I don’ really like zoo. Mainly because I don’t really believe that it’s right for people to capture animals and send them across the globe, so they can be locked up in a confined space for human’s entertainment. But, I love to see them and touch them, but then I feel rather guilty and horrible every time I visit a zoo. I went on a search for some alternatives and found some places to see and interact with wildlife in California.
If you know of any other cool places to see animals in California or around the world, please share them with me! I’d love to see more.
1. Wildlife Learning Center in Los Angeles
This little sanctuary is located about half an hour north of downtown Los Angeles. Wildlife Learning Center is privately owned and run. It relies entirely on very little income and largely donation. What makes this place unique is that all of the animals here are rescued from either a bad owner or a zoo. They have a variety of species from a python and a sloth to a bald eagle. At WLC, you can interact with selected animals but will require you to pay more on top of the cheap admission fee. I love this place and will recommend this for anybody especially families with kids because you can get really close and touch the animals, which is something that children will definitely appreciate.
Read more about Wildlife Learning Center
2. Elephant Seals of San Simeon
Elephant + seals = elephant seals. Yes, i’m talking about seals with a big nose. Kind of weird to think right? If you ever take a road trip down the HWY 1 or the Pacific Coast HWY, you should definitely stop at the Elephant Seal Beach in San Simeon. The beach is open for public for free and there’s an overlook built for you to appreciate these wonderful creatures.
Read more about Elephant Seals Beach
3. Ostrichland USA off 101 HWY in Solvang, CA
Just a bit north of Santa Barbara in the town called Solvang, there’s a little unusual stop here. This ostrich farm is pretty interesting with dozens of ostriches and emu. They sell ostrich jerky and eggs here. Don’t worry they don’t kill their ostriches. You will find these ostriches to be very cute, but they are rather aggressive. They will even bite each other when you try to feed them. However, it is quite an experience feeding ostriches and kids will love it. This makes a great stop along your road trip along the Pacific Coast HWY.
4. Seein’ Spot Farm in Solvang, CA
Another great rescued farm in California. They have many animals but most of the residents here are miniature donkey. There’s also one that is large enough for people to ride on but I feel bad for riding a donkey. This place is free and wonderful. The owners are really nice and come out to greet the guests themselves. Although this place is free, I highly recommend donation because it takes a lot of work to maintain all of this. If you’re seeking a place to see animals near Santa Barbara, this is definitely must visit.
Read more about seein’ spot farm
5. Sea Lions In Monterey
Why use your candy money to pay for Monterey Aquarium when you can see some sea lions for free? No joking, if you have never been to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, I suggest that you do. Although it is a bit expensive, it is one of best aquariums in the entire world. Again, this place makes me sad because how the fish are all locked in a giant water tank.
However, these sea lions live right next to a pier and have the freedom to travel around. You can see them for free in Monterey near the Cannery Row. If you’re staying in Monterey, this is a great activity to do after you’re walking around the historic row. It is quite fascinating to see them so up close!