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Travel Tip: Wildlife Encounters Close to Home

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You don’t have to travel far to see wildlife up close.

In fact, there may be some surprising wildlife experiences close to your own backyard.

If a safari is on your bucket list, you only have to head as far as Sonoma, California, where Safari West is home to 600 exotic animals. And these aren’t caged animals–we’re talking zebras and giraffes roaming freely while you tour the grounds in a safari Jeep.

Or check out the National Wildlife Federation’s online Nature Finder tool, which identifies all the wildlife preserves, nature centers and other protected areas around the country.

Say you’re headed to Florida’s Space Coast. Using the online finder, you’ll track down the nearby Merritt Island National Wildlife Refugee, home to 500 species of wildlife.

And then, of course, there some unexpected places to view wildlife, like the JW Marriott in California’s Desert Springs. The 450-acre grounds have become the home of dozens of exotic birds like cockatoos and parrots, and is on the migration path of other feathered friends every year.

Hey, even birds need a vacation too.

Get more ideas in our Eco-Travel section.

Check out the Travel Tips section for more helpful hints.