Category: Places to Visit

The Mission of the Elephant Sanctuary

The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee exists to provide captive elephants with individualized care, the companionship of a herd, and the opportunity to live out their lives in a safe haven dedicated to their well-being, and to raise public awareness of the complex needs of elephants in captivity, and the crisis facing elephants in the wild.

Posted by Hohenwald/Lewis County Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, May 18, 2021



Links and Resources

For more links and resources worldwide, please visit the Sanctuary's official website,  The Elephant Sanctuary is a refuge for elephants who have been held in captivity and performers in various circuses or penned in zoos now need of the peace and quiet of the Sanctuary to recover from their past.  The About Us page has a list of values and 

The Elephant Sanctuary map

Although visitors are not permitted at the Elephant Sanctuary, the trust has a wonderful learning center in downtown Hohenwald, The Discovery Center, where guides will inform visitors about the history and interesting details of the Elephant Sanctuary.  Be sure to read about the Center in our website, and then plan your next visit.



An Elephant Never Forgets

In 1995, The Elephant Sanctuary was founded on 110 acres in Lewis County, Tennessee.  Tarra, a former performing elephant, was the first resident, and construction of the first barn was completed. 

Barbara, a former circus elephant, was the second elephant to find sanctuary in Tennessee in 1996.  That same year, Jenny arrived.  An emergency fundraising campaign was developed to bring her to The Elephant Sanctuary from a Nevada animal shelter.

Shirley and Jenny were reunited in 1999, after 25 years apart.  They immediately recognize each other from their previous lives as circus elephants.  Also in 1999, the first EleCam, a live-streaming video feed from the habitat, went live on  

Visitors were not allowed at The Elephant Sanctuary for the safety of both elephants and humans.  Many elephants later and a Sanctuary encompassing 2,700 acres of peace for its residents, the EleCam system and the Elephant Discovery Center were welcome additions to engage adults and children, to create awareness and educate them of the plight of captive elephants and the conservation efforts worldwide for elephants.



The Elephant Discovery Center

Beginning July 9th, the Elephant Discovery Center will be open Thursday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. by appointment only.

The Center's staff is excited to give you and your family a guided tour of their exhibit space and to answer all of your questions about elephants and The Sanctuary. Please call 931-796-6500 x109 or email Joy Owens at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in advance to check availability and schedule your visit. Openings are limited.

To ensure appropriate social distancing, tours will be made available for individuals, families, and for groups of 10 or less.  Please don’t forget your mask! As recommended by the CDC, all visitors and staff will be required to wear a face-covering while inside the Elephant Discovery Center. Face coverings are not required for children two years of age and under.


Distance Learning Program

For more information and to request a Distance Learning program, please email Morgan Kaelin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 931-796-6500 ext. 108.




Category: Places to Visit