The Best Alternative To Zoos If You Want To See Exotic Animals


It is a great thing to experience when wildlife naturally draws us into it. It is always good to indulge with our natural surroundings, especially for children so that we will learn to share our planet.

Instead of supporting a zoo, where animals are forced to continual captivity, you should consider watching them in their natural habitat, living their lives the way nature intended them to. Here is a list of 7 zoo alternatives around the world you should visit to see exotic animals without the burden of a guilty conscience.

The Best Alternative To Zoos If You Want To See Exotic Animals

Elephant Nature Park, Thailand

The Best Alternative To Zoos If You Want To See Exotic Animals

Cofounded by Sangduen “Lek” Chailert, Elephant Nature Park is a sanctuary and rescue centre for elephants in Chiang Mai Province of Northern Thailand. Lek who is known as “the elephant whisperer” started the park in 1996 as a safe-haven for the elephants from being mistreated in the tourism and logging industries in Thailand. This rescue and rehabilitation sanctuary is where elephants thrive freely in the natural habitat. The sanctuary is a safe home to elephants that comes with dislocated hips, and scars from bull horns stabbed by a trainer to teach tricks. While visiting the Elephant Nature Park, you will be able to feed elephants, learn about the past of each elephant or help give them a mud bath. The most impressive thing about the park is that the elephants roam free 24/7 and are not forced to do anything.

Tiggywinkles, UK

The Best Alternative To Zoos If You Want To See Exotic Animals

Tiggywinkles is an animal welfare charity and wildlife hospital based at Haddenham, Buckinghamshire in London. Founded in 1983 as the Wildlife Hospital Trust, Tiggywinkles is also the first wildlife hospital in the UK. The hospital that specialises in the rescue and treatment of wild animals, got its name from the hedgehog character in Beatrix Potter’s story The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle. Tiggywinkles functions as an animal sanctuary that treats sick and injured hedgehogs, badgers, wild birds and other creatures in need. A sanctuary is also a place where wild animal practice is taught to veterinary surgeons and nurses. Tiggywinkles which is known itself as the world’s business wildlife hospital has a visitor centre that is open to the public, where you can feed hedgehogs, learn to make hedgehog homes, visit a bone exhibition as well as the gift shop and café.

Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, USA

The Best Alternative To Zoos If You Want To See Exotic Animals

Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary in New York, USA is a sanctuary founded largely on public donations. Animals that are escaped from ill-treatment on farms, slaughterhouses, stockyards, and auctions are cared for at this sanctuary. The sanctuary has a hospital facility where sick and injured farm animals are treated. The sanctuary is ideal to offer school children a visit, so that they will be able to learn about animals and know what healthy, well card farm animals look like. The sanctuary has rescued animals like cows, pigs, goats and chickens that are no longer in danger of slaughter for human consumption. A visit to the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary would convince you these animals to be cute as baby elephants or sloths and let you rub the belly of a pig, play with goats and feed the chickens.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Australia

The Best Alternative To Zoos If You Want To See Exotic Animals

This large woodland reserve sanctuary in Brisbane, Australia calls itself the world’s oldest and largest Koala rescue centre. The sanctuary also has other rescued animals such as kangaroos, birds of prey, and platypus. The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary gives you the opportunity to handle snakes, feed kangaroos and lorikeets and cuddle koalas. Juniors, teenagers and adults will also get to become ‘keeper for a day’ and experience what being a wildlife keeper is. Unlike many other Koala sanctuaries, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary has strict guidelines to protect Koalas sleeping patterns. Each Koala can only be held for no more than 30 minutes during the day, in order to ensure that they sleep for a solid 23.5 hours if they want.

Tiritiri Matangi Open Sanctuary, New Zealand

The Best Alternative To Zoos If You Want To See Exotic Animals

This Tiritiri Matangi Open Sanctuary is also a conservation project at Tiritiri Matangi Island in the Hauraki Gulf of New Zealand. The sanctuary was started after the island was restored to its natural habitat by wildlife conservationists taking around ten years. Their hard work with the hopes of bringing back the island’s native species paid off with the return of endangered species like vibrant takahē that now thrives in their natural setting. You can get to the Tiritiri Matangi Open Sanctuary by taking a ferry from Auckland. As you head to the island you should make sure to check your shoes and the biosecurity notices to help the sanctuary’s staff protect native bird species and other natural inhabitants for invasive pests. The sanctuary offers you the opportunity for birdwatch and hikes on the island looking for little spotted kiwis, takahēs, and tuatara.

Cedar Rowe Farm Sanctuary, Canada

The Best Alternative To Zoos If You Want To See Exotic Animals

The Cedar Rowe Farm Sanctuary in South Western Ontario, Canada is a small family-run sanctuary with veggie/vegan credentials. The sanctuary established in 1999, is a place of hope for animals rescued from abuse, neglect and slaughter in the meat and dairy industry. The farm sanctuary has hundreds of animals including cows, sheep, donkeys, rabbits, pigs, goats, turkeys, chickens, ducks and geese. The sanctuary encourages only for working visits, as the sanctuary is not open to the general public. The work visits that run from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm is a great opportunity to see the sanctuary, get to know the animals, and lend a helping hand. While coming for work visit you should make sure to bring proper footwear, own work gloves suitable for medium-duty work and reusable containers for water as they do not have bottled water on site.

SanWild Wildlife Sanctuary, South Africa

The SanWild Wildlife Sanctuary is a 6,000-hectare wildlife rehabilitation centre and reserve in South Africa’s Limpopo Province. The sanctuary was started by the efforts of a woman named Louise Joubert, who grew up nearby Olifants River in Namaqualand where she was first drawn to the local wildlife. The sanctuary is now home to rescued and rehabilitated wild animals include giraffes, red hartebeest, elephants, impala, kudu, pangolin, common and mountain reedbuck, waterbuck, grey duiker, nyala, zebras, blue wildebeest, steenbok, rhinos, hippos and aardvark. The sanctuary that fully caters for vegans is open to visitors through reservations.

The Best Alternative To Zoos If You Want To See Exotic Animals

The SanWild Wildlife Sanctuary is a 6,000-hectare wildlife rehabilitation centre and reserve in South Africa’s Limpopo Province. The sanctuary was started by the efforts of a woman named Louise Joubert, who grew up nearby Olifants River in Namaqualand where she was first drawn to the local wildlife. The sanctuary is now home to rescued and rehabilitated wild animals include giraffes, red hartebeest, elephants, impala, kudu, pangolin, common and mountain reedbuck, waterbuck, grey duiker, nyala, zebras, blue wildebeest, steenbok, rhinos, hippos and aardvark. The sanctuary that fully caters for vegans is open to visitors through reservations.

While travelling places, you will more likely to jump into wanderlust and go with the flow of the wild. We shouldn’t forget how important it is to educate ourselves on sustainable places so that it will give us meaningful experiences, while also benefiting the people and places we visit. Tourism can sometimes help the world and sometimes hurt the world and it is our responsibility to visit places that are a beneficial tool for community growth and the protection of species and the environment.


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