The Children’s Nature Retreat, The Children’s Nature Retreat, a 20-acre animal sanctuary in Alpine, is asking for the community’s help. Like many organizations and small businesses, the Retreat has been deeply impacted by the pandemic. The loss of visitors and school field trips directly affected, and continues to affect, the way it can make ends meet. The Retreat counts on donations to continue its mission and provide a home to animals in need and a one-of-a-kind experience for families.

Donations help care for the Retreat’s 198 animals. A total of 83 animals have joined the Retreat since the beginning of the pandemic, when many people could no longer afford to care for them as pets. New animals include horses, llamas, alpacas, pigs, reptiles, and many more. The biggest financial need is assistance with the Retreat’s growing healthcare. From specialized trainers to farriers and large animal veterinarians, the Retreat’s annual wellness needs continues to grow, while they also need additional gates, enclosures and shelters.

“Most of the 198 animals at the Retreat were beloved family pets who lost their homes,” said Agnes Barrelet, executive director. “Some of them had their owners pass away or move, or in some cases, the previous owners could no longer financially manage their care, while others were rescued from neglect, such as the bearded dragon, a horse, and pigs.”

The Retreat’s latest additions: two fainting goats, Grimm and Gruff, whose owner could not find an adequate home for them when she moved out of state, joined the Retreat in November.

“At this point, we cannot take any more animals in, because we cannot afford to continue to increase our expenses,” said Barrelet.

More donations are desperately needed, especially recurring monthly donations. A monthly $10-plus donation can be made on their website at The Retreat is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so any donation is 100% tax-deductible.

Visits to the Retreat also help provide care and financial support to the sanctuary. Starting January 1, 2022, the Retreat will be open by appointment seven days a week, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. They have also designed new family packages, such as two adults, two children for $99. They also added a senior annual membership at $119. Groups of 12+ will benefit from a 15% discount, and teachers also receive a 10% discount.

Guests can feed barley sprouts or hay through or over the fence. People can see and feed some of the 198 domesticated livestock and exotic animals around the world – 24 different species and 67 distinct breeds. Guided tours, up close and personal experiences can be added to the visit as well. To make a reservation, please email or visit

Children camps are now available year-round for children 7-years old or older. Shadow the Retreat’s animal keepers from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and learn how to care for all the furry friends, starting at $135/day.

Single day admission is $38 for adults and $20 for kids (children under 2-years are free); seniors (60+) are $28. Alpine residents, military, first responders and veteran families receive a 10% discount (purchase tickets at the Retreat). Parking is complimentary.

The Retreat is located at 5178 Japatul Spur in Alpine (91901). For more information, visit