Friends and Founders 2019

Several times a year, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary hosts a special Friends and Founders getaway for exclusively our Golden Circle members. This two-day event will give you exclusive insight into the Sanctuary, which on any given day is home to around 1,600 animals.

On the first day, you can choose from a variety of options that includes our grand Sanctuary tour or meeting the animals at Dogtown, Cat World, Parrot Garden, Bunny House, Marshall's Piggy Paradise or Wild Friends. You can also take a hike in the surrounding majestic canyons or a walking tour of peaceful and serene Angels Rest; or you can choose to volunteer in an animal area (subject to availability). At the end of a perfect day, you are welcome to take part in our monthly blessing at Angels Rest to remember our beloved animal friends who’ve touched your life.

On the second day, we invite you to join some of Best Friends’ co-founders for a peaceful morning hike, followed by a private brunch overlooking the beautiful scenery of the Sanctuary. After brunch, you’ll take part in a fun and interactive discussion to learn how, together, we’re planning to take the country to no-kill by 2025. Then in the afternoon, choose your own animal adventure! You can have tea with tortoises, paint your pet’s portrait while surrounded by colorful birds in the gazebo at Parrot Garden, or you can watch a natural horsemanship demonstration and then meet mischief-making pigs, sheep and goats. Another option is to just kick back with some canine pals at Dogtown or chill with cats in Cat World. At the end of another perfect day, rejoin the founders for farewell drinks and stories on the Best Friends Welcome Center patio. 

Check back soon for our 2020 Friends and Founders event dates.

If you can't attend a Friends and Founders weekend, as a Golden Circle members, you can still have a special VIP experience at the Sanctuary all year-round. Golden Circle members can take an exclusive Backstage Pass Tour or have afternoon tea with one of Best Friends’ founders. Sign up for the backstage tour or tea. While you’re at the Sanctuary, you can also have lunch with one of the founders. Please contact us at to have us assist you in scheduling lunch with a founder.

Friends and Founders sample schedule

Thursday (optional bonus day)

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.

Welcome and check-in

Choose from a variety of tours and activities.

  • Grand Sanctuary tour – Take a driving tour of the Sanctuary and see firsthand what it takes on any given day to care for around 1,600 animals.
  • Tour one of the animal areas – Take a deep dive into Dogtown, Cat World, Wild Friends, Parrot Garden, Marshall's Piggy Paradise or the Bunny House on a special guided tour.
  • Guided hikes to Water Canyon or Handprint Caves​ – Filled with gorgeous sights and rich history, this hike will allow you to experience the beauty of the lower canyon.
  • Angels Rest walking tour – Angels Rest is more than a final resting spot for our beloved friends. It’s a beautiful area of the Sanctuary where you can meditate, breathe and contemplate the lifesaving we’ve accomplished together. Join us for this special walking tour and experience for yourself the serenity of Angels Rest.
  • Volunteer – Get your animal fix and sign up to volunteer at one of the Sanctuary’s animal areas. Volunteer spots fill up quickly, so be sure to schedule your shift as far in advance as possible.

5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Blessing at Angels Rest


8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.

Welcome and check-in

8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Hike with founders to The Labyrinth and experience the majestic red rocks of upper Angel Canyon. For nonhikers, we’ll give you a ride!.

10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

Private brunch with founders at Angel Village café: Join us for a delicious alfresco brunch overlooking the canyon.

11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Beyond the Sanctuary: Our Roadmap to 2025 – Join us after brunch for a fun and interactive discussion about some of the ways that, together, we’re leading the country to no-kill by 2025.

1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Choice of one special animal activity: 

  • Paint your pet with the parrots – Honor your beloved pet in an instructor-led painting class while in  the company of some beautiful, colorful birds.
  • Canine capers – Spend time volunteering with the residents of Dogtown. Take part in fun activities such as trail walking, reading to senior dogs and making enrichment toys. 
  • Feline fun/Kitty social – Spend time volunteering with Cat World residents. Take part in fun activities such as harness and stroller walks, or just cuddle up with a cat in your lap. 
  • New: Barnyard buddy time – Watch an amazing natural horsemanship demonstration. Then spend some time with fun-loving and mischief-making goats, sheep and pigs.
  • New: Wild Friends tea party – Come for a walk on the wild side! Meet some of long-term resident wild animals and adoptable birds. Then spend quality time hanging with a creep of desert tortoises and learn how to give them back rubs and chin scratches. 

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Farewell party – Join founders and newfound friends on the welcome center patio for drinks and toast the end of a wonderful visit.

Space is limited at each activity. All scheduled activities and locations are subject to change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

Here are some useful links to help plan your trip:

  • Click here for off-site lodging.
  • Click here for limited on-site lodging.
  • Looking to extend your trip? Click here for things to do around southern Utah.
  • For directions to the Sanctuary, click here.

For further information about the event please contact

The animals are looking forward to meeting you!