to bears to horses, and more! 

If you’re planning a quick day trip where you can have fun while getting the opportunity to help, here are the best animal sanctuaries we’ve visited in Ontario. Time to show our support to the volunteers who have dedicated their time to helping wildlife.

Wishing Well Sanctuary

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Location: 2710 10th Line, Bradford

Contact: [email protected]

Operating Hours: By appointment only


  • Tour: $20 per person
  • Family of Four: $60
  • Kids Under 3: Free

Wishing Well Sanctuary rescues animals to give them a new chance in life. The staff here care for abused and neglected farm animals, all while funding programs that promote mental health.

You’ll see many friendly and adorable farm animals here, such as pigs, goats, cows, and alpacas—some are so friendly they’ll run to greet you. This sanctuary promotes involvement, so you can even feed the animals.

Fun fact: you can stay overnight at the farm via the Wishing Well Experience and hang out with the animals. You can book a trailer or a yurt, and you’ll literally be neighbours with the farm animals.

Pro Tips:

You can help around by doing chores (preparing the food and feeding the animals), but bring rubber boots because it can get muddy. It is a farm, after all.

We suggest joining the workshops. Every single loonie you use goes toward the animals.

Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat

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Location: 1 Drury Pk Rd, Cochrane

Contact: (705) 272-2327, [email protected]

Operating Hours:

  • Summer, Monday – Sunday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Winter, Monday – Sunday: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm


Day Pass

  • Adult: $17.60
  • Senior (65+): $13.20
  • Children (5-18): $13.20
  • Children Under 4: Free
  • Family Pass (2 adults + 2 children between 5-18): $55

The Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat is the world’s largest facility dedicated to caring for polar bears. It’s a sanctuary that has been around for over 19 years, taking care of the physical and mental needs of polar bears.

Currently, there are three bears: Ganuk, Henry, and Inukshuk. Seeing them up close is such an incredible experience, especially after learning that their population is threatened by climate change.

You can help by booking experiences that allow you to witness a unique side of the polar bears. We suggest the Behind the Scenes Tour to gain a wider understanding of polar bears and what the staff does here.

Pro Tips:

Try to get there as soon as they open because polar bears are most active early in the day. This gives you the best chance to catch the bears since there’s no guarantee you will see them.

There are no set feeding times, so there’s no assurance you can catch the bears. While waiting, we suggest checking out the rest of the sanctuary, like the Heritage Village and the Heritage Museum.

Canada’s Dinosaur Park

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Location: 2206 County Rd 38, Indian River

Contact: (705) 639-1443, [email protected]

Operating Hours:

  • Summer, Monday – Sunday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm


Dinosaur and Reptile Walk-Thru

  • Adult (19-59) – $24
  • Senior (60+) – $20
  • Youth (13-18) – $20
  • Child (4-12) – $15
  • Children Under 3 – Free

No, this is not a dinosaur sanctuary. Canada’s Dinosaur Park is actually a reptile sanctuary with life-size animatronic dinosaurs. Part of the experience is walking or driving the Dinosaur Path, where you can see dinosaurs move and roar.

As the only registered reptile sanctuary in Canada, this place has over 200 reptiles in climate-controlled enclosures. To protect them, not all reptiles are on display, and these animals are rescued and cannot be returned to the wild due to varying circumstances.

This is more than a sanctuary because there are plenty of things to do that kids will enjoy. After seeing the beautiful reptiles (and dinosaurs), you can play mini golf, dig for fossils at the boneyard, or join the Croc-Walk in total darkness.

Pro Tip:

We recommend driving there early because parking can get hectic in the afternoon, especially on weekends.

Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary

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Location: 2315 Brock Concession Rd 10, Sunderland

Contact: (416) 816-4800, [email protected]

Operating Hours:

  • April – October: Once a month: 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm (depending on preferred tour time)


  • Adult (17-64): $50
  • Senior (65+): $40
  • Child (2-16): $25
  • Family of 4 (2 adults + 2 children: $120

Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary is the only monkey sanctuary in Canada. When you visit, you’ll see lemurs and monkeys that are rescued from the pet trade, research programs, abuse, and other unfortunate circumstances.

Probably the most famous monkey you’ll see here is Darwin, infamously known as the Ikea Monkey. If you remember over a decade ago, a macaque wearing a coat wandering in an Ikea in Toronto went viral—you’ll be surprised at how big he’s gotten.

Since this sanctuary only opens once a month from April to October, there are limited slots for visitors.

But you can help in other ways, like donating or purchasing a painting from Pockets Warhol, a capuchin monkey who, you know… paints! Pockets only paints when he feels like it, so there are a limited number of paintings.

Pro Tip:

The staff only allows up to ten visitors, so it’s best to arrive at the sanctuary at least 15 minutes before your preferred time or you may be asked to join the next batch if the slots are full. But they do their best to honour the time, so there’s usually no issue.

Pegasus Animal Sanctuary

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Location: 2090 Scugog Line 3, Port Perry

Contact: (647)292-1700, [email protected]

Operating Hours:

  • Monday – Sunday: time depends on guest and guide availability


  • Minimum Donation: $80 (for 1 – 4 people)
  • Additional Guest: $20

No, there aren’t actual flying horses here, but you’ll still get to meet beautiful creatures. The Pegasus Animal Sanctuary spans 98 acres of land and is a safe space for neglected and abused animals.

This farm is home to miniature horses, donkeys, pigs, chickens, ducks, and calves. You can interact with the farm animals by joining a tour, which also provides information about each of them and how they got here.

The beauty of the farm will blow you away—it’s well-maintained, and each animal looks content. It’s the ultimate day trip for kids because they’ll have fun interacting with the animals.

Pro Tip:

Since you’re visiting a farm, we suggest wearing rubber boots.

Sweet Acres Pig Sanctuary

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Location: 2798 Vivian Rd, Whitchurch-Stouffville

Contact: (416) 805-6697, [email protected]

Operating Hours:

  • Depending on appointment


  • Free; donations are highly encouraged

If you’re seeking a quick family-friendly trip near Toronto, Sweet Acres Pig Sanctuary is only 35 minutes from the downtown core. This place rescues pot-bellied pigs, and we just have to say that these animals are super friendly and happy.

You can interact with them here, as they’re used to people already. You can feed, cuddle, pet, and brush their coats—they’ll sometimes fall asleep on the grass as you brush them.

We guarantee these sweet animals will totally melt your heart, especially when you give them belly rubs, which they love. Look for Wellington and Spartacus because they love cuddles and belly scratches.

Pro Tips:

While the sanctuary has free admission, we highly suggest you donate to help care for the animals. The recommended donation is $25.

There’s no set schedule for the tours and there are no walk-ins. It’s best to contact them and book in advance.

Promised Land Animal Sanctuary

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Location: 1969 Burnbrae Rd E, Campbellford

Contact: [email protected]

Operating Hours:

  • April – November, Saturday & Sunday: By appointment


  • Per guest: $35 + $0.88 service fee

Promised Land Animal Sanctuary is a haven for abused, neglected, and homeless animals. Its mission is to help re-establish human and non-human bonds because this place is not just about helping animals, but all living creatures.

You’ll find many animals here, such as pigs, sheep, horses, and alpacas. The tours are open to everyone, but it’s the animals who will come to you as they please.

Basically, you’ll get 90 minutes of farm experience, where animals are free to roam (they might come to you for a belly scratch or two) and where you can have a slow living lifestyle. 

For those seeking a unique therapeutic experience with animals, you can join their equine therapy called Open Heart Sessions. Their horses are used to human interaction and play a crucial role in helping people heal.

Pro Tip:

This is an ideal family getaway in Ontario if you have small children because the tours are available on weekends.

Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary

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Location: 1116 Crawford St, Rosseau

Contact: (705) 732-6368

Operating Hours:

  • Seasonal availability, Monday – Sunday: By appointment


  • Per Person: $25
  • Kids Under 5: Free

Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary became a not-for-profit charity in 1989, but their mission originally started in the 1970s. Now, they continue to help over a thousand animals each year.

Spanning 460 acres of natural habitat, they rescue and rehabilitate wild animals and release them back into the wild. They also house permanent residents that cannot return back to the wild.

You can join the guided tour and meet the sanctuary’s wild residents, such as Mystic the Arctic fox, Clyde the black bear, Silver the silver fox, Jardica and Jinx the lynx, and Shonnie the bobcat.

Pro Tip:

We suggest wearing comfortable shoes since you’ll be walking for 2 km. You’ll most likely encounter bugs, so wearing light pants would be ideal.

Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue

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Location: 6706 Gibbs Rd, Bowmanville

Contact: (905) 442-1648, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Phone operations only

  • November – April, Monday – Friday: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
  • May – October, Monday – Sunday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm


  • Wildlife Experience: $150
  • Caring for Reptiles: $50
  • Bunny-palooza: $50
  • Porcupine Family Fun: $100

Maximum of 2 participants per registration. Additional participants will have varying prices.

Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue is actually a rehabilitation hospital, and it’s the only one in the Durham region. They rescue and rehabilitate wild animals to give them a second chance at living in their natural habitat again.

There are plenty of animal experiences here, which are open for kids and adults. One is the Wildlife Experience, where visitors will learn about rehabilitation and meet five of their animal ambassadors.

All season long, families are welcome to stay at their luxury villas for an off-the-grid experience. Spending the night at the Soper Creek Wilderness Villas means you also help the animals in their wildlife hospital.

Pro Tip:

If you have young children, you cannot book a stay at the Soper Creek Wilderness Villas since it’s for ages 21 and up only.

The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada

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Location: 6981 Conc. 4, Puslinch

Contact: (519) 836-1697, [email protected]

Operating Hours:

  • Selected dates, by appointment


Open Days

  • Adult: $20
  • Senior (65+): $15
  • Student: $15
  • Child (3-12): $10
  • Child (2 and under): Free
  • Family Admission (2 Adults + 3 children): $60

If you love donkeys, The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada is a must-visit. This place helps educate the public about equines while also rescuing and rehabilitating neglected and abused donkeys, mules, and hinnies.

If you’re lucky, you can pet the donkeys when they go beside the fence, and you can even brush them (there are lots of brushes available). It’s perfect for kids because its interactive and fun.

Pro Tip:

This is a working farm, so remember to wear appropriate clothing (pants and closed-toed shoes). Also, it’s best to eat before coming here because drinks and food are only permitted in the picnic area.

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