The Elephant Sanctuary

The Sanctuary is currently home to 11 elephants retired from zoos and circuses, many of whom suffer long-term health and behavioral issues common to elephants that have spent their lives in captivity.
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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.



Visit The Discovery Center

Increasing public knowledge is key to creating a world where elephants no longer live under constant threat of poaching, habitat loss, conflict, or capture. The Elephant Discovery Center offers hands-on self-guided exhibits and educational programming that explores the many ways elephants shape our world.

Upcoming Events

Kids Attend Event at The Elephant Sanctuary's Discovery Center in Hohenwald, Tennessee


Tuesday - Saturday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Closed Sunday and Monday.

Holiday Hours
Closed November 24th-26th
Closed December 23rd-24th
Closed December 31st

The elephants' habitats are closed to the public. Visitors to The Discovery Center will not see or interact with elephants.


Plan Your Visit

The Elephant Discovery Center is open to walk-in visitors, groups, and fieldtrips.

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.




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