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Middletown Life

A flourishing sanctuary of care

Apr 12, 2023 01:18PM ● By Tricia Hoadley
Photos by Jim Coarse
Text by Richard L. Gaw

In the course of our days – even our months and our years – how many of us have ever looked into the eyes and the soul of an animal that does not answer to the name of the family pet?

There is a place near your home where you can do that.

One evening, a few of the staff at the 3 Palms Zoo & Education Center in Townsend attended an auction intending to bid on hay and discovered a little piglet jammed into an apple crate and being poked and teased. Their heart went out to the little guy and $11 later, he as riding in the backseat to a new home. Now, Albert enjoys life at the 3 Palms Zoo and Education Center and looks forward to the many visits he receives, as well as his daily treats and belly rubs.

While Albert is a key attraction at the 3 Palms Zoo & Education Center, he is not the only featured star. There is Wendy and Mr. Smee, Delaware’s only American Alligators; Twin, Baby and Tatiana, a family of llamas; Star and Elle, two emus; Dominic, a miniature Sicilian donkey; and a variety of alpaca, chickens, coyotes, ducks, foxes, geese, goats, llamas, owls, rabbits, sheep and turtles and tortoises – as well as a stunning collection of migratory birds and exotic fowl.

The 3 Palms Zoo & Education Center is a flourishing sanctuary of care, thriving as an ecosystem of hope.

“Our mission at 3 Palms Zoo is not only to educate and exhibit animals but also to offer a compassionate sanctuary to those in need,” said Owner-Operator Matthew Shaffner. “Our goal is to provide a second chance at life to those often overlooked by society, by rescuing and offering them a permanent home. We aim to inspire a greater sense of responsibility and stewardship towards all living beings."

The 3 Palms Zoo and Education Center is located at 1060 Vandyke Greenspring Road, Townsend, Del. 19734, and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For additional information, visit, call 302-504-6500 or e-mail [email protected].

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