Today Trey and I visited an animal rehabilitation center south of Atlanta called Noah’s Ark.
If you read the “What is an Ark” section of their website they do a great job of explaining why they choose their name. It isn’t just because they have lots of animals and the Biblical Ark had lots of animals. They are “an Ark in the modern day ‘flood’ of abuse and neglect… an Ark [that] houses, protects and cares for hundreds of God’s Creatures; large, small, hungry, abused, neglected, lonely, injured, hurting.” Just like Noah’s Ark protected the animals from the consequences of mankind’s actions, this rehab center does the same.
Now for the really cool part. Noah’s Ark is also a children’s home. Children from all sorts of troubled backgrounds who are in the custody of the State stay at Noah’s Ark. Some stay for a night or weekend, others stay for years. The animals at the center play an important role in meetings the needs of the kids as do the kids for the animals. They have a very moving video on YouTube that you can watch that details what their program is about (if you can get past the really cheesy music).
The amazing thing about the animal portion of the center is that it is free to visit (though they do request and rely on donations). Over 1000 animals that range from the small like iguanas and parrots to the large like lions, and tigers, and bears (oh my!). They are open Tues-Sat from 12-3pm and have 250 acres of land you can meander through and see the animals. Forget the Atlanta Zoo with its $19 admission fee and crowds of people!
Trey was really excited to see so many animals he had only seen in his books up until now. His favorites were the emus (freaky!), the local-celebrity zebra named Evidence (story here), and the parrots that wouldn’t stop talking.
Trey came away from Noah’s Ark talking about emus and zebras and lions that roar. I came away from it reminded that Heidi and I are blessed with stable, loving families.