Best Exotic Animal Encounters in California

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Are you looking for a great place to take the animal lover in your family to meet some exotic animals? There are a number of unforgettable experiences to have in the state of California and each can give an up close and personal experience with nature! Here’s a quick list that showcases some of the best locations in California where you can interact directly with exotic animals!  It’s an excellent way for family and friends to spend the day together and create a memory all of you will cherish!

Exotic Animals in Northern California:

Happy Hollow Park & Zoo: San Jose, CA

Happy Hollow Park and Zoo have a vast array of exotic animals, including lemurs, birds, fossa, peccaries, jaguars, and other unique animals. There is also a variety of barnyard animals and wallabies near a petting zoo that features miniature horses, zebu, and donkeys. The zoo also has a sandbox to dig/sweep for fossils, a small amusement park with rides for little tykes, two fantastic playgrounds, and puppet shows! It is a great place to take the whole family for a fun-filled adventure day!

Dive In! SeaQuest Folsom

Looking for an incredible, interactive, and affordable animal experience in Northern California and Sacramento? SeaQuest Folsom is a perfect choice! Boasting over 20,000 square feet of fun-packed adventures, SeaQuest Folsom is one of the few places in the Sacramento area that offers hands-on encounters where visitors get to touch, feel, and feed animals from a variety of ecosystems found throughout the world.

During your quest, you’ll journey through the Amazon, Caribbean, Egyptian Desert, and Mayan Jungle as you interact with sharks, snakes, turtles, and lizards. Ever seen a kangaroo in person? Well, if not, visit the wallabies at SeaQuest Folsom! Wallabies are the smallest in the kangaroo family and love to have visits from guests.

Exotic Animal Encounters at SeaQuest Stonecrest, Georgia:

  • Asian Otter Interaction: Meet Chip and Dale! During your time to feed the otters, you’ll get an educational overview of the otter species and habitat, then participate in an informational Q&A on how you can help save the otters in the wild!
  • Capybara Fun: Hang out with the most chill “Capy” around, Westley! Hand-feed Westley some of his favorite foods and learn all about the fascinating  Capybara species. He loves to take selfies with you, so don’t miss out!  He’s the most photogenic Capybara in California!
  • Crested Porcupine Interaction: Have you ever wondered what a porcupine actually feels like? Look no further – Meet Quilly, the porcupine here at SeaQuest, and learn all about her unique species while hand-feeding her favorite snacks!
  • Sloth Interaction: Hang out with Flash the Sloth while learning all about him. You get to feed, pet, and touch the sloth in this once-in-a-lifetime experience! Be sure to bring your camera for a selfie during your hand-feeding session.
  • Fishy Kisses: Dip your feet into a tank of fish that will gently “kiss” your toes, removing dead skin cells in the process.

Buy One Get One Free at SeaQuest

Oakland Zoo

Oakland Zoo is managed by the Conservation Society of California, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of wildlife locally and globally. The Zoo is home to over 850 native and exotic animals and has Northern California’s largest wild animal veterinary facility. You’ll see African lions, Californian condors, Florida red-bellied turtles, Panamanian golden frogs, North American river otters, and so much more! They also have the California Trail, a monumental expansion committed to animal care, education, and conservation with a focus on California’s remarkable native wildlife—both past and present.

Exotic Animals in Southern California:

Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary: Phelan, CA

Located in Phelan, California Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary rescues and rehabilitates captive-bred exotic animals. This sanctuary prides itself on the most important mission of sanctuaries, which is caring for the animals and educating the public about wildlife and endangered species. A true animal refuge in Southern California, you can expect to see a wide range of species. From lions and tigers to a pond of alligators, this local gem houses every type of critter under the sun!

San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo is a not-for-profit organization located just north of downtown San Diego in Balboa Park. The world-famous San Diego Zoo is a wildlife sanctuary home to more than 3,500 rare and endangered animals representing more than 650 species and subspecies and a prominent botanical collection with more than 700,000 exotic plants. Amur leopards, jaguars, red pandas, giraffes, elephants, and koalas are just a few of the many animals that call the San Diego Zoo home. The exhibits are linked by an expansive series of trails, such as the Monkey Trail, the Hippo Trail or the Tiger Trail. On these designated pathways, you’ll come face to face with numerous exciting exotic creatures!

Wild Wonders Inc: Bonsall, CA

Wild Wonders, Inc. is a wildlife rescue & conservation facility that educates visitors through face-to-face animal ambassador encounters. Their mission is to promote wildlife conservation through education, both locally and internationally. They provide a permanent and loving home for non-releasable wildlife and confiscated exotic pets. You’ll see cheetahs, bearcats, kinkajous and owl monkeys!

When it comes to exotic animal encounters in the great state of California. This list highlights just a few of our favorite picks! From the Bay Area down to the Los Angeles Valley, a variety of aquarium and zoo locations will surely bring the adventure of a lifetime for your family! For the BEST animal interactions in the state, check out the SeaQuest Folsom website. You can book your special exotic animal encounter today!


Colorful Parrot eats some seeds

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