The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee

Lewis County

Founded in 1995, The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee is the nation’s largest natural-habitat refuge developed specifically around the needs of endangered Asian and African elephants..  The Sanctuary is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.   All resident elephants are retired from lives of exhibition or performance in zoos and circuses. 


Utilizing over 2700 acres, the Sanctuary provides three separate and protected, natural-habitat environments for Asian and African elephants. Its residents are not required to perform or entertain for the public; instead, they are encouraged to live like regular elephants in their natural habitat. 

Hohenwald Chosen for Its Climate

Hohenwald, Tennessee was chosen for the location of this sanctuary due to its unique sub-tropical climate, which resembles that of Asia where many of its elephants were born in the wild. Since the elephants are free to roam vast acres and eat live vegetation, the milder climate and extended growing season in this region provides a more natural setting for them to thrive.

Although The Elephant Sanctuary is not open to the public, it employs 30 local Lewis County residents, and attracts a number of out-of-county volunteers who stay overnight and dine locally. 

Downtown Welcome Center

The Elephant Sanctuary Welcome Center is open to the public on Thursdays and Fridays from 11 am to 4 pm; every third Saturday of the month from 11 am to 4 pm; other times are available by appointment.  The Welcome Center is located at 27 E. Main St., in downtown Hohenwald.  The Center contains educational exhibits with monitors to watch the elephants live via remote cameras in the habitat, a gift shop and offices.  To find out more, visit

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