two dogs in the sand

Friends and Founders for Golden Circle members

Several times a year, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary hosts a special, ​invitation-only Friends and Founders event exclusively for our Golden Circle members. This two-day experience provides insight into the Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, which on any given day is home to around 1,600 animals. Members will connect with Best Friends founders and fellow lifesavers as they spend some one-on-one time with the animals and learn more about Best Friends and the work they’ve helped make possible. Attendees can customize their schedules from an array of activities that include behind-the-scenes tours and breathtaking hikes to memorable meet-and-greets with furry friends. Our hope is for every Golden Circle member to experience the magic of the Sanctuary.

Because of the overwhelming response to these events, priority will be given to members who have not yet had the opportunity to attend. We will keep a wait list for those who have previously attended, and we will notify you if space is available at least four weeks prior to the event date. Of course, all of our Golden Circle friends are welcome to visit any time of year. Our team will be happy to arrange a special experience on the dates of your choosing. Please click here to find out more about creating your own custom experience.

2022 Friends and Founders event dates

April 28-29

May 26-27

September 29-30

October 27-28

Please note:  We ask that guests adhere to any pandemic-related protocols in place at the time of the event.  The protocols may include proof of vaccination, a negative COVID test and/or wearing a face covering during the event.

First day: Hike, private brunch, interactive discussion and more

We invite you to join some of the co-founders of Best Friends for a peaceful morning hike or a special Grand Sanctuary Tour, followed by a private brunch overlooking the beautiful scenery of Kanab. After brunch, you’ll take part in a fun and interactive discussion to learn how, together, we’re leading the country to no-kill by 2025. Then in the afternoon, choose your own animal adventure. You can spend time with some tortoises, paint your pet’s portrait while surrounded by colorful birds at Parrot Garden or meet mischief-making pigs 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 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 our lives.

Second day: Grand Sanctuary tour, animal encounters, training demos, and more

In the morning, choose between a Grand Sanctuary Tour or meeting the animals at Dogtown. After, visit Cat World, Horse Haven, the Parrot Garden, Bunny House, Marshall's Piggy Paradise or meet some Wild Friends. At the end of another fun-filled day, rejoin the founders for farewell drinks and stories at the Best Friends Welcome Center Patio.

During the event, there will be plenty of free time for you to check out the gift shop, Roxy’s Room, Angels Rest and the Gratitude Garden. And, of course, you are welcome to plan an extra few days at the beginning or end of your trip. There is lots to do at the Sanctuary and the surrounding areas!

a cat, horses, and a bunny

Friends and Founders sample schedule


Thursday

7:30–8:00 a.m.

Welcome and check-in

8:00–9:30 a.m.

Hike with founders – Experience the majestic red rocks of upper Angel Canyon.

9:30–11:00 a.m.

Private brunch with founders – Join a group of Best Friends founders for a delicious alfresco brunch overlooking the canyon.

11:15 a.m.–12:30 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.

1:30–3:30 p.m.

Choice of one of the following special animal activities

  • Paint your pet’s portrait at Parrot Garden – Honor your beloved pet in an instructor-led painting class while in the company of some beautiful, colorful birds.
  • Canine Capers – Learn all about the fun going on at Dogtown. There will be clicker and agility demos, puppy socialization time and, of course, plenty of dogs to meet.
  • Feline Fun – Spend some time having fun with our friendly Cat World residents. Take part in activities such as harness and stroller walks, or just cuddle up with a cat in your lap.
  • Barnyard Buddies ​– Spend some time with fun-loving and mischief-making goats and pigs and learn about their daily lives.
  • Wild Friends Tea Party – Come on in for tea and a walk on the wild side! Meet some of long-term resident wild animals, desert tortoises, and adoptable birds.
  • Bunny House yoga and tour – Yoga and Bunnies? That’s a win-win. Take a tour of Bunny House and meet some adorable rabbits and guinea pigs before winding down with gentle yoga in the calm company of floppy-eared and pink-nosed residents.

3:45–5:15 p.m.

Screening of The Champions – This award-winning documentary features the pit bull terriers rescued in 2007 from the property of NFL quarterback Michael Vick. An inspiring story, the film recounts the story of Best Friends and other organizations that rescued the dogs and how they did everything in their power to save them.

5:30–6:30 p.m.

Blessing at Angels Rest

Friday
Choose from a variety of tours and activities

8:30–10:00 a.m.

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.

Dogtown tour – There’s always something happening at Dogtown. Take a tour and say hello to some of Dogtown’s residents.

9:00–11:30 a.m.

Service projects – Interested in rolling up your sleeves? Help out with one of the many ongoing projects at the Sanctuary.

Animal experiences – Get personally acquainted with some of the animals at the Sanctuary. This activity will feature animals from various areas.

10:00–11:30 a.m.

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.

10:15–11:00 a.m.

Wild Friends tour – Meet some very special residents of the Sanctuary with a visit to Wild Friends.

10:30–11:30 a.m.

Horse Haven demo – Learn about different training techniques at Horse Haven and see horsemanship in action with this delightful demo.

11:00–11:45 a.m.

Parrot Garden tour – See the colorful world of parrots up close with this unique tour through Parrot Garden.

 

Enjoy lunch on your own, or join us for a complimentary meal at Angel Village.

1:00–2:30 p.m.

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.

Cat World tour – Find out what our feline friends are up to with a tour of Cat World.

1:30–3:30 p.m.

Animal experiences – Get personally acquainted with some of the animals at the Sanctuary. This activity will feature animals from various areas.

2:00–2:45 p.m.

Bunny House tour – Get your floppy-eared fix by taking a tour of the Bunny House. No need to bring your own lettuce!

2:30–4:00 p.m.

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.

2:45-3:45 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

4:00-5:00 p.m.

Dog Training in Dog Town - What’s the trick to getting your dog to sit or stay? Or stop jumping up on your kitchen counter? This demonstration takes a deep dive into the reasons why training and behavior modification work the way they do. This is a good activity for anyone who is interested in understanding how dogs learn and how to read dog body language proficiently.

 

Farewell Reception – Join founders, animal caregivers and some animals for an evening of drinks and toasts.


Space is limited at each activity. All scheduled activities and locations are subject to change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. During all tours and activities, we ask that you please stay with your group and avoid venturing into other animal care areas.


Here are some useful links to help plan your trip:

For further information about the event, please contact events@bestfriends.org.

The animals are looking forward to meeting you!