If you’re a true animal lover, it might make sense that you want to incorporate this into your travel plans. You might want to travel to places where you can be near animals, which often also includes enjoying nature and the outdoors in general.
The following are some travel inspiration and ideas for animal lovers of all kinds, both in and out of the U.S.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Busch Gardens Williamsburg is a theme park, but they also put a significant emphasis on wildlife conservation and rescue. Some of the animal-themed areas of Busch Gardens Williamsburg include:
- At Eagle Ridge, you can see American Bald Eagles, all of which were injured and unable to survive in the wild on their own.
- There’s Highland Stables where the Clydesdale horses live, and there are traditional herding demonstrations
- Lorikeet Glen features birds in a free-flight aviary
Finally, Wolf Haven is where you’ll see the gray wolf, which are irreplaceable animals. When you’re visiting each of these animal-themed sections of the park, you can learn more about the animals themselves, and the rescue efforts of Busch Gardens.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago off the coast of Ecuador. This is one of the ultimate vacations if you love animals and wildlife. Some of the animals you might see in their natural habitat include sea lions, iguanas and of course, giant tortoises. The Galapagos Islands are also home to the only tropical penguins in the world.
There are only a few hotels in the Galapagos, and most are small, boutique hotels. You can travel along on a boat, which gives you an even better up-close-and-personal experience with the wildlife.
The Florida Keys
If you want a domestic option that might feel worlds away, there are the Florida Keys. The Florida Keys offer amazing access to wildlife like the petite Key deer, which is rare and endangered. There are less than 1,000 of them remaining.
At Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, in Key Largo, visitors can enjoy one of the most popular snorkeling areas in the U.S. You can also take glass-bottom boat tours, and fish tend to gather around a Spanish shipwreck that’s only about 100 feet off Cannon Beach.
Another notable place for animal lovers in the Keys is the Dolphin Research Center in Marathon, which offers views of the Florida Bay. Marathon is home to The Turtle Hospital as well, which rescues and rehabs around 100 injured sea turtles annually.
Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is known for forests, glaciers and snow-capped peaks. There’s also excellent wildlife viewing. You may spot eagles, whales, puffins, and bears. There are also almost 275 known bird species that call the park home. One option to see all Glacier Bay has to offer is by cruise, and then you can do land excursions like biking, and spot whales from the water.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole, located in Wyoming, is near to Grand Teton National Park. Grand Teton National Park is around 480 square miles, with beautiful lakes, hiking trails, the Snake River, and wildlife. There’s also the namesake Teton Ridge mountains.
If you’re visiting Jackson Hole, you can also take time to go to Yellowstone. Yellowstone features the Old Faithful Geyser.
There are almost 500 animal species in the area including bison, elk, sheep, and bears. There is a grizzly bear population, and one of the highest concentrations of bald eagles anywhere. Jackson Hole is home to the National Elk Refuge, and in Yellowstone, there are large mammals like black bears, wolves, mountain lions, and coyotes.
Kadaku National Park, Australia.
Finally, for something well outside of the U.S., Kadaku National Park in Australia may be a good option for the animal lover. Kadaku is the largest national park in Australia, and it’s where you’ll find Jim Jim Falls, Twin Falls, and the Yellow Water wetlands. This protected area of Australia is located in the Northern Territory, and it’s the size of Slovenia and half the size of Switzerland, so there’s plenty to keep you busy here.
There are an estimated 74 mammal species that live in the park including wallabies and kangaroos. There are more than 280 bird species and 117 record species of reptiles.
The land is as diverse as the wildlife in the park. There is the Arnhem Land Plateau which is known as stone country, as well as lowlands, hills and basins, flood plains and tidal flats. Each landform has its own habitats and wildlife.