Animals are not entertainment, and they should not be turned into props for profit. Here are 15 hotels and resorts that use animal attractions. While some are worse than others, all use exotic or wild animals to bring in customers and profit at their expense.
Source: National Geographic/Youtube
1. Polar Bear Hotel
Source: South China Morning Post/Youtube
Located in the Northeast China province of Heilongjiang, the Polar Bear Hotel is part of the Harbin Polarland theme park. The bears are the main attraction of this hotel. All rooms have a 24/7 view of the polar bears. It is like a non-stop zoo.
2. Sandos Caracol
Source: Travel Through/YouTube
Located in the Riviera Maya, this resort is known for exploiting animals to bring in tourists. The species they have include raccoons, iguanas, coatis, monkeys, and sereques. There have been accounts of teeth and claws of animals being removed for the safety of the guests. The treatment of their animals is cruel and permanently destroys their lives.
3. Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat
Source: In The Loop/YouTube
One visitor wrote, “The Dolphins look happy enough but the pools are so small it doesn’t look like they get to do much other than the training sessions.” The user continued, “The lions and tigers look malnourished and Ill. The jaguar enclosures (both) are tiny, maybe 6 x 3 metres? They were pacing back and forth and at this point I felt quite sick.”
The user continued about how the staff was lying to the customers. “The staff went on to “educate” the public saying that Dolphins in the wild only live for 12-14 years but here in the resort they can live to 20 years. While that may be true for the captive dolphins. Dolphins in the wild live between 30-50 years. Do not fund this horrible exhibit.”
4. Makanyane Safari Lodge
This resort lodge is located in South Africa and puts lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalo, and leopards on display for their visitors. All the rooms are located in the middle of these animals’ habitats and have giant windows to have a 24/7 chance of seeing one of these exotic animals.
5. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort
Source: Disney Parks/Youtube
Located in Orlando, Florida, the Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort is set up to look like the animals are walking around the resort ‘free.’ In reality, they have been shipped from around the world to roam a space of land in Florida for tourists to gawk at. The resort has 200 animals of 30 different species, including flamingos, zebras, gazelles, and giraffes.
6. Sarova Salt Lick Game Lodge
Source: Salt Lick Safari Lodge/YouTube
Located in Tsavo, Kenya, this hotel on stilts is built above a watering hole. Although the animals are still in the wild, it doesn’t feel right that buildings are in the middle of an important ecosystem for Kenyan wildlife. As natural spaces for wildlife continue to shrink, should we be building in the middle of the small bit of land they have left?
7. Royal Malewane Private Game Lodge
Source: The Royal Portfolio/YouTube
This lodge is in Hoedspruit, South Africa. Elephants are the main attraction here, and they can walk right up to you. They offer guided safaris to their customers and impede on these environments that should only be for these animals. The resort is built right in a place that is supposed to be for wild animals, and it is unacceptable that we continue to think it is ok to take over these areas.
8. Lapa Rios Eco Lodge
Source: Costa Rican Vacations/YouTube
This lodge is located in Costa Rica in the middle of a rainforest reserve. That means that the one place these animals can call home is infiltrated by tourists and man-made buildings. Macaws, sloths, monkeys, and toucans are all animals subjected to tourists there.
9. The Flamingo Resort
Source: Gentle Gypsy/YouTube
This resort is located in Las Vegas. It’s home to The Flamingo Wildlife Habitat and has turned the resort into a hub of exploitation for Chilean flamingos, along with ducks, turtles, ibis, swam, and other animals.
One visitor wrote, “The animal exhibit in my opinion is dirty water [that] does not look clean and fresh. The worst part was the birds spending their whole day being passed from one tourist to the next to have their photo taken. Being from Australia and seeing a Cockatoo being treated like this was awful.”
10. Mandalay Bay
Source: In The Loop/YouTube
This resort in Las Vegas has an aquarium with a shark reef, along with 2,000 animals. They also let untrained people dive with the sharks, further exploiting the animals for profit. Taking giant aquatic creatures and sticking them in a glass tank in the middle of Las Vegas is not right and should not be supported.
11. Tortuga Lodge & Gardens
Source: Costa Rica Expeditions/YouTube
Located in Tortuga, Costa Rica, the biggest issue with this resort is that they expose sea turtles laying eggs or hatching to tourists. Turtles hatching is a delicate and special thing in nature, and putting them at risk for profit is irresponsible. There might always be the risk of tourists hurting or interfering with laying or hatching each time the resort brings visitors to their sacred spot.
12. The Kahala Hotel & Resort
This resort located in Hawaii has several dolphins in a lagoon on the property. They interact with guests and are the biggest attraction the resort offers. These brilliant creatures have been turned into props or forms of temporary entertainment for visitors. While the resort tries to make it look like a genuine natural experience, it is still animals in a pool for tourists.
One visitor wrote, “I stayed here and had no idea until I walked outside about the dolphins in the tiny lagoon out back. Dolphins in the wild have a range of 15 – 20 miles per day; these have a range of a few hundred feet per day. The sight of these dolphins made me so sad I literally sat down and wept. I will certainly never stay here again and I encourage anyone who has any empathy whatsoever for these highly intelligent animals to not only not stay here, but tell management your feelings.”
13. Jumeirah Vittaveli
Source: I LOVE TRAVEL/YouTube
Located in the Maldives, this resort is surrounded by oceans filled with aquatic wildlife. While that may not look like a problem at first glance, the resort offers many activities surrounding the fish. Marine life is delicate, and they should not be subjected to tourists from resorts.
14. The Four Seasons Resort (Jackson Hole, Wyoming)
At this resort, a biologist helps visitors get close to wolves, eagles, grizzly bears, bison, and mountain lions in the surrounding nature. Trying to find these dangerous and wild animals doesn’t sound like an excellent idea, and they should just be left alone.
15. Giraffe Manor
Source: The Safari Collection/Youtube
Located in Nairobi, Kenya, Giraffe Manor prides itself on letting guests see and interact with giraffes. However, just because someone can afford to stay there doesn’t mean they should be able to get incredibly close to these animals while practically unsupervised.
Sometimes, the best way to respect animals is to just leave them alone. There are plenty of great ways to learn about animals without invading their natural habitat or caging them and bringing them to a foreign resort. Although we’re sure not every hotel or resort on this list is trying to hurt the animals they have, they all contribute to the normalization of animals for entertainment. Sign this petition to call for a ban on zoos around the world!
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