Ever wonder what it’s like to have an otter up your shirt?
Up in the mountains about three hours south of Los Angeles, there’s an organization called Nurtured by Nature. As their name suggests, they work with both the public and Make-a-Wish to offer one of the coolest and most unique nature experiences you’ll ever have in your life: meeting and hanging out with several different animals up close and personal, and… swimming with Asian small-clawed otters.
Yes, swimming with otters.
As part of the encounter, you get a tour of their facility and a chance to meet the amazing animals under their care (sloth, kangaroo, armadillo, lemurs and more!). Then there’s “floor time” with the otters in a comfortable, enclosed space, and of course, the forty-five to sixty minute long swim, where you’re in a heated pool with several small otters, each with the energy of twenty children who just ate a bucket of candy. It’s during floor time that they’ll explain to you about “cracks and crevices.” The otters like to put their paws in every crack and crevice they can find. Like the ones seen here:
The people who run the organization are phenomenal. They’ve rescued most of the animals and have provided an opportunity for people to come experience wildlife in a hands-on manner you won’t get most other places. Their work with the Make-a-Wish foundation is also wonderful. You can read a great deal about them on their website at nurturedbynature.org.
We took our iPhones in waterproof cases and a GoPro with us so we could shoot this video about the experience:
I know the video speaks for itself, but I want to add that there really is no substitute in life for being hands-on with nature. When you touch these creatures, see them up close, and look in their eyes, it can be life-changing. I’ve always wished more people would connect with nature, as it’s the very life blood of our planet. If you want an unforgettable nature experience in California, this is one you should highly consider.
It is an expensive adventure (at the time of writing this, $550 per person), but trust me, it’s well worth it!
Moonbird’s Helpful Info:
Name: Nurtured by Nature
Location: Valley Center, CA 92082
Google Maps: Click here
Hours: By reservation only
Cost: Approximately $550 per person
Best time to visit: Anytime, but Winter months are colder.
North America’s Seasons are: Spring: March, April and May, Summer: June, July and August, Autumn: September, October and November, and Winter: December, January and February.