Who loves animals? I know I do. One good place to see them are at the various zoos and wildlife parks. Here are some of the top 10 places I have aspirations to visit someday (and hopefully get some good animal pictures). Disclaimer: I can't promise I will visit these places (especially in the near future) but maybe someday when I have both the extra time and money to do so I could visit at least some of these places:
Place 1: San Diego Zoo
You know, my grandfather on my mother's side (Joe Shackelford) used to live in California (Sacramento area to be exact) and there was a time I would visit him in California almost every summer (at least till he passed away back in 2005). Anyways, while I have taken many trips to the Sacramento area, I rarely visit southern California (especially the Los Angeles and San Diego areas). Last time I went to that part of California was back in 2006 when my family visited Palm Springs and later Disneyland (even spent a night in Las Vegas on the way back to the Seattle area that year). Anyways, I understand San Diego Zoo is supposed to be one of the biggest zoos here in the united states (not sure if it is the biggest in America, but I am sure it is pretty high up there). Can't say I have ever been there, but would love to go there sometime and get pictures and videos of the various animals, there.
2. Sea World (either in Florida or San Diego)
Can't say I have been to either park, but i think it would be worth a trip someday, hopefully while they still have the whales there.
3. Seeing the Grey Whales at the San Ignacio Lagoon.
Make no mistake, we get whales here in Washington (even in the Puget Sound area), usually comes in the form of dolphins, orcas, and the occasional humpback whales (especially up north near Alaska). Anyways, I have heard about San Ignacio Lagoon in Mexico (Baja California) where you can actually pet some friendly grey whales. I understand whales often come right up to your boat and you can even pet them too (sometimes even get a chance to feel their baleen too). I can't say I have ever been there, but it could be worth a trip someday and see if I can get footage of the whales there).
4. Bearizona Arizona
You know, I almost ended up going there this summer. Around this time this week, I was supposed to be camping in Sedona Arizona (along with visiting the Grand Canyon area last week). Unforuntately due to some unforseen circumstances (one of my dogs getting diagnosed with terminal illness), the trip had to be cancelled (ended up going camping in eastern Washington last week). Anyways, one of the things me and my family was planning to do was to visit Bearizona on at least one of the days we would have been there. It is supposed to be kinda like Northwest trek, but they have an area where you can drive through or take a bus and see bears, wolves, and other animals up close. Other animals worth seeing includes: swift foxes and red foxes (I've seen videos of them). Hopefully I will get another opportunity to go there sometime.
5. Zao's Fox Village in Japan
Who here likes foxes? Especially red foxes? I can't say I have ever been to Japan (though my father went there with the Navy a few times when I was a kid), but I have heard that Japan has some rather interesting zoos and wildlife sanctuaries (like islands full of cats, islands full of rabbits, places where you can see owls, hedgehogs, etc). However, if I had to pick at least one wildlife sanctuary to visit, it would probably be Zao's fox village. I have never been there, but it is supposed to be a zoo where you can see foxes just about everywhere. Here in the Seattle area, red foxes are rare and not easy to find (unless if you know where to look for them) and they usually come in the form of coyotes in my opinion (though I have seen 2 different wild foxes in the wild here in Washington state, with the most recent one being near Auburn back in March). Now, some zoos do have foxes that you can see, for example here in the seattle area, the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma has at least 2 arctic foxes and Northwest Trek in Eatonville has at least 2 red foxes (I've heard that the Greater Vancouver Zoo in British Columbia has both kinds of foxes too, though I haven't been there in years). Woodland Park Zoo used to have arctic foxes, but they were no longer on display when I was there last month (not sure if or when they plan to get new foxes besides the animal ambassador arctic fox they have, but it seems like it could be years before they get new ones if ever).
Anyways, I haven't seen anything quite like fox village. Unlike most zoos and and the wild, there are foxes just about everywhere (mostly red foxes in all of their color phases) probably even hundreds of them. Based on what I have heard and seen about fox village, they seem to be pretty tolerant of humans (unlike normal foxes that tend to hide when humans are around) and can be quite bold at times (especially if you have treats for them). I know there are some animal rights activists out there that are opposed to fox village (apparently some of the foxes are imbred and do tend to get into fights with each other sometimes), but I never been there, so it is not my place to judge, plus foxes aren't easy to find in the wild and fox village can definitely be a good place to see these normally elusive creatures up close and personal. Most foxes are not as tame as the ones at fox village as far as I can tell. Definitely might be worth the trip someday if I ever visit Japan.
6. American Camp area on San Juan Island / Mount Rainer National park (especially near Paradise and Sunrise)
Two places here in Washington that might also be good places to see foxes is the American Camp on San Juan Island and Mount Rainer. Interestingly, I went to Roche Harbor for a friend's wedding back in April, but didn't encounter any foxes that time (I wanted to visit American Camp, but nobody else wanted to), but I definitely think San Juan Island would be worth a revisit sometime and I will have to be sure to bring binoculars and a good camera should I encounter the red foxes there. Not sure when I will go there again (apparently you have to make reservations ahead of time when taking the San Juan ferry unless if you are a walk on passenger), but I might look into it sometime (such as being a walk on passenger and utlilizing public transit to visit American Camp), but not sure how to go about doing so. I also listed Mount Rainer here too since they have the native cascade red foxes that have become a common sight there.
7. Disneyworld Animal Kingdom
8. Revisit to the Living Desert zoo in Palm Springs California
9. Visiting the Artic Circle -