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“A fun day!”

Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo
Ranked #6 of 15 things to do in Thurmont
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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.
Reviewed 8 September 2017 via mobile

Last weekend I went here with my in-laws and 6 year old son. It was about an hour ride from Baltimore which wasn't bad at all. It was a lot bigger than I expected and had a great variety of animals. My son loved getting to feed and pet so many different creatures! We went on the safari and I definitely recommend it even with the added cost. It was very bumpy and had a lot of stops to interact with the animals. We all enjoyed this! The staff member on this was very friendly and knowledgeable. Aside from her we only saw 1 other staff member with the giant turtle. They both seemed to really care for the animals. There were a lot of people that day but it didn't feel overly crowded. The layout can be confusing and there should be complimentary maps for people to take with them. Apparently you can buy them at the front but I didn't realize that at the time. My son did the camel ride as well and enjoyed it. To me, the animals seem well cared for. There were so many different kinds of animals and all different ages. We loved seeing all of the babies :) The only down side to the zoo is the cost. I understand they need to make money to keep open, but for 4 people it was super expensive. Luckily I had a Cerifikid voucher so that helped with admission, but add on 4 safari rides, food to feed the animals, and a camel ride and it really added up. We all enjoyed ourselves, especially my son, but I couldn't afford to come here often. It was a nice end of the summer treat though :)

Thank Melissa B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"safari ride"
in 46 reviews
"feed the animals"
in 14 reviews
"great variety of animals"
in 4 reviews
"much nicer"
in 4 reviews
"animals seem"
in 4 reviews
"andean condor"
in 3 reviews
"snake house"
in 3 reviews
"shaded areas"
in 3 reviews
"venomous snakes"
in 4 reviews
"day trip"
in 10 reviews
"once a year"
in 4 reviews
in 21 reviews
in 21 reviews
in 22 reviews
in 11 reviews
in 10 reviews
in 9 reviews

23 - 27 of 235 reviews

Reviewed 4 September 2017

So - I last wrote about our April 2014 visit (4 / 5), and we decided to take our youngest as she hadn't seen this zoo.

It's a small private zoo, and they're working to make it better for the animals, but there's lots of work to be done....

First off, the fee - $73 for a family of 4 (and that's including a military discount) and two animal foods ($3 @) and two koi foods ($1 @) - seems a bit high.

The setting is very nice, with lots of tress and flowering bushes throughout, but the signage is still lacking.

This zoo has lots of unique animals including--
- Paccas from Madagascar
- Red Kangaroos & Dingos from Australia
- Baboons from Africa
- Arctic wolves and American alligators from North America
- Anaconda & Andean condor from South Africa

Some of the animals are well cared for, and have ample enclosures... and they are building a new house for the pair of Paccas, and a new larger wolf enclosure for the Arctic wolves.... but other animals that definitely need more space -- the Bengal tigers, the Jaguar, the Leopard and most definitely the 3 sun bears.
Several of the monkey enclosures could easily be doubled.

As to the park attendants -- we saw them at the entrance and the extensive gift shop... and that's it.

I'm still very concerned with the alligator enclosure and the minimalist waist high barrier. There are 13+ gators in there, and one person falling in, or some parent accidently fumbling their little one into the enclosure and it's all over! Plus there's no docent or staff anywhere nearby.

We went Labor Day weekend (you know last big weekend before Fall) and most if not all of the food kiosks were closed. Though they do let you bring in your own food.

There are two small play areas which is nice for the little ones, and there's a nice picnic area.

I think the highlight for my children was feeding the animals -- not just sheep and goats, but apacha's, fallow deer, etc... they had a blast there!

The signage for the park is still weak, and not at every intersection... probably because they want to see you their $3 park maps.

Overall it was a fun day, but we probably won't be back as both kids have now seen it.

Service: Sub-par
Food: None
Parking: Open, free lots
Animals: Lots of unique animals
Docents: What docents?!

PS - get your reciprocity with other AZA Zoos & Aquariums

1  Thank COTraveller33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 September 2017

I visited this local zoo on a Saturday afternoon with my grand kids, ages 7 and 15 months. The line to pay and enter was long and moving very slowly around 10:45 in the morning. Only one cashier was open until we got closer to the window and then a second one opened. Admission is a little steep and they really push you to purchase feed for the animals that they sell at the window.

The park itself is nicely wooded and very cool even with the sun shining on a hot August day. We explored many different exhibits and a large variety of small and large creatures. Each section of the zoo is identified with locations from around the world. My grandson enjoyed seeing the varied tortoises and the alligator pond. He also liked the exhibits that are located inside buildings like the reptile building and the venomous snakes exhibit.

The paths throughout the grounds are unpaved and mostly gravel. Some of the gravel is deep which makes it hard to push a stroller.

Camel rides and safari rides are available but at an extra cost. Feed is in dispensers at most of the fish and bird locations also at an extra charge.

Parking is free out front and in a large grass lot on the side of the zoo.

All in all, we enjoyed our visit. It was a pleasant experience in an enjoyable location.

Thank FF13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 September 2017 via mobile

Went to the catochin zoo today, spent the day with the grandchildren. Had a great time, the catochin zoo is a great place to take the kids and enjoy the day, the zoo has a nice path to follow, and most of it is shaded. The kids can get up close and see the animals in there natural habitat. The staff are all around and are eager to answer all questions. It was a little expensive but worth the looks and smiles on our grandchildren's faces. Young or old this is a place where you can go and have fun

Thank Mark S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 3 September 2017 via mobile

stopped on the way to Hershey park. Great break from the car ride. Took about 2 hours. Kids liked the Camel rides, 5$. Admission gate took our Norfolk zoo pass and got 50% off. Would have liked the safari tour but ran out of time. zoo is not as nice as NC state zoo but equal to DC zoo. we enjoyed the zoo.

Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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