Top 10 Family Holidays for Wildlife

Whales of Southern California

Where? California
Why? Learn how to identify grey whales and gather information that’s crucial to their conservation. work with scientists to examine how human impacts, such as shipping and pollution, are affecting marine mammal populations along the coast. You’ll stay in a waterfront townhouse in the mainland town of Huntington Beach.
Contact Earthwatch

Darwin's Enchanted Isles
Where? Ecuador
Why? A train journey beneath Cotopaxi, the world’s highest and continuously active volcano; an opportunity to straddle the equator, jumping from one hemisphere to the other, plus a Galápagos cruise that gets you up-close and personal with prehistoric-looking iguanas, playful sea lions and the wacky courtship dance of the blue-footed booby. Ecuador isn’t exactly a cheap option for a family holiday (particularly once you’ve splashed out on the cruise), but few countries can match it for jaw-dropping scenery, vibrant culture and intimate wildlife encounters.

Contact Journey Latin America

Nature’s Trail

Where? Costa Rica
Why? Paddle a canoe through the jungle canals of Tortuguero National Park searching for sloths and poison-dart frogs. Watch turtles laying their eggs on wild Atlantic beaches and hike through the cloudforest of Monteverde Reserve on a quest for the elusive quetzal.

Contact Journey Latin America

Elsa’s Kopje
Where? Meru National Park, Kenya

Why? The Private House at Elsa’s Kopje has its own swimming pool and family room. Children of all ages are welcome and under 5s stay free. Activities range from game drives to fishing, but the highlight is a visit to the Rhino Sanctuary.

Contact Elsa's Kopje

Pandas & Pagodas 
Where? China
Why? This Chinese odyssey not only takes in the country’s cultural highlights, but also includes a visit to the giant panda breeding and research centre at Chengdu. Families will be able to learn about the project and – the big plus for kids – help feed baby giant pandas.
Contact Cox & Kings

Polar Bear Weekend
Where? Churchill, Canada
Why? Churchill is transformed into the world’s polar bear capital every October and November when these magnificent ‘ice bears’ gather on the tundra, waiting for the sea in Hudson Bay to freeze before they set off to hunt seals. Giant-wheeled tundra buggies provide the perfect (and safe) vantage for watching the polar bears in their natural habitat (and they’re great fun to ride in too).
Contact Discover the World

Temples & Wildlife
Where? Northern India
Why? The highlight of this nine-day family tour is a visit to Panna Tiger Reserve which supports a healthy population of Bengal tigers. Keoladeo Ghana National Park provides a chance to tick off dozens of bird species, while a visit to the Taj Mahal adds a slice of exotic culture.
Contact Naturetrek

Thonga Beach Lodge
Where? Maputaland, South Africa

Why? Join nocturnal walks along the shores of Mabibi Bay to record the nests of endangered leatherback and loggerhead turtles, snorkel on the stunning offshore coral reef, canoe on Lake Sibaya and spot monkeys and birds in the lush coastal forest. 

Contact Cedarberg Travel

Bears & Wolves
Where? Slovakia
Why? The Carpathian Mountains are home to some of Europe’s rarest wildlife, including bears, wolves and lynxes. Suitable for children aged seven and over, this week-long adventure provides an exciting opportunity to observe them in their forest stronghold – either by staking out a hide or tracking them with an experienced guide.
Contact Families Worldwide

Headhunters of Borneo
Where? Sabah, Malaysia
Why? The Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve in Sabah provides a lifeline to orang-utans that have been orphaned through deforestation or hunting. Boardwalks thread through the sanctuary to special feeding stations that provide intimate views of these endearing primates – just one of the highlights on this 12-day family adventure.
Contact The Adventure Company


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>> Family Holidays in Kenya

>> Family Holidays in Costa Rica

>> Family Holidays in Ecuador

Good for your children, good for the planet... the two organisations below are renowned not only for their superb family holiday experiences, but also for taking environmental matters seriously.

&Beyond may be renowned for luxurious safari camps and lodges, but that doesn’t mean kids are taboo. In fact, several of their properties, including Madikwe Safari Lodge in South Africa and Kichwa Tembo in Kenya, offer special environmental programmes for children. Activities can range from pooh walks and bug collecting to fishing and bark-rubbing. Best of all, kids receive an eco-guide packed with quizzes and activities. Compete all the challenges and your ranger and tracker will sign a special certificate stating that you’ve graduated as a Planet Manager.

The US National Park Service operates the Junior Ranger Program. In Yellowstone National Park, for example, this involves children up to 12 years of age attending a ranger-led program, hiking on a park trail and completing activities on various park resources and issues, such as geothermal geology, park wildlife and fire ecology. Badges and certificates await successful graduates.