For travelers who love to be close to animals, there are some remarkable destinations and excursions around the world. Whether you want to swim with sea life, be surrounded by butterflies, or watch magnificent mammals in their natural habitat, one of these adventures could offer you an unmatched experience. Check out ten of the most amazing places where you can see and sometimes touch the most spectacular creatures on the planet.
1. Penguins, Seals, and Whale Watching in Antarctica
For a truly life-changing and unforgettable experience, you can go on a nature tour in Antarctica. The wildlife encounters at the bottom of the globe are unmatched. You can see a variety of penguin species, different types of seals, and humpback and orca whales breaching. And that doesn’t even include all the seabirds and small creatures that pop up.
2. Float Above Manta Rays in Kona, Hawaii
Kona is a gorgeous place where you can admire exotic plants and vibrant greenery, but the wildlife in this area is even more spectacular. Take a boat ride from the Big Island to a manta ray hotspot and then gracefully float on the ocean’s surface. These majestic sea creatures will glide around the water below you, and you can even pet these gentle animals.
3. Alaska’s Running Reindeer Ranch
For Christmas enthusiasts, Alaska’s Running Reindeer Ranch offers a magical and whimsical experience where you can wander around the snowy forest alongside sweet reindeer. This unique adventure is wonderful for families and allows you to spend substantial time with these darling animals, who are more playful and personable than you may think. They’re like hooved puppies!
4. Hang Out With Pandas in Chengdu, China
The Chengdu Panda Park is an exhilarating place where you can walk among these huge and lazy bears in their natural habitat. Pandas are surprisingly rambunctious creatures who have a mischievous side, so watching them go about their business is thrilling and adorable. Depending on the time of day and current park policies, you may even get to hug or hold a panda!
5. The Singapore Butterfly Garden
The Singapore Butterfly Garden is a fabulous destination for anyone who wants to see something magnificent. The garden itself is lovely, but it’s teeming with fluttering creatures that come in all colors. This breathtaking sight is a must-visit for animal enthusiasts, and it’s conveniently located at Changi Airport.
6. Wild Albino Squirrels in Olney, Illinois
You might not think of Illinois as a hotspot for animal lovers, but it’s one of the best places in the world to see albino squirrels in their natural habitat. The city proudly proclaims itself as “The Home of the White Squirrels,” and you can see these unique critters all around the area. Squirrels may not seem exciting, but albino animals are very rare and an interesting sight to behold.
7. Grizzlies at Katmai Falls in Alaska
Most of us have watched a nature documentary or two and seen wild grizzly bears masterfully grab salmon jumping from a stream, but you can see it in person. Katmai Falls is a fantastic place to spot huge brown bears hunting for fish in their natural habitat. Seeing these grand animals use their natural survival skills is wildly awe-inspiring.
8. Costa Rica’s Corcovado National Park
This national park is home to a wide array of wildlife, from pigs to eagles to sharks to jaguars to monkeys and more. You can stay overnight at the ranger station and listen to the unique calls of each nocturnal animal and then wake up with all the vibrant creatures and vegetation. In general, Costa Rica is a marvelous place to see many animals in their natural habitat.
9. Galápagos Islands Boat Tour
The Galápagos Islands are another sensational place to see diverse wildlife. The boat tours offer the adventure of a lifetime. You’ll see iguanas, sea lions, cormorants, giant tortoises, albatrosses, hawks, penguins, and more. Plus, the guided tours teach you a lot about the islands’ ecosystem.
10. Dogsledding Outside of Banff, Canada
Banff is a lovely and underrated town in Alberta, Canada. This area offers several dogsled tours where you can glide over the freshly fallen snow pulled by a pack of enthusiastic pups. The tours are available from December to April, and they give you a glimpse at the stunning scenery and incredible wildlife in the snowy forests of Canada.
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