The Children’s Nature Retreat Makes For A Great Day With The Kids!

The Children’s Nature Retreat, a 20-acre animal sanctuary in Alpine with 140-plus domesticated animals, is a perfect day-trip adventure with the kids! Located in Alpine, the Retreat cares for the more than 150 domesticated livestock and exotic animals from around the world – 22 different species and 58 distinct breeds – on a beautiful property that’s fun to roam and explore!

Safety first

The animal sanctuary is currently by appointment only and will be limited to 50 people. Guests will be required to wear masks at the entrance, and if they come within 6-feet of anyone outside of their family/household, but can otherwise roam the outdoor property on the self-guided tour without masks. At this time, no personal tours will be offered to allow for social distancing. Hand sanitizer will be offered at the entrance, and bathrooms will be open. Picnic tables will also be open, set up at least 6-feet apart, and guests are asked to sanitize the tables before they are used via a disinfectant station.

“We are thrilled to be able to reopen, and feel that we are doing it in such a way that we are keeping everyone safe, all while offering a nice experience,” said Agnes Barrelet, executive director.

Donations welcome and needed

Due to the statewide COVID-19 stay-at-home order, the Retreat closed for public visits and school field trips on March 19th. Although they recently launched online classes – $5 lessons and virtual school field trips – the majority of the sanctuary’s revenue comes from visits and fundraising events, both of which have been halted, due to the pandemic. Therefore, it’s dire that the retreat reopens.

While temporarily closed, the Retreat canceled fundraising events, such as an annual Easter Egg Hunt and monthly Flow With Nature group wellness programs. Additionally, the Retreat postponed their annual fundraising gala “An Evening on Safari,” planned for June 6th and set to generate $100,000 this year through anticipated sponsorship revenue and auctions items.

With that, the non-profit is in great need of financial donations to help feed and care for the animals.

Donations can be made here.

Commitment to the animals

The Children’s Nature Retreat also just acquired 12 new animals from an elderly woman who could no longer care for them, including mini horses, donkeys, goats, as well as an alpaca, and llama. Most animals at the Retreat have been obtained from owners who could no longer keep or care for them, while some have been rescued from harsh living conditions.

“Prior to the pandemic, we had committed to taking on these animals, as well as emus and a pig,” explained Barrelet. “They need our care and we’re hopeful that the community will help us. Due to the pandemic, we had to postpone the building of their enclosures and the pick-up of the last three animals. We hope we will resume the building of the enclosures soon and reunite everyone.”

Donations can be made safely online here.

Here are a few suggested options:

Give $10 and you will feed Crackle, our quail for a month.

Give $25 and you will feed one of our mini goats for a month.

Give $50 and you will feed one of our mini horses for a month.

Give $100 and you will feed one of our zebras for a month.

Give $250 and you will feed a camel for a month.

Give $500 and you will feed our bison “Cheyenne” for a month.

For more information, visit or call (619) 320-4942.

Stay healthy, San Diego!

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