I am a big fan of doing something instead of getting something as a gift. Regardless of the occasion, I always feel like getting to experience something new is a lot more exciting than just getting more stuff, and getting to share that experience with those you love is even better. When I think back over my life, while I am sure I’ve received some amazing gifts, I really don’t remember a single one. Not because I wasn’t thankful or didn’t value them, but material possessions are the kinds of things that tend to just cycle in and out of your life. Events on the other hand, those create lasting memories, and stories to tell for years to come (like getting your raft stuck on a rock in the middle of a river in an area where you couldn’t just hop out of the raft, and thinking that was probably going to be the end of you.)
In lieu of that, for my birthday this year we decided to work on checking off some of the items on my “East Coast Bucket List”. I was born and raised in California, but have been living in Georgia for about a year, and while experiencing a totally different part of the country is something I am incredibly grateful for, I don’t plan on living here forever. I want to make sure I make the most of my time here though, and experience everything I can that I am lucky enough to be able to just hop in my car and go see while here in the south. The first up on the birthday agenda was Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary.
Noah’s Ark is a private animal sanctuary that takes in animals that were either unwanted, confiscated for being illegal as pets, retired from research, or unable to be kept by closing and struggling zoos. Their facility is pretty amazing, especially given that it is privately run and funded off donations. They have over 1500 animals, ranging from your common chicken to a white tiger, and it sits on about 250 acres. The property is just an oasis. While a lot of the animals they have are creatures that should have never been in captivity in the first place, the first thing I noticed is how peaceful and content they all seemed. This is probably due in part to the fact that it is truly a sanctuary, and while they are open (and free) to the public, the animal habitat area is only open 3 hours a day 5 days a week so the animals are able to really be at peace and not constantly bombarded by the sights and sounds of humans.
I would highly suggest a visit to Noah’s Ark if you are in the area. They are free (donations appreciated) and really something the whole family can enjoy. Just make sure you check their site or call to make sure they are open when you plan to go, because they do have limited hours. I have always had a dream of one day running a wildlife sanctuary, and being an extreme animal lover myself this was the perfect kick off to my birthday. Stay tuned as I share what we have planned next!
Do you prefer getting gifts or doing things? Comment below!