Honey the pig is a resident at Pigs Peace Sanctuary in Stanwood, Wash.
Whether your family is interested in visiting local rescue animals, adopting a new pet, or becoming more engaged and involved in fighting for animal rights, there’s something for everyone at these seven Western Washington animal sanctuaries.
Visit: Just an hour outside of Seattle, this 85-acre property lives up to its namesake as a “safe haven” for more than 200 dogs, cats and other domesticated animals. Book a visit to the sanctuary, generally available Saturdays, and a guide will lead your family on a tour, introduce you to resident animals and answer lots of questions. Book visits at the link above; tours cost $15 per person; kids ages 4 and younger are free.
Pasado’s offers several opportunities for the young animal lovers in your life to get involved.
Learn: Pasado’s has age-appropriate supplemental lesson plans and field trip opportunities for preschool through grade 5 students. If you’re looking for creative ways to get your child to write more, encourage them to send a letter to an animal pen pal through Pasado’s internationally recognized pen pal program — and they might just get an answer.
Adopt: If you’re considering adding a new family member to your home, you can adopt a pet through Pasado’s Safe Haven. Though not the simplest way to support animals in need, it’s definitely the most life-changing. Adopting a pet encourages empathy and responsibility in children, and provides a safe and stable home to a rescued animal, opening up additional space to other animals in need of help. Not quite ready to commit? Consider fostering. Dogs, cats and even farm animals are available to foster or adopt.
Support: There are several ways to give to Pasado’s. You can donate online, sponsor an animal, stock items on their animal wish list and more. Or, you can volunteer on-site. Volunteer opportunities are available for youths ages 12 and older (volunteers ages 12–15 must volunteer alongside a legal guardian).
Visit: A local favorite of families, Sammamish Animal Sanctuary has, until recently, operated out of the home of local residents Don and Diane Gockel. After eight years, the sanctuary has moved to Renton, and on June 1, it will open up its new facility for visits! SAS is booking tours several days a week, and if your kids are ready to dive in, sign them up for the summer day camp, taking place at the new sanctuary. Summer camps run three mornings per week, and kids ages 4–12 are welcome. Camps run June 27–Aug. 24.
Support: There are several ways to support Sammamish Animal Sanctuary. You can donate directly to the facility, help fund its new location, add them as an option to your Amazon Smile account or supply items on the wish list. You can also purchase children’s books authored by sanctuary founder Diane Gockel. Titles in her rescue series include "Al the Alpaca" and "Bella Saves the Farm." All proceeds support the sanctuary.
Got more time on your hands than cash? You can also volunteer with SAS. Animal-loving teens ages 16 and older can get their hands dirty helping animals in need.
Adopt: Interested in adopting a pet? SAS offers bunny and guinea pig adoptions, in addition to cat and dog adoptions. (They also offer horse adoptions, but shhh! … I’m keeping that tidbit from my kids.)
Located in Stanwood and home to more than 50 rescued pigs and other farm animals, Pigs Peace Sanctuary provides shelter to formerly factory-farmed, abused and neglected hogs.
Visit: Tours are available April–October, generally on Sundays, by appointment only and are limited in frequency to protect and maintain a peaceful environment for the pigs and other farm animals on the property. To make an appointment to visit Pigs Peace, select a time and date offered on the website’s tour page. Your $45 per person donation directly supports the animals.
Support: In addition to visiting the farm, you can also support their work through regular donations, providing items on their wish list or volunteering skilled labor for the sanctuary’s upcoming projects.
Located in Maple Valley, the Muddy Pug Farm has been home to dozens of surrendered, formerly abused or neglected farm animals since its founding in 2018.
Visit: The Muddy Pug offers tours of its 5-acre facility during summer, starting in late June when school gets out. Online booking will be available soon. Check the website for details to plan your visit
For the horse lovers in your life, Black Dawg Farm and Sanctuary is home to horses, ponies and donkeys, plus two cows, five alpacas, pigs, goats, sheep and more. Black Dawg is located in Rainier, Washington, a small town in Thurston County. It’s run by an all-volunteer staff that provides refuge to more than 100 rescued animals.
Visit: Black Dawg Farm schedules tours of the sanctuary using the Airbnb Experiences platform. Tours cost $30 for adults and teens ages 13 and older; $10 for kids ages 2–12; tots younger than 2 visit for free.
For all you “cool cats and kittens” (heh), take a walk on the wild side at this cat-specific sanctuary located in Shelton. The center boasts a fully volunteer-led refuge for more than 50 wild cats of 13 different species, including cougars, bobcats, servals, tigers, lynxes, snow leopards, African leopards and more. This center is home to the only true Gordon’s wildcats in the United States.
Visit: Educational guided tours are available at the sanctuary in exchange for a donation to the facility. WFAC requires young kids to stay with caregivers at all times and encourages them to hold an adult’s hand throughout the tour. Visits to the center are by reservation only and take place on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Visits are $24 for adults, $18 for children 12 and older, and free for children younger than 12. For an extra-special visit, book a dinnertime tour or a behind-the-scenes tour ($60–$115 per person).
Families, take note: As many animals on the property are healing from stressful and abusive situations, it’s important for kids visiting and touring the facilities to be mindful of animal well-being throughout the experience.
Support: To support the work of the WFAC, you can donate to the conservatory; all funds go directly to the animals. (Remember, no paid staff!) Funds will go to one of four initiatives: the animal care fund, veterinary fund, enrichment fund or special projects.
Located in Gig Harbor, Heartwood Haven Animal Sanctuary’s 2.5-acre property is home to dozens of farm animals. The organization has saved hundreds of animals since its founding in 2014.
Visit: Heartwood Haven offers small-group tours, private parties and seasonal events. Book your Heartwood Haven visit on Airbnb Experiences. Tours start at $35 per person.
Adopt: Farm animals are listed and available for adoption on Heartwood Haven’s website. Current listings include ducks, chickens and pigs.
Bonus: The NOAH Center
Though The NOAH Center, located in Stanwood, isn’t technically a sanctuary, this place is doing great work and welcomes visitors for public tours. So, what are you waiting for? If you’re ready to adopt, it’s time to take your family over to The NOAH Center to find your next furry forever friend.
Adopt: Available animal listings and bookings to visit prior to adoption are available on The Noah Center’s website.
Support: Donate directly to the center here. The Noah Center has many different opportunities to volunteer and accepts volunteers ages 14 and older. (Anyone 14 or 15 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian while volunteering their time.)