If you love animals and want to get up close and personal with as many of them as possible, you’ll love the fact that Barn Hill Preserve in Ethel, Louisiana not only allows you to see tiny otters but swim with them too.
It’s a three-hour experience. It includes not only a guided tour around the facility but you get to meet the animal ambassadors AND a swim with the Asian small-Clawed Otters at the reserve. In total, the otter swim portion of the experience is about an hour long, with 35 minutes in the water with the otters.
No, you can’t hold them. According to the Barn Hill Preserve website, you can’t hold or even touch the otters. They’re there to swim and you’re there to see them, and that’s it. “While in the pool, you are an observer,” the site says. “We do not allow the otters to be restrained, both for the safety of you and our otters.”
It’s a little expensive but so worth it. The tours are $154 per person and up to four people can go together, so you can make it a girls trip, go with your partner, or even take a parent or sibling. Basically, anyone who loves animals would love this experience.
You can only go on the weekends and only by important. The reserve really wants to make sure the otters have a positive experience and aren’t too overwhelmed, so otter swims are limited and must be reserved in advance. You can do so via phone or email via the Barn Hill Preserve website.
That’s not all you can do at the facility. You can also go on guided encounters where you see “dromedary camels, eurasian lynx, free-flying macaws, servals, eagle owls, and much more.” Since the preserve is located on over seven acres of land, they recommend you wear comfortable footwear and clothing that’s appropriate for the often hot and humid weather. They’re $44 per adult, so a bit more cost-effective if the otter swim is out of your price range.
They even have a macaw rescue. Barn Hill “is committed to offering a home to free-flying Macaws that can no longer be cared for by their owners.” Because of that, the reserve offers a home for the birds that others find hard to look after because they make very difficult pets.
If you’re in Louisiana, get yourself to Barn Hill. It seems like an amazing place that I don’t just want to visit, I want to move there. It looks amazing! If you love animals and want to support a place that cares for them, Barn Hill is an amazing trip to take.
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