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If you’re looking for a more ferocious vacation, we’ve got you covered. These extreme animal destinations let you interact with the biggest and baddest of beasts.


Photo by: Angel Bennett

Photo by: Angel Bennett

Snack With the Wolves

Home to more than 60 wolves and wolf-dogs, Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary in Ramah, New Mexico is a wildlife haven that allows wide-eyed guests to throw food (over a fence and) into the jaws of a hungry wolf during the sanctuary’s feeding tours. Look out this Howl-o-ween for even more wolfy interaction. On October 26, Wild Spirit offers visitors a chance to go behind some barriers to photograph its furry inhabitants as the wolves tear into some sweet pumpkin treats.


Swim With the Whales

Strap on some waders and make a splash with live beluga whales in Chicago. At the Shedd Aquarium, guests who opt for the Beluga Encounter experience get to jump into an actual whale habitat and stand side-by-side with trainersas they walk you through the proper way to touch and teach these majestic creatures. For couples who want to take their love of whales (and each other) to the next level, the Shedd also offers a proposal package, complete with champagne, strawberries, a pro photographer and your new beluga buddies.


Snooze with the Tigers

In Center Point, Indiana, one nonprofit is on a mission to save abused and neglected exotic cats. Exotic Feline Rescue Center is currently home to approximately 225 exotic cats including lions, leopards, tigers, bobcats, pumas, ocelots and servals. Devoted to rehabilitating animals both medically and socially, EFRC focuses less on the cuddly-wuddly aspects of wild cats and more on providing a safe habitat that emulates the animals’ natural homes. They can provide a home for you, too. Along with seeing some feline fatales, visitors can stay overnight and watch from their windows as cats roam their pens or run alongside 400-pound predators (from a safe distance of course) during the Center’s annual 5K Run Through the Jungle each spring.


Flap With the Bats

By day, Bracken Cave is an unassuming nook in Texas hill country just outside of San Antonio. By night, it’s Disneyworld for bats. Every summer, Bracken becomes home to the world’s largest colony of bats. An estimated 10 million Mexican free-tail bats take residence in the cave from March through October. During select nights in June, July and August, lucky guests head to the caves to watch the sky cloud over as millions of bats take flight. The phenomena was named one of the top ten wildlife spectacles by National Geographic.

Tagged: Feature, Midwest, Texas

Christina Couch

Christina Couch

Christina Couch is a permanent traveler who moves to a different place every few months. Her writing work can be found in Wired Magazine, Discover Magazine,, Hemispheres Magazine and Time Out Chicago. Follow her on Twitter at @couchcs.

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