I’m not quite sure how I ended up on this particular Airbnb experience page. I knew I wanted a birthday surprise for Ryan, possibly a trip over the weekend. I might have only been searching for accommodations in various cities within a few hours flying time away, but somehow all the pieces fell into place for us to experience Predators of the Heart. Without hesitation, I booked the experience and pretty much turned Ryan’s birthday surprise into a 24-hour quick trip up to Washington in the middle of the work week back in June.
Predators of the Heart is a nonprofit organization and wildlife refuge located in Anacortes, WA, an hour and a half outside of Seattle. It is dedicated to preserving and educating the public about predators and their importance in our ecosystem. It has partnered with Airbnb to provide a wolf encounter experience with all proceeds of the experience donated to the organization.
Unfortunately, it was too exciting not to give him hints here and there, and pretty soon he could guess what I was up to. He was still excited about the whole trip, so letting some of the details slip and having someone to be excited with wasn’t so bad.
We flew up to Seattle after work on Wednesday night and explored the Anacortes area the next morning before our wolf encounter in the afternoon. We grabbed brunch in town, walked around the shops, and then went to explore the local parks.
Can’t really complain about these gorgeous views!
After taking in some of the scenery, we headed over to Predators of the Heart. We were about 15 minutes early and were welcomed as soon as we walked up to the office. When all others on the Airbnb experience had arrived, there were introductions and videos. One that stood out in particular highlighted the impact of hunting wolves at Yellowstone National Park to that local ecosystem. Upon re-introduction of wolves to Yellowstone, the ecosystem began to thrive again, really showing how important predators are. More on that can be found: here.
After the videos and intros, it was off to meet the animals!
We met two of their wolf ambassadors, Max and Kakoa. After time greeting, getting licks (Yes, licks to the FACE!) from them and taking photos with them, the group headed out on a short hike through the trails of their 10-acre wildlife preserve.
Max! The wolves love their cuddles and belly rubs!
During the walk, the wolves acted much like dogs do on a walk - sniffing around, scratching the ground, except they go where they want to, and the person chained to them can only make a suggestion. They’re still very much wild animals and will act upon instinct. Some of their behaviors were very familiar to us (same ones as our doggos past and present), so it was funny to see what they must have gotten from their wolf ancestors.
Scratching an itch just like a doggo!
We learned more about Dave’s plans for the sanctuary and where the funds raised through these Airbnb experiences would go - mainly expanding wolf areas and building out more animal facilities. They definitely go out of their way to make your visit memorable. There’s plenty of photo-taking and even a howling session with the wolves.
After the hike, we also had a chance to meet some of the other rescued animals on site - the younger wolves, the wolf pups, sloths, bobcats, and more.
At the time of our visit, they were building a new sloth home. From their FB page, looks like they finished!
Wolf pup! Somebody got peed on by one of them. LOL.
Overall, we loved the experience. It was the best surprise, and I’d recommend this experience in a heartbeat!
Afterwards, we had enough time to get through Seattle’s rush hour traffic and grab dinner from Paseo to enjoy at the airport before our flight home. A quick, but memorable, 24-hour trip!