5 Family-Friendly Wildlife Adventures
Updated on February 13, 2019
Rising concern over the diminished role of nature in children’s lives has been the topic of serious discussion in the past couple of decades and has led to publications such as Richard Louv’s best-seller Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder. According to several studies, most kids rarely play outside, and they also learn about wild animals in zoos or in school, rather than first-hand.
A shift in the educational system is not close to fruition, but in the meantime, your family can enjoy first-hand experiences with animals in their natural habitats on one of the family-friendly wildlife adventures offered on SEEtheWILD.org. These family adventures are suitable for all ages, providing families with a memorable travel experience with lasting impacts. From studying sea turtles to learning how a jaguar researcher sets a camera trap, your family will have an unforgettable adventure while supporting conservation programs.
The five trips listed are our most popular family adventures; you can browse more options on the SEEtheWILD website.
Costa Rica Ultimate Wildlife Adventure: (Reefs to Rockies)
- Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula has been called “one of the most biologically intense places on Earth” by National Geographic, and rightly so: it is one of the best-protected locations in Central America. Explore this lush environment as you actively learn about jaguars, monkeys, birds, and reefs. Your family will snorkel the coastline, learn how to set a camera trap, and hike stunning landscapes before retiring to comfortable accommodations each evening. Starting at $1,130 per person, this 8-day trip gives you more than your money’s worth.
Sea Turtle monitoring with LAST (Latin American Sea Turtle Program) near Playa Blanca, Costa Rica. © Hal Brindley
Galapagos Adventure: (Wildland Adventures)
- Explore one of the world’s most unique wildlife hot spots by private yacht. You will snorkel with sea lions, hike stunning landscapes, and get the chance to view the Galapagos’ famously unique species, including giant tortoises and a plethora of birds. Your family will also get the opportunity to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, explore lava formations and camp among giant tortoises (optional). This 11-day trip starts at $4,890 per person.
Whale Sharks and Sea Turtles of the Yucatan: (Natural Habitat Adventures)
- Enjoy the splendors of the Mexican Riviera’s coastline, culture, and history. Your family will spend ample time snorkeling among gentle sea turtles and whale sharks and viewing other marine species. On land, you will get the opportunity to explore the well-preserved Mayan ruins of Tulum, set upon cliffs overlooking the ocean, and to hike the wetlands and forest of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. This trip starts at $4,595 per person and lasts 6 days.
Great Bear Rainforest: (Maple Leaf Adventures)
- Explore the rugged wilderness of British Columbia by schooner, Zodiac, kayak, and on foot as you look for a variety of species. This lush rainforest is home to grizzly bears, black bears, and the rare white Spirit bear, while the coastline and open ocean are frequented by humpback whales, orcas, and dolphins – the latter sometimes swims alongside the ship! Naturalist guides also teach you about local ecology, including the “salmon forest.” Starting at approximately $3,000 per person.
Luxury Belize Adventure: (Wildland Adventures)
- This trip is listed as one of National Geographic Traveler’s “Tour of a Lifetime” with good reason. You and your family will journey off the beaten path to experience Belize’s cultural and natural resources. You will enjoy the remarkable diversity of sea life as you snorkel some of the world’s most renowned dive sites, and find jungle wildlife as you paddle down a river. On land, you will explore Mayan ruins, experience local culture, and hike tropical forests. This 8-day tour starts at $3,650.
Spanning multiple continents, species, and types of activities, these trips offer options for families of all ages, fitness levels, and interests. Where you go is up to you. What is important is that you choose to impart a love of the natural world, and the skills to explore it, to your children. Wherever you go, this is an important lesson to convey.
Photos: Hal Brindley, Natural Habitat Adventures, EcoColors, Greg Shea/Maple Leaf Adventures