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Best Elephant experience in US

Have you ever wanted to see an elephant up close and personal and live in the US? Have you been wanting to go on an elephant ride or watch them paint?

In this post we’ll discuss the best elephant experiences in the United States. So, whether you’re in California or Florida, there’s sure to be an elephant experience that’s perfect for you!

If you’re looking for an elephant experience in California, then the San Diego Zoo is a great option. They offer elephant rides, painting sessions, and even opportunities to feed them.

The best part about the San Diego Zoo is that they have a no-kill policy, so you can rest assured that the elephants are well-cared for.

If you’re in the Florida area, then Bush Gardens Tampa is a great place to go. They offer elephant rides, as well as opportunities to feed and bathe them.

They also have a “Elephant Keeper For A Day” program where you can learn all about these amazing animals.

While we are great believers that elephants should roam in the wild and in their natural habitat, we understand that not everyone has the opportunity to travel overseas to see them.

So, if you’re looking for the best elephant destinations in the US, then be sure to check out one of these options.

Top 3 Elephant Places to Visit in the United States

1. The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), North California

Website of The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), North California
Homepage of The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), North California

PAWS Elephant Sanctuary located in Northern California is the best place to have an up close and personal experience with elephants in the United States. There you can have the best elephant experience in US.

Where is it:
Quick info about PAWS in North California

It is home to 5 elephants retired from zoos and circuses, it includes both African and Asian elephants. Basically, the 2,300-acre sanctuary provides the elephants with a naturalistic environment where they can live out their lives in freedom and dignity.

Visitors can see the elephants roaming around their habitat, taking mud baths, and playing with each other. They can also learn about the individual personalities and history of each elephant.

PAWS Elephant Sanctuary is a unique place where people can connect with these amazing animals and learn more about their needs and how to protect them in the wild.


“PAWS Wildlife Sanctuary” by Studio209 on YouTube.

2. Elephant Sanctuary Hendersonville, Tennessee

Website of Elephant Sanctuary Hendersonville, Tennessee
Homepage of Elephant Sanctuary Hendersonville, Tennessee

Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee is the largest natural habitat for captive elephants in the United States. The wild elephants roam freely over 1800 acres of pastureland, forest, and wetland habitats. They are currently hosting both Asian and African elephants and announced earlier this year that their herd is growing with three more elephants, bringing the total of elephants to 9.

Where is it:
Quick info about Elephant Sanctuary Hendersonville in Tennessee

The Elephant Sanctuary provides individualized care, based on the Elephant’s history and current needs. It is elephant welfare that promotes public education about the plight of captive elephants. 

The Elephant Sanctuary of Tennessee was founded in 1995 by Scott Blais, Carol Buckley, and Melinda McCrowth to provide individualized care for elephants in captivity.

As the wild populations of Elephants have been declining constantly since the 2000s due to illegal hunting, human elephant conflict, and habitat loss due to urbanization. They have played a vital role to raise awareness about elephants and how we can save them.

Moreover, the Elephant Sanctuary is open to the public for guided tours and educational programs that promote understanding and awareness of the complex physical and social needs of captive elephants.


“Home & Herd | The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee” by elephantsanctuarytn on YouTube.

3. Elephant Refugee North America (ERNA), Georgia

Website of Elephant Refugee North America (ERNA), Georgia
Homepage of Elephant Refugee North America (ERNA), Georgia

Elephant Refugee North America (ERNA) is a nonprofit organization that provides a safe haven for African elephants. They are currently home to 10 African elephants.

Where is it:
Quick info about ERNA in Georgia

It offers a place where the elephants can roam freely and live in a natural habitat with other elephants. However, The goal of the sanctuary is to provide a safe and secure environment for each elephant residents there, to live out their lives with dignity.

Elephant Refuge North America also offers educational programs about elephant conservation and the importance of protecting these animals in the wild.

If you’re looking for an up close and personal experience with elephants, then ERNA is the perfect place for you!

“Elephant Refuge North America Virtual Tour 2020” by Elephant Aid International on YouTube.

What are the Best Places to Ride Elephant in the US?

Perhaps stating the obvious here, and as we talked about earlier in the post. Generally not big fans of elephant-riding-spectacles outside of their natural habitant. If you have the opportunity to see elephants in the wild, that is always the best option.

However, if you don’t have that opportunity, we believe it’s better for more people to fall in love with these amazing animals than not. If you’re looking for a more hands-on experience with elephants, then you might want to consider ride elephants US. Elephant rides are available at several locations across the United States.

1. The Bronx Zoo, New York City

The Bronx Zoo offers elephant rides as part of their “Wild Asia Monorail” ride. Additionally, The ride takes visitors through the zoo’s Asian exhibits, which include tigers, leopards, and red pandas.

2. Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Orlando, Florida

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is home to several elephants that can be seen on the park’s Kilimanjaro Safaris ride.

3. Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California

Knott’s Berry Farm is a theme park located in southern California. The park offers an elephant ride as part of its “Camp Snoopy” ride.

4. Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, New Jersey

Six Flags Great Adventure is a theme park located in New Jersey. The park offers an elephant ride as part of its “safari” ride.

Moreover, the ride takes guests through a simulated Six Flags Great Adventure where they can see elephants, lions, and other animals.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for best Elephant experience in US, there are a few great places to visit. Our top two picks are The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in California and Elephant Sanctuary Hendersonville in Tennessee. Both locations offer opportunities to interact with elephants, such as rides, petting or even feeding them.

If you’re looking for something closer to home, check out the Bronx Zoo or Disney’s Animal Kingdom. They both offer unique experiences that are sure to please everyone in the family.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Best Elephant experience in US

Are There Any Elephant Sanctuaries In The United States?

The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), California, and The Elephant Sanctuary, Tennessee, are two sanctuaries that provide exceptional housing for elephants.

How Much Does It Cost To Ride An Elephant At Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

The cost of riding an elephant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is $30 per person.

Where Can I Pet Elephants In The US?

The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee is a popular destination for those looking to get up close and personal with elephants. In order to have a more hands-off experience, the Miami Zoo has an African elephant exhibit where visitors can watch the elephants play, eat, and socialize. Finally, the Dallas Zoo has a program called “Elephant Encounters” where guests can learn about elephant behavior and even help to feed them.

Which Organization Runs The Largest Elephant Sanctuary In The US?

The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. It is the largest natural habitat for elephants in the US. However, The mission of the organization is to provide a safe haven for elephants that have been retired from zoos and circuses.

By Olivia Garcia

Olivia Garcia is originally from Texas. She fell in love with Elephants during a trip to Africa in the early 2010s, where she got to see these beautiful creatures up close. She spent a total of 6 months at the Desert Elephants Volunteer Project in Namibia, living amongst elephants.

Today, she lives with her husband and two kids in Texas. Olivia dreams about one day taking her kids to Africa to show them where she fell in love with elephants!

4 replies on “Best Elephant experience in US”

My Grandfather was the founder of The Duluth Zoo know known as the Lake Superior Zoo in Minnesota. We had an Elephant. Her name was Bessie. We all loved her. I am honoring my Grandad by writing a children’s book about Him and Bessie. That was long ago. During the Great Depression that out of love he did this for the community. Is it possible I could get up close to one of the elephants with out the fence? I need to get a good picture to go into the book. My dream has been to play with a baby elephant and interact with these wonderful loving creatures. Bessie is long gone but my memories of her are alive and well. I loved her so much. I live in Scottsdale Arizona. Do you have a sanctuary near me? Lynn Perry

Hi Lynn,

What a great story and what a way to honor your grandfather! I’m sure he’d be incredibly proud. We do not own nor operate sanctuaries, we simply love to visit them. I believe the closest one to you would be at the Reid Park Zoo.

Best of luck with the book, please send us a link to support when you’ve published!

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