"Be Kind to Animals" Week is winding down, but you can keep on helping animals! If you are hitting the road this summer, please drive right on by zoos, roadside animal displays, and marine theme parks. Places like SeaWorld count on vacationers to keep money flowing in, but buying a ticket means supporting the lifelong confinement of orcas, dolphins, and all other captive animals.
Here are some cruelty-free suggestions:
- If you visit Florida, Key West's Eco-Discovery Center offers interactive displays and walk-through labs, but the animals are swimming freely. Best of all: It's free!
- Also in the Florida Keys, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park encompasses 178 nautical square miles to protect and preserve the only living coral reef in the continental United States. You can swim there with animals—in their home, on their terms.
- The Virtual Dolphin Therapy at the La Quinta Healing Arts Center in California recreates an underwater sanctuary with a multimedia mix of dolphin vocalizations, a screen showing frolicking dolphins, and a vibrating sound-wave table.
- North America's only natural freshwater "aquarium" is located in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. Fluvarium provides panoramic glimpses into a real diverted brook where fish swim freely in and out of the viewing areas, which include deep and shallow ponds and a fast-flowing "riffle" where the fish spawn in the fall.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor