As much as we love to visit zoos and aquariums to see the incredible animal species that roam this Earth – it can often be quite underwhelming to see them all through cages and fences (and that’s not too great for the animals either). But as time goes on and animal rights groups have their say on zoos and aquariums, they are becoming increasingly interactive for the animals and visitors. And it’s pretty great, because who doesn’t want a giraffe as a best friend?
Adventure Aquarium – Camden, New Jersey
Most people dream of one day swimming amongst dolphins and sharks (we say MOST people, others are completely petrified of it) and some zoos and aquariums do offer this, but it is quite staged and seems uncomfortable for the animals involved. However, at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey you can swim amongst these animals in their natural habitat, without disturbing them. In their Adventure Aquarium, visitors are offered the opportunity to don your snorkel and enter the Shark Realm Exhibit, where you can get up close and personal to nurse sharks, sandbar sharks and more. After that, you can then swim over to the Stingray Lagoon, full of impressive Stingrays which you can swim with and feed. How cool is that?
Adelaide Zoo – Adelaide, Australia
Adelaide Zoo in Australia offers a plethora of interactive animal experiences that will give you hands-on experiences with some of the most dangerous animals in the world. One of these is the Nile Hippo experience which lets you bond with their pair of hippos, assist the zookeeper in checking out the health of the hippos, take part in their daily mouth check and help with feeding time. But if that doesn’t float your boat, you could enroll in their Big Cat Interactive program, which lets you get closer than ever before to their lions and tigers.
Cincinnati Zoo – Cincinnati, Ohio
The Cincinnati Zoo has become well-known for offering some of the most impressive interactive animal experiences in America. They offer everything from up close and personal animal meet-and-greets to their Junior Zookeeper pass option (yes, this really does mean that you get to hang out with baby animals) and their most popular Elephant Extravaganza. This option gives you the chance to meet their incredible elephants, who paint you a picture using just their trunk – and then you finish it all off by giving them an adorable bubble bath. Of course, it is pretty expensive, but all of the money raised from these experiences goes to help and protect elephants out in the wild.
ZSL London Zoo – London, England
The ZSL London Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the world – and one of the most incredible. It offers a variety of interactive experiences where you can hang around some of your favorite animals, and even offers the London Zoo’s Keeper for the Day program. This means you are trained as a professional zookeeper for one whole day, where you can get up close and personal with the giraffes, gorillas, penguins, lions and more. You feed them and look after them – although this does include cleaning out their enclosures, too!