We have always found animals to be absolutely captivating. There is just something that feels so mysterious about animals. It is amazing how one glance can feel like they are staring into your soul and they can always leave you wondering what they could possibly be thinking. Regardless of how wild or “tame” an animal is, animals are incredible and deserve to be treated with the utmost respect.
Darcy always laughs at me because each time we see an animal I turn into a giddy little girl.
Here are our favorites! Do you have any favorites? Share them below!
On our very first ‘real’ vacation to the Mayan Riveria in Mexico, Darcy and I were on a specific budget, but Darcy was determined to get me in the water with dolphins, even though it meant he wouldn’t be able to. Getting up close to these amazing creatures was always a dream of mine and getting to see and understand just how incredible dolphins are, and first-hand, is one of my favorite first travel memories. Dolphins are known to be gentle and caring creatures, and to be highly intelligent.
We went scuba diving in Honolulu, Hawaii and were able to swim among the Sea Turtles. It was incredible to see how gracefully they glide under water and was amazing to be so close to them within their natural habitat. Sea Turtles are gorgeous, and it is super cool that they have a lineage as old as the dinosaurs.
Elephants are incredible creatures. While in South Africa, we were able to get up close to a couple elephants, as well as witness herds of elephants on safari, and experience exactly why they are so majestic. Elephants are beautiful, right down to their wrinkly skin and plastic-to-the-touch hair. After our experiences, we left the Elephants realizing that they are some of the wisest animals on the planet. We found that the Elephants really helped us to become very aware of our surroundings and that no matter how much time we sat there watching, we would always be in awe. You can’t help but look and watch their every move. Plus, Elephants make the coolest trumpet sounds when they communicate.
Servals are absolutely gorgeous cats. The serval has the longest legs and largest ears for its body size of any cat, which we found make the serval super cute. The head is small in relation to the body, and the tall, oval ears are set close together. As soon as we saw this Serval in South Africa, we fell in love at first glance.
Walking a Cheetah was among one of the highlights of our South Africa trip and we very quickly fell in love with the sleek and beautiful Cheetah. We found their “purring” to be quite intimidating at first, as it sounds like they are growling at you. After we got over the fear, we fell in love with all their vocalizations such as purrs, bleats, barks, growls, hisses, and a high pitched chirping sound. They are the fastest land animal, reaching speeds of 45 – 70 mph, but are unable to “roar”.
Walking with the Lions, interacting with baby lions, seeing a Lion feed and a family of Lions interact on Safari were all incredible experiences. Lions are so majestic, intimidating, and just so very powerful. After all, they are “King Of The Jungle”. Being able to experience the powerful Lion in so many ways left us with a complete respect for them, and a better understanding of them. Lions are AMAZING.
Sea Lions sure are super fun. We took part in an encounter program in Honolulu, Hawaii and got a lot more out of the experience than we expected. Sea Lions are very intelligent, more intelligent than we would have otherwise known. We were able to stroke the Sea Lion as it swam underwater, steal a kiss and watch the trainer communicate with the Sea Lion using commands and hand signals. We were also able to watch a blind Sea Lion interact and play. Incredible.
Getting in a cage twice in the Ocean with two different types of Sharks was incredible. Debbie has always been particularly fascinated by Sharks and how greatly they are misunderstood. Our first close encounter was with Black Tip Sharks in Honolulu, Hawaii, and most recently with Great White Sharks in Gansbaai, South Africa. Being so close to such intense creatures was both nerve wracking and inspirational.
Going whale watching among the San Juan Islands was great. The Naturalist’s on board were very knowledgeable, and we saw family of resident Orca’s that were more than willing to continually pop out of the water and say hello. Even sitting on the top deck of the boat, the visibility was great, and the blue sky with not a cloud in sight made all the surrounding scenery all that more stunning.
And, when our travels are done for the time being and we return home, we absolutely love coming home to this precious Beagle, Bailey. How could you not love this cuddly bundle of fur?
What have been your favorite animal encounters during your travels?