For those of us with this intense fascination with sloths, few experiences can compare with actually seeing one in real life. Ideally, we would be able to see them in the wild (see our article: Where Can You See a Sloth in the WIld?). However, we can’t get away to Costa Rica or Brazil very often. So, what are our options in the U.S.?
First of all, we have a similar article which is focused primarily on south encounters with up-close-and-personal experiences: Where can I hold a Sloth? Sloths in North America. We recognize that holding sloths might not be the best experience for sloths. We also know that some zoos that have sloths do not always have the sloths best interests in mind. Those are all things that we have taken account in this list.
So, let’s take a look at the list of 5 best places to see sloths in the US.
Located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, this zoo has a special sloth experience. The overall zoo is one of the most well-regarded experiences for animal lovers in the Deep South. Here is a review from a visitor:
“It is the most awesome experience if you are a sloth lover (like myself). But you will need to book this experience VERY EARLY as it only happens 2 days a week for a couple hours. You can always view the sloths, just not hold them. Everyone who works there really loves their job and are always helpful when you have any questions about the animals. Make sure if you are in Hattiesburg or the surrounding area you go to this great zoo!”
The Hattiesburg Zoo is also nice enough to provide us with a live feed of a camera that is monitoring their sloths. So, at anytime you want you can take a look:
2. Wild Florida Airboats - VIP Sloth Experience
Florida’s warm climate is ideal for sloths and for the type of trees that sloths like to live in, so it’s no surprise that one of the most amazing sloth-holding experiences is in that state. Wild Florida Airboats has a Gator Park, which has not only alligators, but many other animals, including our favorite rainforest lazeabouts. For a price of $225 anyone 8 years old or older can feed, interact AND HOLD sloths. You can make reservations with Wild Florida Airboats for the VIP Sloth Experience on their website.
Wild Florida Airboats has a 5-star rating on TripAdvisor based on over 2500 reviews, so it is a safe bet not only for sloth lovers, but for a whole family looking for a wildlife adventure. This park is located in Kenasville, Florida. The closest airport is in Orlando, but you would still need to drive to get there.
3. Louisville Zoo
The Louisville Zoo (in Louisville, Kentucky) is the home of two Linnaeus’s two-toed sloths. One is a male named Sebastian that is one year old. The other is an older female named Sunni. They have a special reproduced South American habitat at the zoo. Not only can you see them there, but you can also ‘meet’ them in a special encounter with the sloths and their caretaker who will educate visitors about sloths.
4. Safari Adventures
Florida has another recommendable option for holding a sloth in Miami called Safari Edventures (education + adventure, get it? :) ) Even in a place like Miami that is full of fun, this attraction is one of the top rated things to do in Miami, according to TripAdvisor.
Sloths are just one of many animals at Safari Edventure, but you do get to hold them! Another interesting thing about this park is that it is a non-profit and most of the animals (according to their website, and we’re not sure about the sloths) are rescued animals.
5. The Houston Zoo
The Houston Zoo boasts the Sloth Encounter at their park. This is an up-close experience with our lazy forest friends. The zoo has an elaborate recreation of a sloths habitat where you are led on a tour by experts. There is also a special setup that allows you to get very close to the sloths.
Although there are some restrictions, this is a highly rated experience. The lack of holding is said to be for the safety of the sloths and for the humans. We suppose we should respect that and still give this place a try.
You can get to know the sloth at the Houston Zoo in this video:
There are lots of different sloth exhibits out there, and these are just the ones we know are worth it. Please contact us if you know of any others.