There are, no doubt, many definitions of 'interactive' in this context, so I'll make it clear up front I'm referring to places which allow direct interaction by visitors with their ambassador animals. I will freely admit to being biased in this regard, and the same goes for my wife. In general, zoos or oceanariums which have strong interactive programs get higher priority on our 'visit' list than those which lack such. With that said, the choice is never simple. There are plenty of places which strike me as 'tourist traps.' Their programs may be billed as "up close and personal" (or words to that effect) while the reality is you may never get closer to the animal(s) involved than a sheet of plexiglass, a fence or similar barrier. Granted, there are plenty of animals where barriers are completely appropriate for the safety of all concerned. Hippos, rhinos, most tigers, large bears, etc. However, I've also seen cases where critters as innocuous as ruffed lemurs are separated from their would-be 'human toys' by chain link or plexi. Then there are the places where the price for participation in a given experience is ridiculously high, aimed at groups rather than individuals (I'm looking at you, Woodland Park!) Such places often have the type of limited experience mentioned in the paragraph above. Let's also consider the perspective of the participant(s). For many people, some form of separation or barrier is absolutely necessary for them to feel safe. Being inches away from a given animal may be more than enough 'thrill' for them, while closer contact may be uncomfortable at best or impractical without running them through some basic handler training. Heck, I've seen people who were afraid of domestic chickens! At the opposite end of the graph are those visitors for whom 'close' means exactly that: Either in one's face, as it were, or (in the case of, say, kangaroo joeys) being comfortably cradled in a visitor's arms. These are, people who have had plenty of experience with various animals, domestic and exotic alike, no matter if it was on a farm or as a zoo employee or volunteer or anything in between. I would place myself and my wife in this latter category, as I would (I suspect) many of the users of ZooChat. Both of us have been fortunate enough to be blessed with more interactive experiences than I have space to list here. We've also, both, served as volunteers at various zoos and aquatic facilities. I have, in the interest of helping my lady and I decide where to go next, created my own spreadsheet which rates zoos and aquariums on the type, quantity and quality of any interactive experiences they offer. One thing I'd like to get, from this thread, is tales from my fellow ZooChatters about the kinds of interactive experiences you've come across. Among the questions I would have are: Where was the experience? Which place? What did it consist of? Which animals? How was it structured? Direct contact, barrier, something else? Did it seem enjoyable for all concerned, animal(s) and visitors alike? Did it feel 'staged' or scripted? Or was it more free-form? As in 'sh*t happens...' What did you, specifically, get out of it? Thanks for reading. Discussion (hopefully, both lively and civil) is now open!