Visit The Elephant Sanctuary's Welcome Center


The Elephant Sanctuary habitat is not open to the public.

All of the Girls are retired from zoos and circuses where they lived their lives on exhibit to the public. To ensure minimal intrusion on the sanctity of their Sanctuary, the elephant habitat is not open to the public. The Elephant Sanctuary is, however, dedicated to educating the public about these amazing animals in our care.

The staff and volunteers at the Welcome Center invite the public to stop by located 4 miles from the elephant habitat on Main Street in Hohenwald. The Welcome Center features:

  • Videos of our Girls
  • Monthly Presentations by Staff about the elephants
  • Photo exhibit featuring the Sanctuary residents
  • The Elephant Sanctuary Gift Shop offers a full line of our Sanctuary merchandise—all proceeds directly benefit the elephants in our care.

While at the Welcome Center, visitors may also access our network of 13 cameras (Elecams) which are strategically placed throughout all three habitats, and enjoy live streaming video of the Girls in their natural environment without intruding on their Sanctuary. The staff and volunteers welcome everyone to visit and learn about our Girls and their lives in Sanctuary.

The Welcome Center is located at:

27 East Main Street
Hohenwald, TN 38462

Hours of Operation:

Thursdays       11:00 am to 4:00 pm
Fridays            11:00 am to 4:00 pm

Presentations are made on select Saturdays each month. Group presentations available by appointment throughout the week.

For more information, contact 931-796-6500 ext: 101 or email elephant@elephants.com.

In recognition of the commitment, perseverance, and milestones achieved by The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, the State of Tennessee, Lewis County, and the City of Hohenwald have declared October 2016 as Elephant Awareness Month.

Governor Bill Haslam, Lewis County Mayor Bill Webb, and Hohenwald City Mayor Danny McKnight all signed official proclamations stating, "The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee continually sets and reaches its goals, and works collaboratively to share best-practices to help improve the management, treatment, and care of elephants everywhere."  

Calendar of Events:

SEPTEMBER 28

Hohenwald / Lewis County Proclamation Signings by City Mayor Danny McKnight and County Mayor Bill Webb declaring October Elephant Awareness Month – Location Hohenwald City Hall at 11:00 a.m.

OCTOBER 7 & 8

Oktober Heritage Festival, Hohenwald, TN; 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  All events are free and family friendly!

  • The Elephant Sanctuary Activity Booth
    Friday and Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Visit the Elephant Sanctuary activity booth in the city parking lot to help make some special treats for the elephants! (No live animals will be present at this event.)

  • Elephant Care 101
    Friday 11 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
    Saturday 11 a.m.

    Join The Sanctuary staff inside the Elephant Discovery Center on Main St to see how rewards and trust are used to train elephant behavior necessary for their own health care, such as presenting feet for a "pedicure" or holding out their trunk for an examination. This program will be interactive, educational, and fun for all ages. Demonstrations will use volunteers and visual aids. Caregivers will share how they use a system of positive reinforcement and Protected Contact (PC) when working with the elephants and how the elephants are trained in behaviors necessary for their own health care, such as presenting their feet for a "pedicure" or holding out their trunk for an examination. This program will be interactive, fun, and educational for all ages.
  • Hadari's First Year
    Saturday 2:00 p.m.
    Join us at the Elephant Discovery for a special presentation on Hadari’s first year. Learn from staff how African elephant Hadari's first 365 days of retirement have been spent in The Sanctuary.
  • Elephant Poster Art Project Exhibition
    Friday and Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
    Lewis County Elementary School 2nd Grade Elephant Poster Art Project will be on exhibit.
  • Elephant Poster Art Project Reception for Artists and their Families
    Friday and Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 12 p.m.
    Participating students and their families (and friends) are invited to visit the Welcome Center for refreshments.

Art exhibit will remain on display at the Welcome Center for the remainder of the month from the hours of 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily Thursdays and Fridays.

OCTOBER 8 - 11

  • The Sanctuary is hosting a group of volunteers from the University of North Carolina-Asheville. They will be helping with a variety of projects.

OCTOBER 11 & 12

  • Two third grade classes from Lewis County Intermediate School, adopted by The Elephant Sanctuary, stop by The Elephant Discovery Center to learn all about the elephants and what they do every day in their Hohenwald habitats.

OCTOBER 17

  • Staff shares stories from The Sanctuary with students at Nashville's Whitsett Elementary School.

OCTOBER 18 &19

  • The Sanctuary Staff visits the Lewis County Elementary School Library to share with students how elephants interact with one another and "play."

OCTOBER 22

  • The fourth Saturday of October is Elephant Browse Collection day at The Elephant Discovery Center! Every day during the winter, The Elephant Sanctuary feeds a significant amount of browse to each elephant. What’s browse? Non-toxic branches and leaves from specific species of trees and shrubs. Browse is a natural food for elephants in the wild. While the large habitats at The Sanctuary provide browse for the elephants, Caregivers supply browse for the elephants when the cooler winter weather encourages them to spend more time inside the heated barns.  The Sanctuary's neighbors in southern Middle Tennessee are encouraged to bring their tree and shrub trimmings to The Elephant Discovery Center on October 22nd rather than leaving them on the curb!

OCTOBER 26 & 27

  • Students from the Lomax Christian Day School visit the Elephant Discovery Center to learn more about elephants and help create some enrichment devices.

ALL MONTH:

  • Throughout the month of October, The Sanctuary's volunteer EleAmbassadors will be giving presentations to civic, social, and school groups across the state.
  • Also during the month of October, you can schedule a Distance Learning Program with The Elephant Sanctuary for your local library, school group, or community group for just $50—a 50% discount! Spread awareness and understanding about elephants. Delivered virtually by Sanctuary Staff, our Distance Learning Program includes video, photos, interactions with staff live-streaming EleCam views. Contact todd@elephants.com for more information.