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Meet wolves, exotic animals at North Georgia Zoo
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Visitors to the North Georgia Zoo and Petting Farm may meet Atara and Gideon during the winter wolf encounter on Saturdays in December and January.

Located at 2912 Paradise Valley Road in Cleveland, the zoo will hold a host of holiday and seasonal events for the entire family.

Winter wolf encounter

The wolf is an animal so entwined with American legend, it has taken on a mystical quality.

Starting at 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays in December and January, the zoo will offer guests a chance to get a closer look at the pack.

For $100 each, guests may closely observe the wolves in the woods and spend time teaching them, alongside a trainer. Training will include “targeting” or taking an item safely from a person’s hand, zoo office assistant Cherri Woody said.

Encounters are customized to each guest, whether time would be better spent observing in the woods taking photographs or personal interaction.

The zoo hopes the encounters will help people “learn to respect the animals,” Woody said, adding the gained respect encourages people to become more environmentally conscious.

Winter wonderland tour

A special guided tour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, Dec. 12 and 19, allows visitors to mingle with exotic animals.

It gives guests the opportunity of “seeing the animals in the colder climates with their heavier coats,” Woody said.

Guests will also experience a hands-on interaction with one to three animals trained to interact with humans and have an opportunity to feed and pet camels.

On the tour, there is time to interact with rare miniature breeds in the petting zoo, Woody said.

Reservations are required. Admission is $35 for adults and $32 for children.

Winter break and Christmas tree toss

Following Christmas Day, the zoo collects gently used, live Christmas trees from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 26-30. Then staffers give them to the animals as “healthy holiday treats,” Woody said.

Used as a enrichment items, the animals climb, roll around and drag the trees to entertain themselves.

Live trees can be dropped off at White County Farmers Exchange, Ash Brothers Feed & Farm Supply, The Torch worship center and Clarkesville Veterinary Hospital.

The zoo will not accept artificial trees, trees sprayed with any chemicals or any trees with man-made materials on them.

For more information about the North Georgia Zoo and Petting Farm, visit www.northgeorgiazoo.com.

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