Visit The Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Naples Florida

Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Naples Florida

About the Shy Wolf Sanctuary

Nancy and Kent Smith have been offering sanctuary and a home to exotic, stray and injured animals since 1993. The expense of caring for these animals had been carried by them privately for many years. Michael Kloman read about Nancy and her wolves in a local paper in November 1999. It wasn’t long before he was mentioning Shy Wolf Sanctuary, a name given informally by Michael, at the local dog park where he took his rescued wolfdog Nakipa.

November 2000 brought Deanna Deppen for a visit after meeting Michael and Nakipa at the local pet store. She strongly urged Nancy and Michael to form a non-profit corporation in order to accept donations of materials, food, and to seek grants. With her enthusiasm and connections she was able to get both local newspapers and the television news to do a story, along with a spot on a live TV morning news show. Michael took advantage of two local talk radio shows to bring Shy Wolf Sanctuary from being known by word of mouth to a broader radio market, further expanding local knowledge and support of the animals.

January 19th, 2001, is the official “birthday” of Shy Wolf Sanctuary, Education and Experience Center, Inc., (SWS) a Florida non-profit and 501(c)(3) tax exempt corporation.

Nancy, Kent, and many dedicated volunteers over the years have built enclosures, cleaned, maintained the facility and lovingly cared for the animals…all while sharing their love and knowledge of the animals with surrounding Southwest Florida communities through outreach and educational programs!

Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Naples Florida

During our visit, we we led through the sanctuary by volunteers and introduced to their different rescued animals. Our first introduction was to a friendly Dingo, who loved giving kisses to the kids on the tour!

Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Naples Florida

While there are certain areas where you can actually go into their enclosures with the tour guide and meet the animals, you can’t actually wander around the facility on your own – for your safety and for the safety of the animals.

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In addition to wolves and wolfdogs, the Shy Wolf Sanctuary rescues other animals, like these tortoises, which were very friendly!

Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Naples Florida

Angeline had a blast meeting a few of the wolves and wolf dogs – her favorite was this friendly wolf dog hybrid who came right up to her for a nice session of petting.

Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Naples Florida

Chris enjoyed meeting the wolves too, like this shy wolf (it’s named the SHY WOLF sanctuary for a reason, after all) who was rescued by the center as a pup.

Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Naples Florida

While she was too shy to come out of her enclosure to meet us, our guides did bring us into the enclosure with her and her mate (who hid behind the bushes until we left) to get to know her. Everyone in our group loved being able to walk right up to a real wolf and pet her!

While it was nice to have this experience, our guide kept reminding us throughout the tour that we should NEVER approach a wolf in the wild, as these wolves were raised in captivity and used to human interaction. There were even some wolves that we could not approach at all – the guides only allowed us to get up close and personal with the animals that were friendly.

Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Naples Florida

For instance, the Florida Panther? She was in an enclosed area with a secondary fencing structure to keep us safe. Some of the animals in the sanctuary are WILD ANIMALS, after all.

Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Naples Florida

This little Bobcat was so pretty, but she was not friendly towards humans. Our guide went into the enclosure with her and played with her a bit, and I was jealous!

I’ve never seen a Bobcat up close and this experience gave me an entirely new appreciation for the majestic animals!

Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Naples Florida

As much as I love wolves, my favorite part of the tour was with the smaller animals (prairie dogs and foxes), where I saw my first Arctic Fox! This adorable little furball actually had an air conditioned little house to go into when she got too hot, because as you can imagine, the balmy temperature of South Florida is NOT her natural habitat.

Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Naples Florida

Visit the Shy Wolf Sanctuary

If you are in South Florida, or planning a trip anytime soon, I strongly recommend adding a stop at the Shy Wolf Sanctuary to your trip!

You can find out more information on the Shy Wolf Sanctuary website. You can arrange a visit to the Shy Wolf Sanctuary by calling 239-455-1698  or emailing

Volunteer at the Shy Wolf Sanctuary

If you would like to get in touch with the Shy Wolf Sanctuary for educational programs or speaking engagements, you can reach them at 239-455-1698 or by email

If you are a South Florida resident, you can inquire about volunteering – it is a 100% volunteer-run organization! What a great way to make a difference in the lives of these animals and have fun while doing so! You can call 239-290-9867 or email

You can also help in their rescue efforts or even adopt a wolf or wolf dog from the Shy Wolf Sanctuary! Call 239-290-9867 for more information.


Carnival Miracle Will Deliver Hurricane Relief Supplies to Cabo San Lucas

Carnival Miracle will depart Saturday, Oct. 4 from Long Beach, Calif., on the first voyage of a new year-round cruise program to the Mexican Riviera. The Carnival Miracle will be among the first to visit Cabo San Lucas following Hurricane Odile, where it will have a port of call on October 6 – loaded with relief supplies provided by Carnival for local residents!

Carnival Miracle

As you might recall, I was recently on the Carnival Miracle in Alaska. Well, the cruising season is just about over in Alaska, so the Carnival Miracle is now cruising year-round through the Mexican Riviera! This new program will encompass three different week-long itineraries, including a new three-port, seven-day cruise featuring Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas.

During the ship’s first visit to Cabo San Lucas, the crew will be off-loading several pallets of bottled water, canned food, cereal, diapers, paper products, personal items and other supplies for local residents. As you know, I am a big fan of Carnival Cruise Lines, and this is just one more reason why I love the cruise line so much: they have a heart!

“We have been in close contact with officials in Cabo San Lucas and have sent our own teams there to evaluate the recovery process,” said Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines.  “The residents, along with local, state and federal authorities, have worked extremely hard to ready the destination to receive visitors and revitalize the economic contribution that tourism brings to the area.  At the same time, local residents are still in need of relief supplies and it is extremely gratifying to be resuming our Mexican Riviera cruise program while doing some good for the local community,” Cahill added.

Carlos Joaquin Gonzalez, federal under minister of tourism for Mexico, stated, “Our tourism destinations are ready to receive visitors.  Tourism is an important part of the local economy and we are grateful for everyone’s contribution to the recovery of Los Cabos.  The destination is ready for cruise passengers and the majority of restaurants, shops and tours are ready to be enjoyed.”

Carnival Miracle’s year-round schedule from Long Beach also includes two other itinerary options.  The first is a seven-day, two-port itinerary that features a stop in Cabo San Lucas, along with a two-day overnight stay in Puerto Vallarta. The second alternate itinerary includes a visit to Puerto Vallarta, along with a two-day call at Cabo San Lucas.

For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit


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How NOT to Blow Your Diet on a Cruise

With the focus I place on the delicious dining options on Carnival Cruise Lines, it’s no wonder that I am often asked how I maintain my weight while cruising. Many of my regular readers might recall that I lost 30+ pounds in 2012, and I am constantly working on either losing regained weight or maintaining my weight once I am successful. With as often as I travel, and my But I’m On Vacation! attitude towards food, it isn’t always easy to make healthy food choices…but it’s not actually difficult either!

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How NOT to Blow Your Diet on a Cruise

Drink Water Instead of Soda

This might seem like common sense, but I think it needs to be said: drink water. You can also save money while cruising by skipping the soda package and drinking the free beverage options:lemonade, tea and water. Those are things that I drink anyway, as I am not a big fan of soda. Just as soda adds empty calories while you are home, it’s especially helpful to skip the soda and drink water while cruising.

There’s also a bonus to choosing water over soda while cruising: you’ll stay hydrated while playing in the pool on the Lido Deck!

Start Your Day with Protein

While Carnival Cruise Lines offers many delicious options in their breakfast buffet (and room service!), make sure that you are eating at least a little protein in the mornings. Scrambled eggs, bacon, Canadian bacon or ham, eggs benedict – whatever fits your diet plan, make sure to start your day with solid proteins so that your body has fuel and you are less tempted to hit the 24 hour soft serve ice cream station…several times.

eggs benedict

Tip: Speaking of ice cream, did you know that Carnival Cruise Lines has a lowfat frozen yogurt option in their ice cream machine? It’s a great way to indulge in a sweet treat without totally blowing your dessert allowance for the day!


You will also find that the buffet serves yogurt as well as a wide variety of fresh fruit each morning. Take advantage of the low calorie, healthy options and why not grab a banana or apple to go? You’ll have a healthy snack for later on!

The Salad Bar is Your Friend

Carnival Cruise Lines offers everyone’s favorite vacation food in the form of delicious cheeseburgers, pizza and burritos at their specialty restaurants, but there are so many options in the buffet area too! Before heading to the buffet line to pile your plate high with fried chicken, casseroles, comfort food and the like, stop at the salad bar and fill your plate with leafy greens and fresh veggies. There is always a salad bar in the buffet area at lunch and dinner, which makes it easy to balance your meal with a healthy salad and a little indulgent food.


Hit the Gym at Sea

There is also a pretty fantastic gym on every Carnival ship, so wake up early and get your workout in before the day of fun begins! You can also find a jogging track on most Sun Decks, and while I am not a runner, I love taking morning walks along the track while the sun rises. It’s the perfect way to start my day!

Take The Stairs

Unless we are disembarking on a shore excursion, I always take the stairs when cruising. I am not a gym aficionado, so that is how I get my exercise while cruising! It’s a great – and easy – way to work off the extra calories you are consuming while on vacation!

Another obvious way to get a good workout in while cruising is to do a few laps in the pool. Many spend a lot of time in the pool but don’t think about actually swimming – it’s a great way to get a full body workout while still having a ton of fun. Make sure you get there early if you like to swim alone, as the Lido Deck is usually full on bright and sunny days!

Sample Indulgent Dinner Options in Smaller Portions

Did you know that you can request many of the dinner entrees as a starter in the main dining room on Carnival Cruise Lines? While you are free to order a second main course to sample if you want a little indulgence alongside your healthy dinner option, you can ask for a starter course if the option is designated on the menu. It’s a fun way to try a little bit of something without going overboard at dinner time.


There are also lighter menu items alongside the more indulgent dishes, I’ve often seen grilled fish and chicken, as well as vegetarian options!

How do you stay on track with your diet plan while on vacation? I would love to hear your tips!

Have The Perfect Family Vacation In Branson

When you Google top family destinations across the country, one of the search suggestions belongs to Branson, MO. That’s because this one of the best cities to have an R&R with the family. The city itself was built for this kind of activity. Every corner is riddled with establishments for relaxation and entertainment. There are lots of wonderful attractions to visit like museums, theatres, theme parks, and many more.

Here are some of the things to see in Branson, MO which are perfect for that family getaway you’ve always been planning.

Silver Dollar City

A family vacation is not complete without a trip to the city’s premier theme park— the Silver Dollar City. It is filled with all sorts of rides that the whole family can enjoy. What’s unique about this amusement park is that it has an 1800’s vibe as seen in its rides. These are perfect for those who seek thrill and adventure.

silver dollar city

Meanwhile, kids can also enjoy their visit at SDC because there are areas intended for them. For instance, there’s a park where kids can play and partake in some activities prepared by staff. Crafts and shows for kids and adults too are always available in SDC.

silver dollar city attraction

Apart from rides and kiddie activities, the family can also take witness shows prepared to its guests. Entertainment is a forte in Branson and Silver Dollar City has prepared shows suitable for the whole family. There are fireworks show, dive-in movies, and entertain cruises. In addition, the family can spend the night in the wilderness of SDC where camp sites are available.

silver dollar city for kids

Table Rock Lake

For a perfect family getaway, include Table Rock Lake in your itinerary. This is the best place to visit if you are looking for an experience close to nature. Created in the 50s, the lake has been a destination among locals. Now, it is also being marketed as one of Branson’s tourist spots.


The Table Rock Lake is composed of 50,000 acres of crystal clear and serene water. Folks can snorkel or fish on the lake or they can also set a camp site at the lake shore.Boating and fishing are also popular in Table Rock Lake. Visitors can climb aboard Branson Belle a regular showboat in the area. This showboat offers amazing cuisine and entertainment that will surely please everyone.


Dogwood Canyon

Branded as the ultimate nature park, Dogwood Canyon is one of the premier family tourist destinations in Branson, Mo. Families will surely love the 6 mile hiking and biking trail with a stocked trout fishing stream on the side. It also boasts a wide picnic and camping area for those looking to dine with nature. What’s amazing about the place is that the locals have preserved the area well despite being visited by thousands of tourists annually. It was the place that English settlers used to traverse and the tourism board of Branson has kept its essence for the enjoyment of today’s tourists. The best activity to accomplish here is to ride a horse while traversing through the path made by the English settlers. Visitors can also marvel at the magnificent sights offered by Ozark Mountains while horseback riding. Meanwhile, bike rentals are available to those who wish to explore the place through biking. On the other hand if they wish to explore it by foot, Dogwood Canyon has paths intended for hikers.

These are some of the attractions to include when visiting Branson, MO. There are other destinations for the family to discover as well. What’s great about having a family vacation here is that it can be realized any time of the year as Branson’s family destinations are open all year round.


Author Bio: April is an online publisher for The Cabins at GrandMountain in Branson, MO. She often writes about camping, Midwest traveling, and log cabin experiences. 

Photography provided by Mellisa Swigart of, a fellow blogging friend who often writes about travel on her site! I highly recommend checking her out for firsthand stories of her visits to Branson, like her recent zip line adventure!