Mother always said don’t play with your food, but the turkey might just prefer it! If you’re traveling near Kingman, Arizona this holiday season, and you’re searching for alternatives to the traditional Thanksgiving celebration, take a beautiful day trip to Scottsdale and visit the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center where families and other visitors feed the wildlife—instead of the other way around. This special annual event which takes place on Saturday, November 20 at 10:00 AM, is a limited availability opportunity to participate in “enrichment” activities to benefit sanctuary animals and native Arizona wildlife.
Set the Table for Fun
Participants at all tables at the Thanksgiving Enrichment Party work with Animal Care Specialists to create “enrichment” activities and products for wildlife in residence at the Conservatory. The wildlife management term “enrichment” refers to unique and special activities and treats provided for sanctuary animals to encourage engagement, exhibit wild behaviors, and provide variety in their day. Past projects have included specially designed tubes filled with attractive scents and delicious treats, creatively designed treat boxes camouflaged in natural leaves, animal-friendly “salads” with harvest pumpkins, and much, much more.
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
But just who is coming to dinner, you may be wondering? The Southwest Wildlife Conservatory, a 501(c)(3) organization, plays host to a wide variety of Arizona wildlife. Some of the species that call the Conservatory home are black bears, bobcats, coatimundis, coyotes, deer, fox, javelinas, the Mexican Gray Wolf, owls, mountain lions, tortoises, and skunks. The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center has a mission to rescue native wild animals. These animals are sometimes found hurt, abandoned, or orphaned or have lost their homes due to human encroachment. The SWCC takes these animals in, provides care and rehabilitation for those that need it, with an aim to release them back into the natural environment to which they belong, healthy and wild. Rescued animals who would be challenged to survive if released back into the wild are provided with a lifelong, safe environment at the sanctuary—like Heavenly, the black bear.
Heavenly is one of the animals that now calls SWCC his “fur-ever” home. Found as an injured, orphaned yearling cub near a ski resort where he scavenged for scraps, an attempt was made to rehabilitate him and release him into the wild, but he made his way back to the resort, the only “home” he’d ever really known. Heavenly was safely recaptured and now lives happily on the grounds of the SWCC ready to meet and greet new visitors.
Let’s Talk Turkey
Visitors have two table options to choose from when signing up for this exclusive event. The standard table option seats six people maximum and is available for $150. The premium table option, which also seats six people maximum, is available for $250. Premium Tables at the Thanksgiving Enrichment Event will not only create the enrichment items but be afforded the opportunity to safely enter animal enclosures with careful supervision and place the treats for the grateful animals. Time allotment for the event is two hours.
So, if you and your family are looking for a “wild” alternative to traditional Thanksgiving celebrations, visit with the grateful animals at the Southwest Wildlife Conservatory. Just three hours from Kingman, Arizona and the Zuni Village RV Park. The Conservatory is an easy day trip down US-93 S. Reservations are limited and must be made in advance via the SWCC website. The Thanksgiving Enrichment Party is held completely outdoors, so be certain to dress appropriately. Closed-toed shoes are required as well as masks for visitors who have not received vaccinations against COVID-19. Bring water.