Nurtured by Nature Experience

Y’all. I need you to stop what you’re doing and listen.

Friday, September 2, 2016 was THE. BEST. DAY. OF. MY. LIFE!!!!!!

I mean look, our wedding was also fantastic, but let me explain… There’s this place called Nurtured by Nature and it’s way out in Valley Center, CA through winding roads and lots of mountains. It’s the best place to go in California. I have decided. This is it.

Nurtured by Nature is a non-profit organization that provides amazing animal encounters for kids with life threatening and terminal illnesses. That means that every person (like me) paying for an encounter is also helping provide the same experience to a child in need and his or her family. That in itself is super awesome. They also help animals (duh) through their breeding conservation program and taking in surplus animals from zoos and rescue animals from research facilities. Basically, they’re awesome.

So for my Christmas present in 2016, the husband got me an animal experience and otter swim at Nurtured by Nature. I’m sorry. Did everyone get that? Because you should be squeeing at the top of your lungs right now. I said OTTER SWIM!! I’m obsessed with otters by the way. Like, obsessed. Like here’s my birthday present from two years ago…

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Yes, yes that is an otter necklace. Also, what my dad got me last time we went to the zoo…

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Because they had to drag me away from the otter exhibit because the zoo was closing… Plus, when I was a kid I had an otter Beanie Baby named Seaweed who shared my birthday. Point being, me and otters are best friends.

So when we went to Nurtured by Nature, we knew we would be swimming with otters and hanging out with a variety of other animals. What I didn’t know is that they also had 8-week-old baby otters there and we would be starting our day by snuggling them. … … … Y’all, honestly, I nearly died right there. I just don’t know how I managed to survive so much cute in one sitting. Below is a video of us playing with the sweetest, softest baby otters ever!

Gahhhh so cute!!! After that, we were able to feed and play with some other cool animals including a serval, a couple of pakas (named Inigo Montoya and Wesley because they look like R.O.U.S.’s), a sloth, some lemurs, kangaroos and the cuddliest porcupine you could ever hope to meet. Such a blast getting to see so many different types of animals up close and personal! Side note, I’m pretty sure servals, as a whole, don’t like me. Believe it or not, this was not my first time meeting a serval. Flashback to when I learned you don’t pet a serval, a serval pets you…

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This time around, when it was my turn to pet the serval, it ignored the treat it was being given and looked right at me when I was trying to pet it as if to say, “Didn’t we teach you this?!? I will pet YOU, subservient human!!” But really, they’re awesome and super athletic. SO, below is a video of all our other animal encounters that day!

And now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the otter swim!! I cannot express how absolutely amazing this was. I had the time of my life. Seriously. On our way home that day, the husband mentioned we were driving through Anaheim and asked if I wanted to go to Disneyland and I said NO because DISNEYLAND WOULD BE A LET-DOWN! If you know me, you understand how big of a statement that is. After such an incredible day at Nurtured by Nature, Disneyland would be a disappointment.

About the video… We bought a GoPro just for the occasion and were so glad we did. All told, we have like 45 minutes of footage from the hour long swim, but I’ve cut it down to some of my favorite highlights. Enjoy the video!

Woo! So there you have it! I hope you were able to survive viewing all the cuteness. I barely made it. Annnnd now I’m sure you’re also wondering how you can have the best day of your life, too! I’m sorry to say that you will be waiting quite some time. Nurtured by Nature is all booked up through 2017!! We just managed to squeeze in. Be on the look out for their 2018 calendar!!! There’s no waiting list for the 2018 dates, but click here to read more about the waiting list for their alternative otter experience. Now go be an otter ambassador!! Woooohoooooo!!!!

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