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


Have you any green ideas, insights, experiences of your own to add or share?