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Nurtured By Nature

Nurtured By Nature

San Diego, California

The Otter Encounter You've Been Dreaming About!

What’s the difference you ask?  The animal experience itself is the same for both programs, which include seeing, learning about, and interacting with other small exotic animals before getting into the pool with the Asian Small Clawed Otters.  The  differences between the programs are that the Conservation program guests each receive a t-shirt, towel, and otter painting with their reservation, and $600 of the $800 per person Conservation program fee is tax deductible because that funding is processed through our 501c3 and goes towards global conservation programs.  The Public programs are processed through our for-profit Animal Educators, Inc, and do not include the t-shirt, towel, or otter painting and are not tax deductible.

You can also take a look at our Facebook page to see pictures of guest experiences to get an idea of what to expect.

Where It All Began

Nurtured by Nature is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was formed in 2008 by husband-and-wife team Kevin and Wendy Yates in Valley Center, CA, after Southern California wildfires destroyed their home and surrounding area in 2003. After experiencing unconditional support from the entire community to help rebuild their home, they wanted to give back to the same community that gave so much! Kevin and Wendy’s appreciation for family, community, and the natural world fostered the idea of Nurtured by Nature – to provide solace in times of misfortune or trouble.

Public Swims

We offer otter swim encounters to the public by reservation only, on a limited basis, as a means of financially supporting animal care and our mission of providing solace in times of misfortune to qualifying children in need.


Are you committed to, and take joy from, the hard labor and satisfaction of caring for the animals in our care? This valuable knowledge and experience can be applied towards many career opportunities.

shapeEmpowering Hope

We provide an extraordinary opportunity for Make-A-Wish children who are struggling with life threatening illnesses to enjoy an uplifting experience interacting with our otters and some of their furry, feathery, poky, and scaly friends.

iconOut Of Sight, Out Of Mind!

Did you know that of the 13 species of otter, only one, the North American River Otter, is not threatened or endangered? We believe that by endearing people to otters they will feel a compassion and responsibility to help make the world a better place for them and all creatures.

An "Otterly" Amazing Experience!

Worth the Wait

Birthday gift for my wife, and after waiting an extra year because of the pandemic, we can still report that it was worth the wait! The animals are well taken care of in a peaceful sanctuary for them. We went for the otters, who were so much fun, yet also enjoyed all their other animals. Most importantly, we love the charity work they do and were proud to support it. Go!

– Collin C. | Tripadvisor
Great Day interacting with the animals

You will never have an experience like this. You get to interact and touch a wide variety of animals as the actually play with you. The staff is very knowledgeable and take the time to answer questions. They do not allow people under 18 years old.

– Phil G. | Tripadvisor
Wonderful experience!!

This is the best experience I’ve ever had. We are blessed to have been able to do this. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves animals. I learned a lot and had so much fun! The animals are so well cared for and it’s a beautiful place to visit.

– Heidi J. | Tripadvisor
The most incredible experience

This is truly unbelievable experience. We got to be in a pool with otters as well as petting and learning about porcupines, lemurs, armadillos and other animals. The staff is so nice and friendly. I could not have hoped for a better experience.

– trishakelley | Tripadvisor
Sarah's Long Awaited Birthday Present

Waited almost a year to experience my daughter's birthday present from me and my son, Daniel. Watching her face during this whole experience was priceless. We had an experience that will last a lifetime. This place is amazing and run by an awesome couple. I would go again in a heartbeat! BTW, my kids are 29 and 27 years old...this experience has no age limit.

– Joy M. | Tripadvisor
Best day EVER!!!

Looking for an amazing experience with a fantastic conservation company that does international work trying to keep all species of otters from going extinct...AND also works closely with Make A Wish kids to give them an experience of a lifetime?! Go do an otter swim with Nurtured by Nature!!!!! You will never laugh so hard, or believe how many sea otters will swim into your swim shirt at one time! And you get to interact with a bunch of other awesome animals too!!!

– tbjb2018 | Tripadvisor
An Otterly Amazing Experience

This experience is everything you could have dreamed of! Not only do you get to interact with otters and finish the day off by swimming with them, but you also get to interact with MANY different animals as well. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable and it is more than worth the trip- an experience I will never forget!

– Clare | Tripadvisor
Awesome Experience!!

This was a bucket list item checked off that was worth the 3 year wait and worth every penny!! It was awesome to interact with several different animals and to cap it off swimming with otters was great. Everyone there was so friendly and knowledgeable about the animals there. I would recommend this experience to anyone that wants to interact with otters and help out good causes at the same time.

– meljan01 | Tripadvisor

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