Building An Animal “Ark” in Ellijay

Written By: Visitors Bureau

During the “summer of social distancing,” are you looking for something fun and safe to entertain your kids while school is out?

NPR produced useful information over the holiday weekend sharing experts’ ratings of the relative risks of fourteen summer activities.

It’s intuitive that outdoor activities offer the lowest risk. Pair that with the mission of animal rescue and you have a clear winner: it’s time to go Build an Ark.

Unlike the original story, this ark requires no hammer or nails and is captained not by Noah, but by a sweet earth-motherly woman named Susan Littlejohn. Much more than a petting zoo, it’s a working farm, animal rescue, and animal hospice with a menagerie of residents ranging from farm animals such as sheep, goats, donkeys, horses, and pigs, to dogs, cats, and even wild animal babies like fawns, rabbits, possums, and squirrels.

The #1 rated Tripadvisor® ‘thing to do’ in Ellijay, Build an Ark is powered by volunteers in the area who do everything from pick up food donations from local orchards, farms, and stores; help feed and care for the animals; and maintain the barn, pastures, fences, and pens.

The $10 admission includes a bucket of feed for visitors to give the animals and goes directly to support the operation. Many visitors also make donations, and each dollar is appreciated as it provides feed, shelter, veterinary, and farrier care for the 120 animals that live at the Ark.

“We are so happy to announce our re-opening on Saturday, June 6th that kicks off ‘Rebuilding the Ark’ as we recover not only from the seasonally slow winter months, but also from the closure due to the pandemic,” says founder Susan Littlejohn.

The pandemic is not the first challenge Build an Ark has faced since its founding in November 2010. The original barn was destroyed by an F-5 tornado in April 2011, then lovingly rebuilt in July of that year by a crew of volunteers including NYC firefighters from 9/11 and the New York Says Thank You Foundation.

“The animals and I have missed our visitors and look forward to seeing you soon!” adds Susan.

Build an Ark is located at 27 Eagle Mountain Drive in Ellijay, Georgia, phone: (706) 972-7250. Summer hours are 10am-4pm Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays; 10am-5pm Saturdays; 1pm-5pm on Sundays; Tuesdays and Wednesdays by appointment.

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