Get in Touch with Wild Life at Yellow River Wildlife Sanctuary

The Yellow River Animal Sanctuary is home to a variety of exotic, and domestic animals

By Jennifer Sheran, publisher Macaroni Kid McDonough, Stockbridge, Hampton, Locust Grove January 18, 2023

It was a warm day over the holiday break so a group of us decided to enjoy the outdoors and visit the animals at the Yellow River Wildlife Sanctuary at 4525 US Highway 78 in Lilburn. Originally known as the Yellow River Game Ranch, it opened as a wildlife sanctuary in 1962. I used to live nearby and remember taking my two oldest children when they were little. In 2018, the Jonathan and Katy Ordway took ownership of the property and have since made many improvements to give the animal residents the best life possible. The sanctuary promises an educational, up-close animal experience to its visitors.

Upon entering the grounds, we were greeted by a rather large turkey named Hank. The majestic fellow stood in the middle of the path, fluffing his feathers, and gobbling loudly. He walked ahead of us for quite a while like he was our own tour guide.

The Yellow River Animal Sanctuary is home to a variety of exotic, and domestic animals from a black bear named Blueberry to a coyote named Wiley, and an Ox named Ferdinand. A couple of my favorite animals were the Alpacas and a beautiful cow. You will walk about a one-mile loop around as you see the different animals.

I was most excited by the opportunity to see, pet, and help feed the two sloths that live at the Yellow River Sanctuary in their own temperature-controlled habitat. Sloths are the cutest and it was a thrill to have an up-close experience with Sid and Sue. For $75 (including admission and a feed cup), you can book your own sloth encounter!

A visit to the Yellow River Animal Sanctuary is a great way to spend an afternoon with the family and support the care of its animals. My children ages 21, 14, and 12 all had a great time.  You can buy feed cups ($6) of lettuce, celery, and carrots to feed the animals in the petting yard. They are more than eager to take what you have to offer. Kids can also partake in gold mining and there are places to have a picnic.  Before you go, stop by the gift shop.

Tickets are available online or you can get them upon arrival. Pricing includes $20 adult (13-64), $19.00 Senior (65+)/Military, and $13.00 children (3-12). The sanctuary is open Friday – Sunday from 10 am – 5 p.m. and some weekdays during school breaks. You can also plan field trips, birthday parties, and groups. Annual memberships are also available for $60 individual, $175 for a family of four.

Food trucks are often on property on the weekends. No pets are allowed.

If you’d like to support the animals, you can purchase something from the Amazon Wish List or drop off various animal enrichment supplies.