Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post- just an amazing experience.
Anyone who knows me, knows I am a big lover of animals. Going to the zoo is such a joy of mine that I even try to do it whenever I visit another country. Other countries, states, cities and even local zoos have different species of animals. I am very lucky to live in Denver, Colorado, which has an amazing zoo, so I have been exposed to animals since I was young. I have had the great pleasure of seeing up close and personal some amazing animals. Many of my animal encounters have been abroad, but there’s so much to discover (with a bit of digging) in your local areas that give a unique and unforgettable experience. My favorite is the Denver Aquarium.
Now you might be thinking, “what is so exciting and unique about fish?” but the Denver Aquarium has so much more to offer. The Denver Aquarium is home to over 500 animal species. On a regular visit you can enjoy everything from fish, sea turtles, jelly fish, otters, tigers and even an interactive stingray attraction where you can feed and pet the gentle stingrays. IF all of that was not cool enough, the Aquarium even has mermaids. Attached to the Aquarium, there is also a restaurant. The restaurant is surrounded by aquariums, fish, amazing decor, delicious food and even the chance of a mermaid pop in.
It was on a field trip with a summer camp I was working for in 2012 when everything changed. With 42 kids and only 4 adult wranglers it was a crazy but enjoyable day. We had just finished the Aquarium and were lining up to head out for the buses when out come a porcupine! That’s right a huge, sweet porcupine on a leash. The handler explained that the Denver Aquarium has an animal husbandry program to promote education and conservation of species. After group and single pictures, the other adults started to re-rally the kids as I went to investigate more about these programs.
I learned that you can schedule a private “animal meet and greet” (http://www.aquariumrestaurants.com/downtownaquariumdenver/funLearningfamily.asp#behind-animal) for 5 people for only $45. She then started telling me about the different animals they had, and when she said sloth, I almost lost my mind. That’s not an exaggeration- I go crazy for sloths. Before the bus had even made it back to the center I had created a plan. A co-worker and her 2 sloth happy friends, my sloth happy best friend and I would split the cost and meet a sloth face to face. Not gonna lie, I did cry from excitement the night before the meet and greet.
This past year my husband and I decided to go again. We took a Friday off work and arranged back to back meet and greets. First with the sloth, then followed by an otter. Besides the pure joy of just being there, having them eat from your hands and also having an otter climb on you, we also got to learn a ton about the species, their natural habitat and ways to help they thrive. A big fundraiser the aquarium does for conservation is a painting. Animals love to be creative and it’s a great and safe way to take a piece of them home with you. They paint right in front of you and then you get to bring the portrait home. The proceeds go to care of the animals and the conservation program. It was a very powerful and personal way for us to give back.
Getting to pet, feed learn about and play with these amazing animals was beyond comparison. I highly recommend it to all.