Cue the awws.

By Andrea Romano
December 24, 2019
Credit: Courtesy of Barn Hill Preserve

Get ready for an animal experience like no otter.

You can swim with dolphins, do yoga with lemurs, and experience Pilates with mini pigs, but at Barn Hill Preserve in Ethel, Louisiana, visitors have the opportunity to take a dip with some adorable baby otters, Scary Mommy reports.

Credit: Courtesy of Barn Hill Preserve

This one-of-a-kind experience allows guests to swim with the preserve’s otters, as well as take part in a guided tour around the facility and enjoy up-close encounters with some of the resident “animal ambassadors.” The three-hour tour includes approximately 35 minutes of swimming — the same amount of time the otters have to play in the pool themselves. But these aren’t just any otters — they’re Asian small-clawed otters, which is the smallest otter breed in the world, according to Scary Mommy.

Credit: Courtesy of Barn Hill Preserve

“The number of otter swims are limited, so that this remains a very positive experience for them. While in the pool, you are an observer. We do not allow the otters to be restrained, both for the safety of you and our otters,” the Barn Hill Preserve website states.

In order to take a swim, you must be over 16 years old. Swimmers are also required to sign a waiver before entering the pool. In addition, you must bring a bathing suit, towel, and change of clothes. Barn Hill Preserve warns against wearing any loose-fitting jewelry while in the water. Thankfully, waterproof cameras and GoPros are permitted, so you can capture the magic of your otter swim.

Credit: Courtesy of Barn Hill Preserve

Barn Hill’s mission is to educate the community about environmental conservation and animal rescue, so expect your visit to be highly educational. The preserve is also home to several other animal species, including kangaroos, sloths, macaws, dromedary camels, Eurasian lynx, and eagle owls, among others. Plus, you can go on an encounter tour to meet these creatures if you’re not ready for a swim.

Otter swims are $154 per person, with a four-person maximum in each group. Tours are available on the weekends from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments are required in order to take a swim, so make your reservation on the Barn Hill Preserve website.

Barn Hill Preserve is located a 30-mile drive north of Baton Rouge and a 110-mile drive northwest of New Orleans.