FOR MANY NORTH GEORGIA NATIVES, a visit to Yellow River Game Ranch was a childhood rite of passage. Sadly, the zoo near Stone Mountain slipped into disrepair before closing its doors in 2017. But locals Jonathan and Katy Ordway couldn’t bear the thought of all those neglected animals or the loss of such an iconic destination; the couple bought the property and reopened it as Yellow River Wildlife Sanctuary in June 2020, after renovating 90 percent of the habitats to exceed the needs of the animals.
Visitors to Yellow River will enjoy a quarter-mile stroll through shaded forests to discover native species like whitetail deer and raccoons along with more exotic creatures like spider monkeys and the Eurasian lynx. You can feed the barnyard animals and bison (feed cups with fresh produce are available for purchase), and kiddos will love interacting with the rabbits in the bunny corral.
This spring, the Ordways are adding a cave and lookout in the park center for an up-close glimpse at the wolves—hopefully, open just in time for spring break! Visit yellowriverwildlifesanctuary.com to plan your visit.