Swimming With Otters in California at Nurtured by Nature

If you’ve been following this blog you know that I LOVE animals, so you can imagine how excited I was when I found out that you can actually interact and swim with otters.
I’m always very careful when it comes to arranging an animal encounter. I’d never do it at any place that abuses animals such as these cruel elephant rides in Thailand or dolphins in the pool. However, I cannot recommend Nurtured by Nature highly enough as it’s a genuine organization that supports both animals and the local community.

Swim With Otters in California

Disclaimer: I visited Nurtured by Nature in 2015. I have heard that things have changed since my last visit. Therefore, I’ve no clue and have no way to check, if this place is still ethical or not. 


How is this possible? Nurtured by Nature is a nonprofit organization that was formed by husband and wife team, Kevin & Wendy Yates, in Valley Center, CA (near San Diego) after Southern California wildfires destroyed their home and surrounding area in 2003.

After experiencing love, goodwill, and unconditional outreach and support from the entire community to help rebuild their home, they wanted to give back to the same community that gave so much!

Kevin & Wendy’s appreciation for family, community, and the natural world, has fostered the idea of Nurtured by Nature – to provide solace in times of misfortune or trouble. Nurtered by Nature works closely with Make-A-Wish foundation and let’s terminally ill kids interact with animals and gets donations from visitors like myself. DSC03020

If you want to book this encounter you need to plan it months in advance as the wait is pretty long and the only reason I was able to do it on a short-notice was due to a cancellation.

I recommend staying at one of the hotels in San Diego, CA and rent a car to get there, as there’s not much to do in Central Valley itself.

San Diego, however, offers lots of different activities that you can enjoy just 45 minutes away from Nurtered by Nature.DSC03080


I started my encounter from touring the property and saying hello to various animals: lemurs, armadillo, sloth and… two baby otters! Otters are incredibly friendly and very social, so they loved to played with us.DSC03136

Fat armadillo!

Fat armadillo!


I got an opportunity to feed a porcupine who I didn’t think would be look so cute!DSC03112

Mr. Kangaroo didn’t seem to like to as much as I liked him and pushed me away, but then returned for a piece of banana. I guess even kangaroos can be moody. DSC03149

The most exciting part of the experience was however a bath with a group of otters. They were swimming around me playing with their toys and my hair all the time making the whole experience amazing! These otters couldn’t have been cuter!DSC03055

Here’s a photo from the actual swim. The otters were quite invasive and swam wherever they wanted – don’t tell me I didn’t warn you 😉

Have you been to Nurtured by Nature? What’s your experience there? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. Nurtered by Nature
    Nov 10, 2015 / 7:23 am

    Thanks Anna for visiting Nurtured By Nature and for writing such a nice article!

  2. Heather
    Nov 10, 2015 / 7:26 am

    We are going in February and I can’t wait!

  3. Julia Klass
    Nov 10, 2015 / 7:27 am

    I’m so jealous! I love love love otters, even adopted one from international otter survival fund. They are so cute!

    • Nov 10, 2015 / 7:28 am

      That’s so cool, I want to adopt an otter too! 😀

  4. Nov 11, 2015 / 2:32 pm

    Hey Anna, oh wow, what great pics, all the critters are sooo cute. What a great activity to do. Thumbs up to you for only going to places that treat our animal friends well.

  5. Nov 13, 2015 / 8:31 pm

    That’s so sweet and cool. Wish I could do the same thing!!!!

    • Mar 14, 2016 / 4:27 am

      You can 😉

  6. KasiaN
    Nov 21, 2015 / 5:43 am

    Jeżozwierze są też u mnei w Toskanii. Mało tego! Dawno temo, choć nie bardzo były typowym przysmakiem Maremmy. Brzmi dziwnie, ale tak było.
    Zwierzaki świetne, dzieci mi krzyczą przez ramię – pokaż je jeszcze raz!

    • Nov 22, 2015 / 4:34 pm

      Awwww! 🙂 Jezozwierze w Toskanii? Nie mialam pojecia 🙂

    • Nov 22, 2015 / 4:33 pm

      I know. I did meet a few in the wild too actually 🙂

  7. Nov 21, 2015 / 11:33 pm

    We were a couple of years ago in California but we didn’t know about this place. What a pity. Simon would love it! And all these animal – so cuuute 🙂

    • Nov 22, 2015 / 4:27 pm

      You can always go back there, it’s worth it 😉

    • Mar 14, 2016 / 4:27 am

      Go swim with them too! 😀

  8. Nadia
    Nov 24, 2015 / 3:39 am

    Beautiful creatures. You look very happy!

    • Nov 24, 2015 / 6:34 pm

      I was 😀

  9. Nov 24, 2015 / 12:56 pm

    OMG, I’m officialy obssesed with animals! That’s just too cute and adorable! I can’t stand it 😀

    • Nov 24, 2015 / 6:34 pm

      Go visit this place 😀

  10. Nov 30, 2015 / 7:15 pm

    Cute overload alert! OMG, never knew baby otters were so cute!

    Jul 19, 2016 / 4:18 pm

    I’d like to know of a number to reserve a appt to swim.with the otters
    Virginia crabtree

    • Jul 20, 2016 / 3:07 pm

      It’s on their website Nurtered by Nature 🙂

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