California Animal Tour: 10 Greatest CA Zoos, Aquariums & Extra

California is thought for its seashores and amusement parks, nevertheless it’s additionally residence to improbable animal experiences. I’m going to take you on a California animal tour past the San Diego Zoo, from one of the best CA zoos to wild experiences…

The San Diego Zoo is a world-renown zoo that, together with the SD Wild Animal Park, deserves the popularity it receives. Nevertheless, it solely scratches the floor of the number of animals you possibly can see in California, each in conservation parks and within the wild.

So, I’m going to imagine you already know that the San Diego Zoo is value visiting. As an alternative, I’ll deal with the lesser-known locations in California the place you possibly can see and find out about animals.

Let’s soar proper in as a result of there’s lots to cowl!

The Greatest CA Zoos, Aquariums & Extra!

I do know us RVers take pleasure in seeing animals within the wild greater than something. However the stunning wilds of our nation are solely residence to so many species. Lots of which you’ll not often (if ever) see. 

Generally, it’s good to see extra animals up shut and be taught in regards to the conservation efforts working to guard them. I’ve a deep respect for the animal ambassadors in zoos, aquariums, and preserves which might be spreading consciousness for his or her wild brethren. 

I’m additionally very grateful for the large moral strides that one of the best CA zoos and aquariums are making to supply their animal ambassadors with one of the best life attainable. There’s nonetheless a methods to go, however the steady enhancements are very obvious. That’s why each vacation spot on this checklist is thought for its compassion for animals.

1. Fresno Chaffee Zoo

The Fresno Chaffee Zoo is an ideal instance of making habitats for his or her animals, not cages. For over a decade now, the zoo has been repeatedly upgrading its small park in BIG methods. Although it’s a lot smaller than the San Diego zoo, it’s undoubtedly probably the greatest CA zoos.

Their largest accomplishment up to now is the African Journey. This 13-acre enlargement options African elephants, lions, cheetahs, white rhinos, giraffes, and ostriches. The open habitat makes it seem that the animals are combined collectively, however intelligent architectural and panorama designs separate them.

Sea Lion Cove can also be a formidable enchancment. Lower than 20 years in the past, these sea lions have been confined to a small round-about pool. Now, they’ve a deep, expansive pool to swim and play in. Guests get to look at them frolic from a number of viewpoints, together with an underwater viewing space.

Fresno Chafee Zoo is opening their long-awaited Kingdoms of Asia in early 2023 with expansive enclosures for his or her primates, sloth bears, and a few new species.

This comparatively small zoo is a hidden gem not removed from Yosemite Nationwide Park. Anybody who visits Yosemite ought to make some extent to go to this zoo.

PSST! Whilst you’re in Fresno, make sure you take a look at the distinctive Underground Gardens.

2. Mission Survival Cat Haven

Talking of Yosemite, there’s one other animal vacation spot that’s value visiting when you’re within the space. Mission Survival Cat Haven was based in 1993 to assist shield a few of the rarest cats on this planet. 

It’s not a big park (you possibly can stroll by way of in 1.5 hours) however you possibly can meet 25 cats up shut. The protect additionally presents every day excursions to additional introduce you to their cats and conservation efforts.

It’s positioned on 93 acres simply west of King’s Canyon Nationwide Park, recognized for its large sequoia redwood timber.  So you possibly can see massive cats and massive timber all in in the future.

3. Safari West

Situated in wine nation, this wild animal park is called “The Sonoma Serengeti.” Like Cat Haven, this park opened in 1993. Since then, it has pursued its “three crucial targets: conservation, schooling, and exploration.”

Guests can go on a safari in a day or keep in a single day in safari glamping. Falling asleep to the sounds of the African wilds is pretty much as good a purpose as any to go away your RV for the evening. 

Plus, they provide an unimaginable eating expertise impressed by a South African custom referred to as braii.

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California Animal Tour: 10 Best CA Zoos, Aquariums & More 1
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4. The West Coast Falconry

Fowl-lovers can have a singular falconry expertise simply north of Sacramento, California. The West Coast Falconry promotes “preservation by way of schooling,” providing greater than a dozen totally different experiences to select from.

You possibly can take a primary falconry lesson, encounter all types of raptors, or take pleasure in a pleasing nature tour. There are excursions for all ages, although most are 7+.

5. Lions, Tigers & Bears

Not removed from the world-famous San Diego Zoo is a giant cat and unique animal rescue referred to as Lions, Tigers & Bears. It can actually have you ever saying “Oh my” as you go on a 2-hour guided academic go to of the sanctuary and animal habitats.

It’s residence to greater than 60 animals of 19 species. You possibly can improve your tour to feed one or the entire animals you meet. All visits are by reservation solely, so make sure you e book forward.

6. Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay is maybe as well-known because the San Diego Zoo, however many non-Westerners might not find out about it.

It’s an unimaginable nonprofit public aquarium recognized for its regional deal with the marine habitats of Monterey Bay. The marine displays are simply a part of what they do.

Their scientists are rebuilding sea otter populations, remodeling fishers and aquaculture around the globe, and dealing to guard California’s ocean.

Situated proper on the California Coast, it’s the right cease on a scenic Freeway 1 tour of California.

7. Elephant Seal Vista Level

Farther south on scenic freeway 1 is an opportunity to see uncommon creatures within the wild: elephant seals! These big-snouted seals lounge, bark, and typically combat on the seashore inside simple view of the general public.

In truth, the Piedras Blancas Rookery is the one elephant seal rookery on this planet that’s simply accessible, free, and open to the general public all yr lengthy. No reservation is required and even RV’s can drive proper up and park to see the animals.

8. Aquarium of the Pacific

The Aquarium of the Pacific offers the Monterey Bay Aquarium a run for its cash. It’s a 5-acre web site on Rainbow Harbor in Lengthy Seashore, California. 

It has stunning displays, together with a shark lagoon and a enjoyable penguin habitat. The aquarium hosts quite a lot of distinctive academic programming, together with visitor audio system, artwork and science occasions, accountable seafood initiatives, and extra.

As a bonus, it’s positioned proper throughout from the well-known Queen Mary; the enduring ship turned vacationer vacation spot.

9. The Catalina Island Bison

Folks journey from all around the world to see bison in Yellowstone, however you possibly can really see them inside a brief boat experience of LAX. Sure, a ship experience.

There’s a herd of untamed bison on the small Catalina Island off the coast of California. How on earth did bison get on an island? It’s believed that Hollywood is responsible.

The story goes {that a} movie crew introduced the bison to the island to seize scenes of the American West for both The Vanishing American or The Thundering Herd. As soon as filming was completed, they apparently left the bison there to roam freely. 

10. Capt. Dave’s Dana Level Whale & Dolphin Watching Safari

Generally to have one of the best animal expertise, you must depart the land. And California is thought for its front-row seat to the Pacific Ocean.

Whereas there are numerous whale watching excursions out there in California, the Dana Level Eco-Safari is called probably the greatest. It runs year-round to search for whales, dolphins, sea lions, and extra.

As you cruise, a naturalist tells you all in regards to the sea creatures, their life, their pure habitats, and what’s being completed to guard them. 

The catamaran is purpose-built to provide the greatest expertise, together with an underwater viewing pod!

Our Favourite California Nationwide Parks

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Take a look at this Southwest Journey Information Bundle (Arizona, Utah, & Colorado)

California Animal Tour: 10 Best CA Zoos, Aquariums & More 2

When Jennifer and I journey to the southwest, we’re regularly amazed on the majesty and wonder this nation has to supply. And it’s actually onerous to remain in only one state! So we created this Bundle for you in case you prefer to journey as we do. 

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