Camels, Bears, and Elephants – Oh My! These and Other Animal Festivals to Vacation By!

For most Americans, “Festival” is a word that conjures up a whole host of annual galas, banquets, and special events that range from film festivals to jazz festivals – from balloon festivals to food and music festivals – from marathons to parades – from fan conventions to antique and renaissance fairs. But a new breed of ‘green festivals’ has now taken hold of both the American imagination and nature-seeking enthusiasts across the globe – ‘Animal-themed Festivals’ – festivals that celebrate, educate, and offer unique field trip insights and adventures into the world of exotic and endangered species of animals.

So start planning and packing for a new kind of vacation. To help you along the way, let’s see if you can match the place of destination with the type of animal festival in the descriptions below. I’ve narrowed your choices down to just TEN Animal Festivals: a Bird, an Elephant, a Camel, a Penguin, a Platypus, a Moose, a Bat, a Whale, a Bear and a Sea Turtle Festival – and not necessarily in that order.

Now let the festivities begin!

1- Every November In the town of Surin in Thailand, these animals are rounded up and talent competitions are held – followed up by folk dances and other cultural performances. Note: This two day festival celebrates one of the most beloved animals of the Buddhist kingdom.

2- Every October in Simon’s Town in South Africa, the festival begins with the beach release of these rescued animals back into the wild followed by children’s competitions and games, a treasure hunt, environmental shows and displays, and lively music and good food.

3- Every November in the Fraser Valley in southwestern British Columbia in Canada, this multi-weekend festival features the world’s largest gathering of raptors that are attracted by the season’s large supply of spawning salmon traveling upstream alongside gravel bar flats. In addition to animal watching opportunities, the festival includes eco-river tours, walking tours, historic and aboriginal sites, and local artist souvenirs, meals, and cultural entertainment. NAME THIS ANIMAL.

4- For five days, either in late October or November in the tiny desert town of Pushkar in India, a carnival-like atmosphere of villagers, farmers, traders, pilgrims, and livestock converges together to participate in this old style traditional Indian festival. The highlight of this epic spectacle features comical beauty contests of this animal as well as the racing of this animal followed by magicians, musicians, acrobats, snake charmers and peculiar gamesmanship like the “longest moustache” competition. NAME THIS ANIMAL.

5- Every September in the quiet rural township of Gloucester in New South Wales, Australia – the place comes alive with kids’ face paintings, a Tasmanian devil show-and-tell, kayaking sessions, a farmers’ market, interactions with freshwater eels and ‘yabbies’ (a type of crayfish), and a focus on this animal with its own animal spotting workshops. NAME THIS ANIMAL.

6- For four days in October along the east coast of the Yucatan peninsula in the town of Tulum, Mexico, (famously known for its pre-Columbian Mayan ruins), a series of fun activities including live music, sandcastle competitions, kite contests, painting exhibitions, and conservation programs kicks off the celebration of this endangered animal species which loves to nest in this area. NAME THIS ANIMAL.

7- Every mid-September in the world famous Carlsbad Caverns of New Mexico in the United States, a swarm of cave-dwelling animals is celebrated with a weekend of guest lecturers, lantern tours, arts and crafts booths, a sheriff’s posse barbecue, a sunrise balloon launch, and a special pancake breakfast watching these animals return home from their insect-catching midnight marathon. NAME THIS ANIMAL.

8- This six-month long festival held from November to May in honor of this animal’s 3000 mile migration up to Alaska from its winter haven off the island waters of Maui in Hawaii is truly unique! Featured events include celebration cruises, a golf tournament, a paddle board and kayaking event, art exhibitions, free lectures, professionally guided spotting stations, photo safaris, and running and walking events. NAME THIS ANIMAL.

9- Every April this festival is held in the beautiful town of Franklin, known for its antebellum homes and majestic oak trees, located in the heart of St. Mary Parish along the banks of the Bayou Teche in south central Louisiana. The mission of this festival is to increase the awareness of its surrounding citizens of this endangered species of animal. Featured activities include frisky cajun music and home-grown food specialties, educational canoe trips and exhibits, fun-loving puppet and magic shows for children along with a stuffed animals repair clinic and a fireworks display. NAME THIS ANIMAL.

10- Every August in the heavily-forested North Country area of New Hampshire, this three-day extravaganza goes crazy over its most memorable animal resident. Festival goers can enjoy everything from helicopter rides to sidewalk sales, from raffles and square dancing to horse and wagon tours, maple syrup tastings and pie-tasting competitions. There is also a classic auto show and traditional country fair held in this animal’s honor. Best of all is the animal calling contest, cruise parade, and goofy photographers dressed in this animal costume. NAME THIS ANIMAL.

Answers: (1) Elephant (2) Penguin (3) Bird-Bald Eagle (4) Camel (5) Platypus (6) Sea Turtle (7) Bat (8) Humpback Whale (9) Black Bear (10) Moose

Planning Your Next Vacation? How About An Eco-Adventure-Themed Tour with Dinosaur Treasure Hunting for Kids?

Why wait for Halloween – one day of the year – to do something wild and weird? Why not book an eco-adventure tour with a prehistoric theme – dinosaur treasure hunting that is! Indeed this kind of vacation is perfect for active families with younger children for whom standard tours would be less entertaining and harder to accommodate to their growing needs. Better yet, plan it yourself.

It’s easy. Below is a list of dinosaur treasure trivia regarding the best dinosaur-hunting sites in the USA. Select a site and determine the best way to get there. Dependent upon the time of year you wish to go, add your favorite bit of outdoor recreational activity – hiking, biking, canoeing, birding, fishing, skiing, or horseback riding. So what are you waiting for – Tyrannosaurus Rex on snowshoes, perhaps?


1- Whilst vacationing in 1858, which U.S. town and state did Victorian gentleman and fossil hobbyist, William Parker Foulke, discover the world’s first nearly-complete dinosaur skeleton in a local marl pit– known today as “Ground Zero” of Dinosaur Paleontology?

2- In which two neighboring U.S. states is the world-famous “Dinosaur National Monument” located? First discovered in 1909 by a paleontologist working and collecting for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, this well-visited site contains over 1,500 dinosaur fossils still embedded in the cliff face of the quarry.

3- Opened to the public in 1972 and featuring some of the world’s best preserved dinosaur tracks, this unique riverbed at “Dinosaur Valley State Park” can be visited in which U.S. state?

4- In which U.S. state can you find the #1 Dinosaur Museum in the country – located next to active dinosaur dig sites, a world-class preparation laboratory, and a fantastic gift shop?

5- Discovered accidentally in 1966 by a bulldozer operator, “Dinosaur State Park and Arboretum” is located in which U.S. state? Note this natural attraction contains one of the largest dinosaur track sites in North America and holds an annual event each year in August filled with games, films, arts and crafts, and educational programs that allow visitors to create their own track casts.

6- Which U.S. state contains the only source of Early Cretaceous dinosaur fossils along the Eastern seaboard on a stretch of land known as “Dinosaur Alley” – dating back to 115 million years ago?

7- Just last year, in which U.S. state did hikers accidentally stumble onto a two-legged dinosaur track within the “Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area” – an area aptly noted for its 3,000-foot-high sandstone cliffs perched above the Mojave desert?

8- In which U.S. state do fossil hunters continually meet together to share their “prehistoric” adventures along the creeks of the low country looking for ‘megalodon’ teeth – an extinct species of shark that lived 28 million to 1.5 million years ago which had 7 inch size teeth and the most powerful bite of any creature that ever lived?

9- In which western state does “Ghost Ranch” lie – a place associated with both American-born painter Georgia O’Keeffe and an array of great outdoor adventure activities whose large acreage hides a famous paleontological site containing over a thousand well-preserved fossilized Triassic dinosaur skeletons? Once located near the equator over 200 million years ago, this area is now better known for its red rock scenery in Hollywood-produced movies such as “Cowboys and Aliens”, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”, and “No Country for Old Men” .

10- In which U.S. state can one find the internationally renown White River Badlands region – an area that is home to the world’s richest deposit of Oligocene mammals – mammals that existed 34 to 23 million years ago including the remains of fossilized rhinos, horses, and saber-toothed cats. And nearby is the “Black Hills Institute of Geological Research” a private corporation which specializes in the excavation and preparation of fossils and the sale of original fossil material and museum-quality replicas.

Answers:; (1) Haddonfield, New Jersey (2) Colorado and Utah (3) Texas (4) Wyoming (5) Connecticut (6) Maryland (7) Nevada (8) South Carolina (9) New Mexico (10) South Dakota