For animal lovers who enjoy experiencing wildlife up close and personal in their natural habitat, visiting a wildlife refuge can be the ultimate travel experience. The best wildlife parks in the world offer the unique opportunity to have unforgettable interactions with endangered animals.

You also can learn about conservation efforts to help protect these important habitats for generations to come. From the jungles of Africa to the forests of South America, there are plenty of fascinating animal refuges around the world worth exploring. Here are eight of the best wildlife parks in the world animal lovers can visit.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda

Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to more than half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. Visitors can join guided tours to track and watch these remarkable primates and other wildlife, such as chimpanzees, elephants and various bird species. The park is also a conservation area for many rare and endangered plant species.

Elephant Nature Park, Thailand

Elephant Nature Park is a sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The park was created as a refuge for elephants that were rescued from stressful and sometimes abusive situations. Visitors can interact with elephants in their natural habitat, observing them as they bathe in the river, play with each other and enjoy the freedom to roam. The park also serves as a rescue center for other animals, including dogs, cats and water buffalo. 

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

The Galapagos Islands are a UNESCO World Heritage Site located 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. The islands have unique animal species. Many can not be found anywhere else in the world. Visitors can snorkel and swim with sea lions and sea turtles, observe the famous Galapagos tortoises and spot a variety of birds such as blue-footed boobies and frigatebirds.

Kanha National Park, India

Kanha National Park in India is an impressive wildlife refuge that provides sanctuary to tigers, leopards, deer and birds. Here, you can embark on a guided safari to explore the park’s lush forests and grasslands. The park is also renowned for its wildlife conservation efforts with successful measures taken to protect the animals from poaching and habitat destruction.

Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

Located on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, Tortuguero National Park is a great place to spot rare wildlife species. Many reptiles, amphibians and tropical mammals, including river otters, manatees and jaguars, call the park home. Take a guided boat tour along the waterways running through the park and get a closer look at the animals.

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Malaysia

The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Malaysia is dedicated to rehabilitating and protecting orphaned or injured orangutans. Visitors can observe the orangutans in their natural habitat, as they learn valuable survival skills before eventually being released back into the wild. The rehabilitation center also houses various primate species and other exotic animals, such as sun bears and tropical birds.

Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Located in southwestern Alaska, Katmai National Park and Preserve is a popular destination for bear watching. The park has one of the largest populations of grizzly bears in the world. They can be seen catching salmon from the river during the annual salmon run. You also can see other wildlife such as moose, wolves and bald eagles.

Tambopata National Reserve, Peru

Tambopata National Reserve in Peru is a vast wildlife refuge located in the Amazon Basin. The reserve is home to over 600 bird species, monkeys, tapirs and jaguars. Tour the reserve to see the animals up close while learning about the delicate balance of the Amazon rainforest ecosystem.