While flying halfway across the world to pet something cute and fluffy might seem ridiculous, these exotic locations let you observe animals that you’d never see in your day-to-day- life. It’s a level up from babysitting your neighbor’s dog!
Puffins, Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland
Iceland is filled with stark landscapes that will take your breath away, but on the less majestic, more adorable side of the spectrum is puffins! The largest puffin colony is in Southern Iceland, in a cluster of islands called Vestmannaeyjar. These tiny birds are stunning in their natural habitat. Offshore, you can spot their presence by their burrows – they dig them using their bills and feet, like dogs!
Sunderbans Tiger Reserve, West Bengal, India
While locations Buddhist Tiger temple in Thailand have been shut down for drugging and mistreating tigers, this is one of the world’s largest natural tiger populations where they roam free. In this 140,000 hectare mangrove forest between Bangladesh and East India, over 350 tigers reside in this elusive spot. Visitors can take a boat safari down the river and possibly catch a tiger swimming.
Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali
Ubud monkeys look so wise – are these cuties holding on the secret of happiness? Otherwise known as the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal, hordes of long-tailed, grey macaques are perched all over this part of Bali. The Forest’s conservation efforts are often praised, but avoid wearing loose jewelry or clothes when you visit – the macaques are known to snatch a thing or two!
Giraffe Manor, Nairobi, Kenya
At Giraffe Manor, you can literally eat breakfast with a giraffe. But no guarantees that they won’t steal your croissant! This is possibly one of the coolest interactive experiences possible, and you might see these giants multiple times a day, if they’re hungry enough. When one pokes his head through your window, feed them a snack and get the photo op of a lifetime.
Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Center, China
Most people have seen those impossibly goofy, sweet videos of pandas rolling around in their play center. Located about 10 kilometers from downtown, this Research Base has helped to imitate the natural habitat of giant pandas in order to help them thrive and keep their species going. Peek through the bamboo and enjoy the pure, unadulterated joy that is the deal life of happy panda.
The Kangaroo Sanctuary, Australia
Australia is pretty much synonymous with Kangaroos, and this sanctuary in Alice Springs is made to rescue baby and adult kangaroos who find themselves in need. Guided tours educate people on the animals, and also encourages them to help rescue and care for animals. Given the right circumstance, we would definitely become mom to a baby Kangaroo!
Flamingo Island, Aruba
If Florida doesn’t have enough flamingos for you, this haven in Aruba is postcard-worthy. The surrounding beach is stunning, and being dotted with these bright pink birds makes it even more of a sight to behold. Up your Instagram game with a visit to Flamingo Island.
Swimming Pigs Island, The Bahamas
The Bahamas isn’t just home to crystal clear waters and pristine skies. There’s an actual pig island filled with piggies who have adapted to living on the island, and hence can swim alongside you in the waters. No one is sure how these little piggies got on the island, but they’re so adorable, we don’t care.
Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica
These ugly-cute little nuggets are all over Costa Rica, and the Sloth Sanctuary is the best place to go see them! Sloths are bizarre and hilarious, and you can get up close with them here. Take a guided canoe ride through their habitats and live life in slow motion. You can’t hold or touch one, but this is as close as you can get.
Owl Cafes, Tokyo, Japan
You’ve most likely heard of cate cafes in Japan, but in Harajuku, there are over five owl cafes! In Japanese culture, owls are considered to be symbols of good luck. Take photos with one of these nocturnal cuties while your kid plays with them. There’s some conservationist controversy over these cafes, but you can read up and decide yourself.