Barn Hill Preserve lets you swim with tiny otters and hang with sloths, among many other adventures
If you’re stressed out from running around after kids, going to work work, doing laundry, and the general pain-in-the-assness of everyday life and are thinking to yourself, “You know what would make me feel more relaxed? Swimming with Asian small-clawed otters,” have we got the place for you.
At Barn Hill Preserve in Ethel, Louisiana, you and three others can take an hour-long swim with these little bundles of adorableness. They’re like regular otters, but wee. In fact, the small-clawed otter is the smallest otter species in the entire world, making it impossible to look at a picture of them and not have your head explode from the pure cuteness of it all.
LOOK AT HER.
The otter swim includes a preserve tour, up-close interactions with their animal ambassadors (think kangaroos, pythons, armadillos, and lynx), and time in the water with the otters. To swim, you need to be 16 years or older and the entire experience lasts around three hours. According to their site, the average time otters swim in the pool is 35 minutes “so that this remains a very positive experience for them.”
But wait, there’s more.
Barn Hill also offers guests the opportunity to lounge around with their sloths, petting them and doing All Of The Activities you’d normally do if you had an afternoon to spend with an exotic animal — but slower.
The preserve has been open for seven years and spends a majority of its time educating the community about conservation and animal rescue, and allows kids to get up close and personal with animals they might never have seen before. “We’ve been offering otter swims for three years and sloth encounters for five years,” Barn Hill tells Scary Mommy. “We see upwards of 20 thousand people a year and over one million students with our outreach program that visits schools.” What’s more, its animal education program is 100 percent free of charge for schools and students.
“We fund our free program by providing students the opportunity to purchase pictures with our live animal ambassadors,” Barn Hill said. “These 6×4 photos are $10 each and are taken on our jungle-themed backdrop.”
The otter swim and tour costs $154 per person and the encounter with the sloths (or any of their other amazing animals) is $44 for adults and $38 for kids (toddlers under two years of age are free). I personally can’t think of a better way to spend the day. Booking a flight to Ethel, Louisiana stat.