Virtual travel experiences – who knew this would become a thing in 2020.
But at a time when real travel is next to impossible and we’re spending most of our time at home, these virtual experiences mean everything.
That’s why, on a recent morning, Z and I spent an hour visiting with baby sloths and toucans at the wonderful nonprofit Toucan Rescue Ranch in Costa Rica.
This was our second adventure with Amazon Explore. I wasn’t planning on doing another one so soon after our Taiwan expedition, but Amazon sent me a 30% off coupon after our first virtual experience, so I couldn’t resist (and now, as I write this, they’re tempting me with a 50% off Black Friday deal!)
I knew that our second adventure had to be something animal-related and the Toucan Rescue Ranch was a perfect choice. I highly recommend this Amazon Explore experience for any families with kids!
Our guide was Daniel, a biologist at the Ranch who was friendly, knowledgeable and fun. He did a great job asking Zoe questions and really keeping her engaged – he also got her to ask him questions about the animals so we learned a ton.
Our tour started in the clinic, where we met birds and animals who were being cared for because of injuries. We met several sloths, including a mama and baby. The mom sloth is not able to be returned to the wild, but the baby will be released once he is old enough. We actually got to see the baby sloth nurse, which was both sweet and fascinating!
Then, Daniel took us outside to explore the grounds of Toucan Rescue Ranch. There, we met many different types of toucans and their smaller varieties, the toucanets. I had no idea there were so many different types of these colorful birds – or that their call sounds a lot like a little frog croaking repeatedly!
Our favorite animal of the day was a tiny, orphaned baby sloth who is being raised at the sanctuary and will be released into the wild when she is old enough. At one point, we asked Daniel to put his hand next to the baby sloth so we could see how tiny she truly is. She was smaller than his hand and so utterly adorable!
Apparently, it is quite common for mama sloths to have twins and then abandon one of the babies to give the other baby a better chance at survival. Thankfully, a good Samaritan brought this orphaned baby to the Toucan Rescue Ranch so they could take care of her until she is ready to be re-wilded!
The mission of the Toucan Rescue Ranch is to rehabilitate each animal and release them to the wild. They only keep animals and birds which, due to illness or injury, would not be able to survive on their own in nature. For this reason, they do not touch or handle the animals unless needed for veterinary care.
Although the ranch is normally open to the public so they can make money from ticket sales, they had to close down for many months due to COVID. Therefore, the funds from virtual tours make a big difference for the important work they do rescuing, caring for and releasing Costa Rica’s beautiful native animals and birds.
Zoe and I both felt like we had spent the morning in Costa Rica and loved getting to know our guide and the amazing creatures he shared with us. We highly recommend this Amazon Explore tour for any fellow animal lovers!