If you live in Lockport and think you hear the howl of wolves late at night, you are not dreaming. The rustic Big Run Wolf Ranch, at 14857 Farrell Road, is a place where you can experience North American wildlife–especially an assortment of 11 wolves.
We visited the ranch on November 28, 2015 for a family day open house event. We parked on Farrell Road–about a block away–since the ranch has limited parking. After paying our six dollar fee, we were free to roam about. The docents and workers were friendly and inviting, willing to answer questions about their rescued animals. We found a Siberian tiger named Khan, Charlie the Cougar, a porcupine, a very wily Coyote, and even a horse. Kuma, the Black Bear was in semi-hibernation–so sorry to have missed him! Underfoot, there were peahens, and various water fowl lounging along the creek–they seemed to enchant the large group of children attending the event.
John Basile, the owner who had started the ranch thirty years ago as a not for profit refuge and wildlife educational center, gave a talk and presentation featuring Sitka, the youngest wolf on the ranch. We could see the playful spirit of Sitka, who was playing ball with her handler–but had to keep in mind her wild nature. There is a reason that the animals are securely kept in their compounds inside a rather large fence.
Basile told stories about the animals. We especially liked the one about Kuma who was sold at a flea market for $300. Eventually, the black bear was confiscated by authorities (it is against the law for unlicensed citizens to possess wild animals) and brought to Big Run.
Santa was there too! What a photo op!
The ranch is not open to the public but scheduled groups (school field trips, overnight camping, corporate events, birthday parties, etc.) can arrange to visit the facility. We recommend that you take advantage of the next open house on January 30, 2016, which will feature a dog sledding demonstration. Contact http://www.bigrunwolfranch.org for more information. Wear your boots and dress warmly to enjoy your adventure in the great outdoors.