8 Best Places to Swim with Otters in the USA

Otters are cute little creatures that can swim around really fast.  In fact, you may be surprised at how quickly they can zip around a pool or aquarium!  If you love to watch these amazing animals, then you probably have been wondering for quite some time if it is possible to enter the water and swim with them.  For the longest time, the answer would have been no, but now there are numerous places within the US where you can swim with otters.  

8 Best Places to Swim with Otters in the USA

1. North Georgia Zoo

One of the best places to swim with otters is the North Georgia Zoo, although you do need to be eight years old to enjoy this wonderful experience.  There are many encounters available and you get to choose the one that fits your needs the best. The Young Otter Encounter will have you spending between fifteen and twenty minutes with one or two of their younger otters.  During this time, you will interact and play with the otters, as you learn more about them.  

Otter encounters at North Georgia Zoo

The Otter Experience will have you playing with the adult otters and even learning what to do to assist with their training.  The VIP Otter Experience will give you thirty to forty-five minutes alone with one or two of the otters at the zoo. One of the best experiences is the Otter Splash, which will have you spending an hour and a half with the otters while you help with their training.  At least one of the otters will be swimming around you in the pool and you get some personal one on one time with them at the end.  

2. Barn Hill Preserve

Barn Hill Preserve is located in Louisiana and they offer three-hour Otter Swim Encounter Tours that include a tour of the facility.  The swim with otters’ portion of this encounter will last approximately an hour, but only about thirty minutes of that will be out in the pool with the otters. 

Otter encounters at Barn Hill Preserve

The rest will be changing clothes and receiving information that will orient you with the pool and the otters themselves. You must be sixteen years old to do this otter encounter and spaces are limited for each one to ensure the safety of the otters.  

3. Nurtured by Nature

Nurtured by Nature is located in California and it is one of the best places to swim with otters California.  They offer three different otter encounters and they include the Public Otter Swim Encounter, the Conservation Otter Swim Encounter, and the Founder Otter Swim Encounter.  The Public Otter Swim will allow eight people to spend between three and four hours with their guide. An hour of that time will be in the pool where you will swim with otters and interact with other animals that are in there as well.  

Otter encounters at Nurtured by Nature

The Conservation Otter Swim is for those who want to make a substantial donation to the program and while it includes everything mentioned in the encounter above, you also get lunch, a t-shirt, and a painting.  The Founder Otter Swim is designed for private groups of up to eight people and includes everything in the Conservation Otter Swim.  

The minimum age for any of these encounters is eighteen and you can call or send them an email to see which one would fit your needs the best.  

4. Discovery Cove

Orlando might be home to some of the best amusement parks in the world and even some of the best waterparks in the world, but you can also do much more when you’re in this play city! Swim with otters Florida can easily be accomplished over at Discovery Cove in Orlando. 

Otter encounters at Discovery Cove

Once you book this exotic vacation in paradise, you will need to make sure that you sign up for one of the otter encounters. As soon as you have done that, you can play with them under the rainforest canopy, as they swim in the sparkling clear water.  Of course, you will see many other animals during your time there, but nothing will beat your precious time with the spunky otters.  

5. Georgia Aquarium

To swim with otters at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, you must be at least seven years old.  Your encounter will allow you to learn what you need to know from a trainer, while taking a tour of the sea otter facility. 

Otter encounters at Georgia Aquarium

You will also prepare a sea otter meal before you meet them and give them their food while training them at the same time. The best part about this sea otter encounter, besides getting up close and personal with them, is the fact that you get a photo of you and the sea otters to take home with you!

6. Dade City’s Wild Things Zoo

If you often wonder, where can you swim with otters in Florida, you don’t need to look any further than Dade City’s Wild Things Zoo. 

Otter encounters at Dade City’s Wild Things Zoo

When you begin your encounter, you will be on land, so you can see how these wonderful creatures play on solid ground.  After that, you will slide into the pool for some fun and splashing in the water.  

7. Virginia Living Museum

While you cannot swim with otters at the Virginia Living Museum, you can take the Otter Tour to learn more about them and help with a training session.  This tour lasts for approximately forty-five minutes and anyone ages four and above can be a part of the maximum twelve-person group.

Otter encounters at Virginia Living Museum

As you learn more about how otters act, you will also discover what they eat and how they eat it.  The training session is fun to participate in, because it allows you to see how the vets get the otters to cooperate during checkups. You will be entering a restricted area for this tour, so be prepared to see things that many others have not seen at this museum.  

8. Audubon Nature Institute

While visiting Louisiana, you can easily spend time with sea otters at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, which is part of the Audubon Nature Institute. This is one of the best seven aquariums in the USA!  The encounters are held four days a week right now and they last for approximately thirty minutes. 

Otter encounters at Audubon Nature Institute

During this time, you will meet a sea otter, check out the sea otter area with your tour guide, learn everything you need to know about the sea otters, and take pictures when your guide tells you it is okay.  

You must be ten years old or older to participate in this encounter and only two people can attend at a time, for the safety of the sea otters.  

There are numerous places where you can swim with otters all over the USA and any of these eight will get you started on realizing your lifelong dream of being in the water with them.  While you can be quite picky about where you swim with otters, I can tell you that any of these destinations will have you enjoying yourself and the otters at the same time!

*Otters images are from the zoo websites.

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