Utah Valley has some amazing places you can go to experience animals firsthand and we're not just talking cats and dogs either! Here in the valley, you can rent a llama, do yoga with goats, play with foxes, ride ponies, and so much more! Here are our 8 favorite places to have some fun with cute little (and not so little) creatures!
1. Wild Wonders
Let's just start with the BEST one, and that's this hidden gem, which offers a truly unforgettable experience! Did you know there are ringtails, giant tortoises, emus, and kinkajous in Utah Valley?? At Wild Wonders, you can see those exotic animals and many other wild animals.
When we visited, we fed two raccoons, went inside fox cages and played with them, held a skunk, and pet a snake! We also fed a kinkajou (a cute little furry critter with huge eyes) as it perched on our shoulders and wrapped its tail around our heads. Wild Wonders has site visits (by appointment only), but they also come out to where you are, whether it's for a party or for educational purposes.
Clint’s Reptile Parties gives an extra dimension of fun and education to your animal encounter and is catered for all ages. Clint’s Reptile Room has a diverse assortment of reptiles and an extremely fun and highly informative, hands-on presentation. Presentations last about one hour with plenty of time to interact, hold and pet all the animals.
They let you take all the photographs you would like, free of charge! With even more animals, and opportunities to interact with and even feed our friendly critters. Located in historic downtown Springville. 284 So. Main St. Springville, Utah. This incredibly unique and beautiful space is the perfect place to learn and interact with some incredible species!
From April to October, head down to Spanish Fork at the Krishna Temple to pick up a llama for the day (or week)! Yes, you can do more than just visit them, you can RENT them! These sturdy animals are great companions when you want to go for a long hike or go camping--especially because they won't mind carrying your stuff! They also make great company and are so fun to be around!
If you're not looking to do anything outdoorsy with them, just have them at your next birthday party where you and your family or friends can play with them! The llama farm is also a treat to visit, where you can pet them, feed them, and see other animals, like miniature zebu cows and parrots.
4. Farm Country
This adorable barn at Thanksgiving Point is such a fun place to take kids! They will love petting the goats, cows, ponies, sheep, and pigs! Farm Country has frequent events that make interacting with the animals even more fun. You can milk cows, ride ponies, and go on a horse-led wagon ride!
While there, you may even see unusual animals, such as peacocks and alpacas. If you go during the spring, be on the lookout for all the baby animals, and you may even get the experience of holding adorable little furry baby chicks or bunnies. This is a really fun place to have birthday parties or to just take your family to learn about life on the farm.
If you never thought butterflies could be adorable, you were wrong! One trip to the Butterfly Biosphere at Thanksgiving Point will change you mind as you wander around a warm, tropical room filled with butterflies! These delicate creatures may be shy at first, but once you look hard enough you will find more than you can count!
There are hundreds of species from all over the world, including Costa Rica and parts of Africa! Some are large and easy to spot, while others are camouflaged and require closer inspection to discover. Also, keep your eyes peeled for a turtle and some koi fish when you visit!
At Sundance Mountain Resort, you can go on a guided horseback riding tour! Horses are majestic creatures and the ones at Sundance are beautiful and well-trained, putting any beginning rider at ease! There is no better way to enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery and the meandering trails.
Each guided tour is either private or with no more than six people in a group, so you won't feel crowded and can enjoy one-on-one bonding time with your horse. There are several options for riding, including Elk Meadows, which is perfect for children and first-timers, Stewart Falls, which is the most popular ride with a stop at a waterfall, and yoga and horseback riding combo (but don't worry, the horses won't jump on your back, like the goats at GOGA).
Cuddles Cat Lounge, located in American Fork is one of the most affordable animal encounters in Utah Valley! Starting at only $5, you can spend your afternoon cuddling with cats. Some fun activities that they host include yoga with cats, movie nights with cats, and annual free entry days. On top of all the fun cat experiences they provide, they also work with local animal shelters to rescue, spay, neuter and find new homes for these adorable creatures. If you meet a cat that you adore and want to take it home, they have discounted adoptions available as well.
There are hikes all over Utah Valley where you can find all sorts of wildlife! Some that are commonly spotted are deer, squirrels, and various types of birds. If you venture out on a night hike, you may come across raccoons, foxes, coyotes, bats, owls, or opossums. If you go way up into the mountains, keep your eyes peeled for mountain goats (especially on Mount Timpanogos) and moose!
Hiking near a river is sure to give you plenty of glimpses of fish, and maybe even beavers and frogs. And then of course, if you go really far into the wilderness, back-country, isolated solitude, you may come across a cougar or a bear!
This experience with animals is more of a two-in-one experience! The BYU Botany Pond is a great place to see an abundance of ducks! The feathery friends are usually either in pairs or in the springtime they are grouped together in families with adorable little baby ducklings, walking in a row behind their mother.
Each of these experiences offers something truly incredible for people of all ages--all it takes is warming up to a new animal that can become your quick friend, so go and experience the adorable side of Utah Valley!