Happy Planet

5 animal retreats to bring a little more happy into your life

Let's face it - humans are overrated. We all need a little animal therapy now and again, so why not try these animal retreats to feed your animal cuddle fix whilst supporting some awesome causes.

Because animals need just as much love and attention as we do...

Best friends animal sanctuary, United States

Situated in Utah, the Best Friends Sanctuary is home to over 1,500 animals – including dogs, birds, and horses. Most of the animals were rescued after being displaced or abandoned. Visitors are encouraged to get up close and personal with all animals, and you can even stay on-site in a camper van. If you feel you simply can’t part with your new furry BFF’s, worry not – all the animals are up for adoption.

Boon Lott's Elephant Sanctuary, Thailand

Boon Lott’s was founded in memory of an elephant called Boon Lott, who was rescued from an animal tourist show. Alongside that heartwarming story and cause, Boon Lott’s is the home of many elephants in Thailand – and advocates for the ethical treatment of elephants across the country.

Visitors can stay at the sanctuary, and are expected to take care of the gentle giants (don’t worry, that involves hugs and quality time) – numbers are however kept down to ensure the elephants don’t feel stressed.


Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Australia

Contrary to what the name suggests, this koala sanctuary isn’t just home to Koalas. Kangaroos, snakes and other marsupials are also residents in this woodland reserve. If they aren’t sleeping, travellers can cuddle the koalas and handle the other animals, and you’ve been warned: you’ll never want to leave. Once you’ve had a cuddle from a koala, cuddles from other humans just won’t match up…

The Donkey Sanctuary, UK

Unless you have a heart of stone, you’ll agree that donkeys deserve all the love and companionship in the world. The good people at the Donkey Sanctuary in Devon certainly feel that way, which is why they’re aiming to have over 3,000 donkeys in foster care. You’ll soon realise (if you haven’t already) that donkeys make fabulous listeners – and at the sanctuary, you can chat with them to your hearts content.

Dujiangyan Panda Base, China

Adorable white and black balls of fluff and pure joy, staring into the eyes of these beautiful creatures will likely have the same effect as an hour long therapy session. At the Dujiangyan Panda Base you can immerse yourself in the world of the pandas, as visitors can even assist the caretakers in the daily chores – which includes feeding the pandas. If you’re a fan of immersive experiences, this isn’t one to miss.


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