Although good sense tells us not to feed wild animals, it is encouraged and appreciated by the animal residents of Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary in Phelan, where visitors can feed Yarah the bear, Rajalla the tiger, and several other species of animals with all donations funding the care of and feeding of the sanctuary’s reptiles, mammals, and birds.
Along with nurturing injured animals back to life, the Almquist family of Phelan and sanctuary volunteers have maintained a wholesome style of life for these rescued and abandoned exotic animals. Home zoos, injured animals from concerned citizens, and owners who could not take care of their exotic pets anymore are just a few of the reasons these critters are being taken care of at Forever Wild. Monkeys, tigers, a bear, venomous and non-venomous reptiles, birds, deer, alligators, a hyena, and a donkey named “Lucky,” to name a few, make this sanctuary home.
The Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary is a Non-Profit founded by Chemaine Almquist in 1995. With her husband, Joel, the assistance of their children Kiah, Noah, Arianna, and Patricia, and grandparents Lynda and Jim Almquist, Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary is truly a family affair. The two hundred-plus animals are housed and fed by visitor’s entrance donations and private donations like meat and pet food from local grocery stores. Another form of assistance was the stroke of good fortune with a home makeover by the popular cable TV show “Extreme Home Makeover,” The remodel arrangements generously included the animal park’s main building and the Almquist home in 2009. Living next door to the facility, the “in-house” staff can provide security and monitor their animal guests easily.
Receiving four and a half stars on Yelp and TripAdvisor, the sanctuary is a family fun adventure to enjoy in the high desert. Winner of the “Best Family Amusement” category in the Daily Press’s “Best of the Desert’ competition in 2022, Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary has also won in the “Best Non-Profit” and “Best Birthday Party Venue” categories. This award-winning indoor/outdoor animal retreat is clean and fresh smelling despite its animal residents, in contrast to the traditional zoo-type experience. Upfront and personal, a walk through the grounds is a pleasant one or two-hour visit. Asking one of the well-informed attendants questions will certainly enhance your exotic animal experience. For instance, “Did you know that Spider Monkeys can live as long as 50 years?”
Join the Almquist family and staff on “Family Day” on Sunday, September 3, 2023, with its special pricing on animal feedings. Watch for promotions like “Spooktacular Halloween” in October and the sanctuary’s “A Very Wild Christmas” event in December. Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary is open from 12-5:00 pm every day except Tuesday and Thursday. Basic admission is $10.00 for Children 3-12, $15.00 for Adults, and $12.00 for Seniors. Tickets for “Extreme Feeds” are $15.00 per person to feed an animal of your choosing. Gift Cards are available. Major Credit Cards are accepted. Guided tours and Event/Birthday Packages are also available for group animal feedings. Empower Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary in their mission to protect less fortunate wildlife by donating to Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary located at 8545 Buttemere Rd. Phelan, CA, 92371. For information, call (760) 868-2755, foreverwildsanctuary.org, or find them on Facebook at Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary.