At Our Whole Village, we plan meaningful vacations for families who want to create lifelong memories and show their kids the world in a more conscious and intentional manner.
We help families take meaningful vacations so that they can escape everyday life, show their kids the world and make lifelong memories - with care, confidence and peace of mind.
Your (free) guide to the top travel destinations for families with babies, teens and everyone in between.
One of our favorite quotes comes from Chief Seattle, “We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” This sentiment informs everything from Our Whole Village’s approach to sustainable travel to the destinations we visit with our own children. But there’s more to protecting the planet than reusable grocery bags and recycling bottles.
We must leave our world better than we found it, setting an example for our children along the way. Moreover, successful nature conservation requires doing everything possible to instill in our children a deep and abiding appreciation for this big, beautiful world. How do you spark this passion? Through family travel! Here’s our guide to the world’s seven most jaw-dropping destinations for wildlife lovers.
Whether you visit the frontiers of South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, or Botswana, it’s hard to beat the fantastic array of wildlife you’ll see on an African safari with kids. Many people focus on seeing the Big Five:
But that’s not the be-all, end-all when it comes to the animals and natural landscapes accessible to your family on the African continent. South Africa’s coast is an excellent viewing location for killer whales, Southern right whales, Great white sharks, and the penguins of Simon’s Town. Add spectacular animals like cheetahs and wild dogs to the mix in Kenya and Botswana. And that’s just the beginning!
Measuring a whopping 3.3 million square miles, Brazil is 15 times larger than France and slightly larger than America’s lower 48! So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that its natural areas are diverse and plentiful. They include Brazil’s Pantanal, the largest wetland region on the planet. Because of the lack of trees, the Pantanal is ideal for scoping out wildlife.
What can you expect to see on a family vacation? Everything from elusive leopards to brightly-hued parrots, mischievous giant river otters to adorable capybaras and toothy caimans. There are many ways to visit these wetlands, including riverboat tours, horseback riding expeditions, and overnight stays on floating cruise boats. You’ll also find opportunities to head out on day or night land safari tours, snorkeling expeditions in the Aquário Natural, and even piranha fishing adventures.
If Costa Rica sits at the top of your family’s travel list for wildlife watching, you’re off to a great start! After all, it’s hard not to see animals everywhere. But, of course, some regions of the nation are especially well known for access to nature at its most pristine. For example, Corcovado National Park’s Osa Peninsula contains roughly 463 bird species and 140 mammal species!
Along the South Pacific Coast in Marino Ballena National Park, marine life abounds, from dolphins to humpback whales and much more. Beaches in the area are enveloped by verdant rainforests where iguanas, toucans, sloths, and monkeys make their homes.
In the Monteverde Cloud Forest, explore Costa Rica’s central highlands while looking for orchids, hummingbirds, two-toed sloths, and the elusive Quetzal. Or head to Manuel Antonio National Park, where 109 mammal species and 184 bird species live, including coatis and tree frogs. Check out this sample itinerary for fun in Costa Rica with kids.
Mexico’s Baja Peninsula is almost as expansive as the West Coast of the United States, and it remains one of the great family vacation destinations with good reason. Not only is the food spectacular and its many sunny, sandy beaches perfect for kid-friendly fun, but it’s also a gateway to experiencing an abundance of marine and terrestrial wildlife.
Which kinds of animals can you expect to see on a tour of Baja’s landscapes and oceanscapes? They include:
Nature-inspired activities include snorkeling with whale sharks, the gentle giants of Baja’s Sea of Cortez. There are countless whale-watching tours where your family can see gray whales in the wild. And in Todos Santos, lend a hand at a sea turtle hatchery and rescue center. Check out our Mexico Family Vacation in Baja for fantastic ways to fill your family travel itinerary.
Thailand is renowned for its lush jungles, emerald-hued pastures, and gorgeous beaches. Different ecosystems provide a haven for varied wildlife, which comprise 10 percent of the animals on the planet. There are 285 mammal species, which include:
Of course, the stars of the jungle parade remain elephants. Despite their massive size, they can prove highly elusive in natural settings. But you can get up close and personal with them at the Patara Elephant Farm near Chiang Mai. This sanctuary places a premium on protecting and preserving wild populations. It also spearheads a reproductive management program designed to ensure Asian elephant populations will not only survive but thrive heading into the future.
Patara hosts an “Elephant Owner for a Day” program that permits families a hands-on pachyderm experience. You and your kids will feed your elephant, bathe it, check its vital signs, learn how to communicate with it, and ride it. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that will ensure your children gain a profound understanding and respect for these beautiful creatures. Our Thailand & Cambodia Family Adventure lets your family explore the Patara Elephant Farm and much more.
One of Patagonia’s most dynamic cities is Puerto Madryn, and just 31 miles from Puerto Madryn sits the Península de Valdés. This natural sanctuary is known for its diverse marine animals, including:
The region also provides access to a wide range of bird species year-round, as well as choiques (leggy relatives of the ostrich), gray wolves, hares, feather-crested martinetas, and graceful guanacos. Penguins and whales remain the stars for many visitors to Argentine Patagonia. But you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled so that you don’t miss out on other unique local critters roaming this corner of the planet. Check out our Patagonia Family Vacation for more exciting, nature-inspired activities for the whole family.
Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands are renowned for their unique ecologies, many of which are protected within the Galapagos National Park. On Seymour Island, head out on an easy hike offering views of frigate birds and blue-footed boobies. Then, off the coast of Las Bachas Island, snorkel sparkling turquoise waters while checking out manta rays, sea turtles, sea lions, white-tipped sharks, and a vibrant collection of colorful fish.
Other incredible ways to explore wildlife in the Galapagos include a visit to Tortuga Bay, which boasts one of the most breathtaking beaches in Santa Cruz. At Playa Brava, enjoy expansive white sand beaches and plenty of surf-worthy waves. Or, if you’re looking for a more tranquil spot, check out Playa Mansa, celebrated for its incredible beauty and opportunities for kayaking and swimming.
When it comes to the best destinations for wildlife lovers, your family has plenty of excellent options. Whether you’re longing to swim with whale sharks off Baja Mexico, explore the cloud forests and rainforests of Costa Rica, or see penguins and guanacos in Patagonia, we can help you plan the perfect family vacation. Along the way, savor unforgettable sights, explore pristine wilderness, and teach your children hands-on ecology lessons.
Are you ready to start planning an outdoor adventure with kids? Let’s chat about your family’s next vacation and how to pack it with exhilarating wildlife-oriented activities.
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