Are you a solo traveler with a love for animals? Visiting animal sanctuaries and zoos can be a unique and fulfilling experience, but it can be intimidating to go alone. Fear not! We’ve compiled a list of tips to help you meet people and make new friends while getting up close and personal with your favorite furry (or not so furry) creatures.
1. Check Social Media
Social media can be a great way to connect with locals and other animal lovers in the area. Before your visit, check for groups and pages dedicated to animal sanctuaries and zoos. Joining these groups can provide an opportunity to connect with other people who share the same interests and possibly even find someone to show you around the sanctuary or zoo. Posting in these groups about your visit can also lead to meeting other visitors during your trip.
2. Take a Guided Tour
If you want to learn more about the sanctuary or zoo and meet new people, taking a guided tour is a great option. You’ll be able to tour the facility with other like-minded individuals and will have plenty of opportunities to strike up a conversation with your tour group. Guided tours are often led by knowledgeable staff members or volunteers who can offer additional insight into the animals and their care.
3. Attend a Talk or Presentation
Many animal sanctuaries and zoos offer talks and presentations on various topics such as animal behavior, care, and conservation efforts. Attending one of these events can provide a unique opportunity to meet like-minded individuals and engage in interesting conversations. You may find that others in attendance are just as passionate about animal welfare as you are, making it easy to form new connections.
4. Volunteer Your Time
Volunteering at an animal sanctuary or zoo is not only a fulfilling experience that allows you to contribute to a good cause, but it can also be a great way to meet new people. You’ll be working alongside other volunteers and staff members, and can build lasting relationships while working towards a common goal. Volunteering your time can also provide access to areas of the sanctuary or zoo that the general public may not have access to, leading to unique and special experiences.
5. Participate in a Group Activity
Many animal sanctuaries and zoos offer group activities such as painting classes, yoga sessions, or even wildlife photography workshops. Participating in one of these activities can provide a fun and relaxed environment to meet new people with similar interests. These activities often attract a diverse group of individuals with varying backgrounds and levels of experience, leading to interesting and engaging conversations.
6. Strike Up a Conversation with Staff
If group activities or volunteering aren’t your thing, striking up a conversation with a staff member can be a great way to get insider tips or find out about upcoming events. Many staff members are passionate about the animals and may be happy to share their knowledge and experiences with visitors. You could learn about unique animal behaviors or the backstories of certain animals, while also making a new friend.
7. Share Your Photos on Social Media
Posting photos of your visit on social media can also be a great way to connect with other animal lovers. Use hashtags and geotags to let others know your location and interests, and who knows, you may just get a message from someone in the area. This is also a great opportunity to share your experiences with friends and family who may not be able to visit the sanctuary or zoo.
8. Attend Special Events
Animal sanctuaries and zoos often host special events such as fundraisers, anniversary celebrations, or holiday events. These events often attract a diverse group of people with wide interests, making it a great opportunity to meet new people. Besides making new friends, attending these events can also provide a unique and memorable experience.
9. Offer to Take Photos for Others
Offering to take a photo for a fellow visitor can start a conversation and possibly lead to developing a friendship. It’s a small gesture that can go a long way in making a connection. Plus, you’ll be helping a fellow animal lover capture a special moment during their visit.
10. Ask for Recommendations
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations from fellow visitors, staff members or even locals. They may know of other animal sanctuaries or zoos in the area that are worth visiting, or have suggestions for other social activities. This can also open up the conversation for talking about your interests, while also getting further insight into the local community.