Today’s Travel Tuesday post is inspired by the #TRLT discussion “Animals and Birds” on Twitter last week. Every Tuesday we join an international group of globe trotters who like to discuss various topics related to travel.

Don’t know about you, but we prefer our animals uncaged and in the wild. So although we have visited a few noteworthy zoos, like the one in Omaha, NE where the animals roam uncaged, we mostly prefer to see animals in their natural habitat. That’s why we like to visit Alligator Alley and Everglades National Park in southern Florida. There are paths in the Everglades where you can get extremely close to the alligators – just don’t get too close.

a flock of alligators

Or on the opposite side of the country in Oatman, AZ you can have a wild burro encounter. The burros just roam around town as they please. And yes, they are wild, descendants of the burros brought here by the miners in the late 1800s. It’s a short detour off of Interstate 40, between Kingman and Needles.

3 wild burros
Bring carrots if you are passing through Oatman

Whales and manatees also rate high on our list of thrilling animal encounters and we’ve covered both in our videos.

Although we don’t particularly enjoy seeing caged animals, we do appreciate the work that the rescue centers do. Years ago we went to Wolf Park, an educational facility in Battle Ground, Indiana where we learned among other things that wolves are unfairly demonized in folklore.

But perhaps the most unique wildlife experience we’ve had would be the time we volunteered to clean lion and cougar cages at a rescue center near Orlando. Let’s just say they don’t smell too nice. But don’t worry, the animals were not at home when their makeshift maids came to clean. It’s something that might not have occurred to us to do if it hadn’t been for Disney. That year they were offering free tickets to their parks for volunteers. So we rolled up our sleeves, plugged our noses and did what we could. And then made the sacrifice of going to one of our favorite theme parks. Thanks Disney!

One of our favorite animal or bird photos is this one of 3 bats caught mid-flight taken recently on our visit to the University Of Florida Bat Houses in Gainesville, FL. More batty encounter here. Patience & a lot of blurry bats until it “clicked”. Which reminds us of another memorable bat encounter at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. Home of our “adopted” bat Bartholomew.

Next on our animal encounter bucket list

  • Giraffe Manor in Kenya, to dine with the long-necked giants
  • swim with Manta Rays, dolphins, whales and perhaps a shark or two
  • a Safari or two


The Galapagos has incredible wildlife and you can get very close for amazing pics. The blue footed boobies were my favorite.

Julie McCool | FuninFairfax

How about you? What’s the best animal encounter you’ve had in your wonderings? Where do you want to go to experience wildlife?

In Peru, I stayed at a lodge in the Amazon that doubled as a monkey rehab centre and so I got to play with monkeys all day.

whereshelly

You are invited to join us @activatedAdven1 and our Twitter Tribe every Tuesday for #TRLT at 1:00 pm and #TTOT at 4:30 pm ET on Twitter. Find The Road Less Traveled on Facebook for a sneak peek at upcoming themes and questions. The group Travel Talk on Twitter also posts themes and questions ahead of time Facebook. You are welcome to add your suggested questions in either group.