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“Commendation of the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo”

Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo
Ranked #4 of 14 things to do in Thurmont
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: From macaws to monkeys, boas to bears, this zoo offers visitors a chance to get up-close-and-personal with many different animals.
Washington, DC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Commendation of the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 July 2014

We sent to the staff at the Catoctin Wuildlife Preserve and Zoo the following commendation of this magnificent zoo:

We wish to express our appreciation of the CWP and the staff who make it such a wonderful wildlife preserve. The number and variety of animals is extraordinary. Each animal inhabits a beautifully tailored environment, and all appear so well cared for--staff, who are attentive to both animals and guests, are constantly active. The overall ambiance of the CWP is glorious, with evident detail to carefully planned and maintained surrounds; the walkways are throughout a delight to the horticulturist, with delightful touches everywhere of carefully placed and maintained flowers, shrubs, and trees. We observed the gleeful faces of numerous children who enjoyed the safari ride, camel ride, petting areas, toy shop, and picnic/food areas--as well as the many animals as well. The CWP is an accessible treasure and a delightful opportunity for a day apart. We commend the hard-working and very professional staff who make this joyful adventure possible. Thank you!

Visited July 2014
3 Thank jmcgeee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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189 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Bethesda, Maryland
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“What do they feed the animals?”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 June 2014

I visited the zoo today with my two kids, ages 3 and 7. My kids love animals so we decided to visit Catoctin, based on the ability to get up close to and feed the animals. We paid the extra $10 per person for the safari ride. Unfortunately, the safari was canceled due to mechanical problems. Before our safari was cancelled, though, the staff handed us food to feed the animals we would encounter on the ride. We received English muffins for the bison and popcorn for the other animals. I am not an animal expert, but I am pretty sure that English muffins are not in the natural diet for bison. I thought perhaps they were special muffins baked with extra vitamins and minerals, but then I saw the shed where the zoo stored hundreds of boxes of Thomas English muffins. I then took notice of what the other animals were eating. The camels were fed cookies straight from a warehouse store sized box of animal crackers. The apes, monkeys, and lemurs were given boxed raisins; conceivably grapes and raisins are healthy foods for these animals, but I then saw the apes and monkeys eating the remaining raisin boxes that were littered around their cages. Several species of birds were given French baguette bread. I am very concerned about the welfare of these animals.

Beyond the animal feeding, conditions at the zoo were not much better. There are no bathrooms after the front gate, only porta poties. The porta potty I used near the safari was overflowing with human excrement and looked like it had not been emptied in at least a day. It was disgusting. There is animal excrement all over the pathways of the zoo - not all of which can be attributed to the geese that wander freely through the park. Other animals must be led along the paths. At times it was difficult for us to dodge the excrement.

The zoo is very rundown. The site map is very misleading, indicating exhibits and animals that are no longer at the zoo. My kids would run to find a certain animal, only to find the habitat completely empty.

In its favor, the staff at the zoo was very kind and accommodating. We were refunded the money for our cancelled safari without incident.

We will not visit again.

Visited June 2014
5 Thank Amy E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
South Daytona, Florida
Level Contributor
69 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Nice place for a day trip”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 June 2014 via mobile

Have only been here a few times in my life, but always enjoy it. My little nephew has been here a few times recently, so he kind of acted like our personal tour guide, lol. I may be kind of bias but my favorite part was getting to see the tiger. :)

Thank whttiger911
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Baltimore, Maryland
Level Contributor
128 reviews
47 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“Not Bad For The Price - Friendly Staff”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 May 2014

This place kind of reminds me of that movie "We Bought A Zoo" - very mom and pop but the staff is friendly and the kids love this place. Parking was easy and convenient. I recommend spending the extra $10.00 for the safari ride - it really makes the whole trip worth it.

My suggestion is pack your own water and possibly wipes. They have one "real" bathroom but it is at the very front of the park. They have spot a pots strategically placed throughout the park but ewww!..lol.

**Also, bring quarters for the fish food and petting zoo food machines.

Visited May 2014
5 Thank Kris M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
rockville maryland
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Great Place for the kids”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 May 2014

My kids love to go there - and pet many of the animals - and feed some in the 'petting area'. Prices are reasonable. The Safari ride is great (but expensive). The parakeet aviary is wonderful - the parakeets will be all over you - eating from your hand. And you do enough walking to get a little bit of exercise. Maybe expect to spend at least a couple hours there.

Visited May 2014
4 Thank tkfarley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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