You don’t have to fly to Africa to go on a safari. The abundance of wildlife is, without doubt, amazing to witness, but America is home to many animals roaming free.
Zoos are a wonderful and easily accessible way to observe these beautiful beasts, but there is a bit of a static feel. Kids plaster their faces against glass walls separating them from the animals which are laying in the sun, waiting for their next scheduled feeding.
If you are looking for a more up-close and untamed but safe experience, here are some amazing options that will let you discover animals in their natural habitats.
- Silver Salmon Creek Lodge – Four million acres await you. Located along the western shores of Cook Inlet in south-central Alaska, you can see brown bears wondering free from your cabin deck. June through mid-September, you can join a guide who will assist you safely observing these massive and amazing animals. Fishing, bird watching and sea kayaking are also available.
Alaska, generally speaking, is a wonderful spot for encountering species like the bald eagle, moose, caribou, arctic wolf, wolverine, red fox, harbor seal, humpback whale, orca, coyote, lynx, otter, mink, beaver, marmot and sea lion. Whale watching and fishing are just two of the other popular excursions that will put you will you visit these magnificent creatures’ home.
- The Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole - Take a four-hour journey with a wildlife biologist in Grand Teton National Park. You will come across many different species that balance the ecosystem. Kids become “Junior Ecologists” and enjoy several hands-on experiences while finding elk, moose, bears and wolves.
The Grand Teton and Yellowstone area is also filled with many other mammals like bighorn sheep, bison, mountain goats, mule deer, pronghorn, and white-tailed deer, Canadian lynx, coyotes, grizzly bears and mountain lions.
- Children’s Pool Beach (La Jolla, California) – This area was originally meant to be a fully protected swimming area, but over the years, sand has encroached on the area. It is a good area to spot harbor seals and California sea lions. Swimming is allowed, but discourage. Instead, wait for low tide and check out tide pools. If you do come across a sea lion, maintain a respectful distance. They have become somewhat used to the presence of humans, but are still wild animals. Move slowly and give them plenty of room while you observe nearby.
If you are looking for animals that you can’t find in America, there are other options that give you an encounter with non-indigenous species.
- Safari West - It’s not a zoo or a drive through park – it’s a preserve filled with 800 animals that you are guided through while riding in an open-air double-decker vehicle. If you want to mix luxury into your experience, “tents” are available for overnight adventures…and these “tents” are more like private cabins with hardwood floors, private bath and pillow-top beds. Cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, monkeys, wildebeests, warthogs, tortoises, serval and gazelle all roam.