Best Exotic Animal Encounters in Utah

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Mom and baby watch stingrays at SeaQuest Aquarium

Are you looking for a fantastic educational experience that puts you in direct contact with some of the most incredible exotic animals from around the globe? Utah hosts some of the best zoos, aquariums, animal sanctuaries, and wildlife refuges. Learn about massive reptiles from the African Savannah, feed the Kinkajou of Central America, and swim with the Stingrays in their tropical waters. Here is a quick look at some of the best places to experience the exotic world of animals right from the comfort of your backyard.

Experience SeaQuest Layton

One of the best ways to experience exotic animals from around the globe is through the direct interaction exhibits available at SeaQuest Layton. SeaQuest offers some of the best educational displays of exotic animals for guests to learn about and meet directly.

Exotic Animal Encounters at SeaQuest Layton:

  • Sloth Encounter: SeaQuest Utah plays host to a very rare opportunity. Lil’ Bit- the two-toed sloth loves visitors! SeaQuest guests can get a chance to meet with and feed the sloth, all while learning about the care process and what it’s like to be a sloth!

  • Kinkajou Interaction: Guests can interact with SeaQuest’s two playful Kinkajous: Honey and Diego! Kinkajous, otherwise known as Honeybears, are playful and curious creatures who love a sweet treat. Guests can learn about the Honeybears, all while holding and feeding the two playful mammals.

  • Crested Porcupine: These porcupines are anything but prickly. Quilliam, SeaQuest’s resident African Crested Porcupine, is ready to meet and greet guests! Take a photo with the friendly Quilly and learn about the unique African ecosystem from which these Crested Porcupines originate.

  • Snorkel With Stingrays: Swimming with the fishes has never been so fun. SeaQuest Layton offers guests the chance to wear snorkeling gear and hop into the tropical waters alongside the friendly Stingrays at the aquarium! Follow alongside an instructor and meet the incredible creatures in their habitat.

  • EpicQuest: It’s the ultimate of the ultimate at SeaQuest: an epic journey through five continents! This land and sea adventure will take you on a guided tour, where you’ll touch, interact with, and hand-feed exotic animals from across the planet.  This 3-hour EpicQuest will begin by taking you and your group on a guided safari adventure through five continents, where you’ll get to hand-feed animals in each area. You’ll learn about the Amazon rainforest, the Mayan Jungle, the Egyptian Desert, and so much more. From snakes and tortoises to exotic birds and a variety of shark species, you’ll meet many amazing and magnificent creatures from around the globe. 


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Best Friends Animal Sanctuary: Kanab, Utah

The Best Friends Animal Society has locations all across the United States, but the sanctuary, located in the red rocks of Kanab, Utah, boasts some pretty unique features. A stunning red rock landscape surrounds the sanctuary’s Cat World, Dogtown, and Horse Haven. Primarily a caregiving facility for adoptable animals and species in need of assistance, the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary offers guests a chance to learn about the care these animals need.

Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge: Brigham City, Utah

This sprawling stretch of marshes, rivers, and bays is home to more than 200 bird species. The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is a flyway for countless migration patterns and acts as a feeding, nesting, and resting ground for around 67 different species. It’s one of the most critical ecosystems in the state and offers incredible opportunities to learn about the aviary world. Tours, birdwatching expeditions, and hikes are available to guests looking to experience the unique world of the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge.

Hogle Zoo: Salt Lake City, Utah

The Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City is one of the largest zoos in Utah. As an Association of Zoos and Aquariums member, Hogle Zoo strives to build educational outreach with guests to inspire future caretakers and animal activists. The Hogle Zoo features powerful exhibits with animals from around the world, including the African Savannah, Asian Highlands, and a Primate Forest. Stay tuned; the zoo is building a Wild Utah exhibit focusing on local wildlife so that guests can have a safe and direct experience with the animals.

Zootah: Logan, Utah

Zootah is a stunning zoo with over 40 different species of animals for guests to meet and learn about. From Bald Eagles to Reindeer, this location creates a fantastic environment for guests and animals alike. It’s an organization that emphasizes care for the animals and their habitats. By offering unique educational outreach programs, Zootah enables students to experience exotic animals worldwide right in their backyard!

Utah offers an incredible wealth of ways for guests to experience exotic animals. Whether you’re looking for mammals native to Utah or want to learn about sea creatures from the other side of the world, there is a spot for you! From the interactive exhibits at SeaQuest Layton to the unique tours of the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, there is plenty to experience here. 

Get ready and set out on a memorable family adventure in the Bee Hive state. Check out the SeaQuest Layton website for the BEST animal interactions in Utah. You can book your special exotic animal encounter today!  

Young boy watches fish in aquarium

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