Dateline: the Saturday before Easter 2008. My family and I took a trip beyond the confines of Indianapolis into other parts of the state for a most unusual holiday event. Our Master of Ceremonies: the Easter Bunny! Everyone likes the Easter Bunny, right? Sure, the weather was ugly and conducive to death of cold, but that didn’t stop the Easter Bunny from his appointed rounds. Here he makes his grim march to the playing field.
The Bunny conscripted some little helpers into his service. Under his strict tutelage, his disciples milled about the land, planting and stashing his dyed Easter eggs here and there and everywhere.
Once their task was complete, Lord Bunny and his li’l henchbunnies evacuated to a minimum safe distance…
…and out came the wolves.
In a little town with the action/adventure name of Battle Ground (so named because of the quasi-legendary Battle of Tippecanoe) lies a specialized animal preserve called Wolf Park, whose name sums up their mission statement pretty well. They have wolves in various sizes. They swap wolves back and forth with zoos and other preserves according to the animals’ accommodation needs. Visitors and field trips are welcome at select times posted online.
Wolf Park used to hold a short annual event in which kids hid Easter eggs in a designated fenced enclosure, the kids vacated the area, and the park’s favorite wolves were unleashed to go hunting for Easter treats.
After the egg hunt winds down, visitors could tour the rest of the park and get a closer look at the wolves in repose, reflecting on their acquisitions, or wolves who opted out of the hunt for personal reasons.
Wolf Park has other animals on site, but they were considered off-topic for this occasion. Witness the jealousy of a red fox scorned.
Wolf Park has some other wolf species, a coyote or two, and some smaller mammals whose pictures either didn’t come out or were ruined (more so) by those blasted chain-link fences. Blame the temperamental natures of my primitive Kodak EasyShare and my wife’s old, no-frills 35mm camera.
The Wolf Park gift shop is an exhaustively detailed wonderland for anyone who would consider themselves a lifelong Wolf Park fan. Their most celebrated wolves not only have names, they also have their own separate lines of merchandise, bearing their personal names and photos. They’re like indie rock stars. If that isn’t vulpine enough for you, the visitors’ center has bulletin boards that trace the complete park history and lineage of every major wolf they’ve ever welcomed. Wolf genealogists can learn where they came from, where they went after they left Wolf Park, and their captivity-based family tree to the fullest possible extent.
Sadly, a quick look at their website in 2015 shows no Easter plans on the schedule. I’m not sure when or why the tradition was discontinued, or if 2015 is merely a skip year for technical reasons. It may be possible that future visitors will have no idea the Easter egg hunt was a thing. Some of us won’t forget, even if the wolves’ Easter egg hunt stats are lost forever to future wolf almanac writers.
[MCC housekeeping note: the original, shorter version of this entry appeared online in 2009, but has been updated and upgraded for its first presentation here on MCC. A few previously unreleased photos have been added as a bonus, with special thanks to our supportive old friends. Cheers!]