Traveling with children can be a bit tricky, especially when looking for a balance of activities that all family members can enjoy. We have found that animals are certainly one of the things that can bring adults and children together.
Lonely Planet has created a list of five destinations where it is highly encouraged to bring children and help them get in touch with wildlife. The exotic places on this list are more immersive and interactive with animals in their natural habitats... certainly not your average trip to the local zoo!
1. Sepilok, Borneo, Malesia
Admiring elephants, rhinos, lions, giraffes, zebras and cheetahs during an adventurous safari in one of Africa's many national parks is a dream come true for most animal-loving children. A safari then allows the whole family to observe these wild animals within their natural environment rather than enclosed in a zoo cage.
This archipelago, rich in wildlife off the coast of Ecuado, boasts pristine UNESCO World Heritage islands and an extraordinary collection of rare, wild animals. Here reign sea lions, blue-footed gannets, bioluminescent plankton, sea turtles and penguins.
In addition to observing the animals, children can also enjoy snorkeling and diving in the crystal clear waters of the Wolf and Darwin islands, to admire the sharks, or embark on an excursion near the Tagus Bay in search of Galapagos penguins and giant turtles.
4. Isole Cayman
Located in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, the Cayman Islands have long been a popular vacation spot for families. In addition to the beaches, there is also a vast, wild fauna that live both on land and in the sea.
The Cayman Islands are home to one of the most preserved coral reefs in the world, and here you can snorkel with children to admire the vibrant coral heads, multi-colored fish, sea turtles and over one hundred shipwrecks.
On land there are the rare blue iguanas, which can be admired at the Blue Iguana Safari, which implements rehabilitation programs to reintroduce this native population of Grand Cayman into the wild.
5. Lapland, Finland
Lapland, a region of Finland located in the Arctic circle, is famous for hosting the village of Santa Claus. Already the thrill of visiting the homeland of Santa Claus will be exciting for children, but once at this northern destination, they will also be able to observe lynx, gray owls and huge brown bears.
During the summer, you can catch and release the Arctic char and rainbow trout in one of the country's 200,000 lakes and in winter you can hike on husky sleds in the middle of an ocean of snow.
Finland offers the unique opportunity to introduce children to species of wild animals never seen before, with the possibility of observing the breathtaking northern lights during the winter months.