Located on the site of a historical adobe stagecoach station, Lions Tigers & Bears brings visitors fare-to-face with 19 species of animals at its no-kill rescue sanctuary. A team of dedicated volunteers and staff helm this non-profit wildlife sanctuary, feeding and caring for its residents—a motley crew that includes regal African lions, Bengal tigers, a trio of bobcats, and several black bears. In a separate area, domesticated animals such as goats and llamas roam.
The sanctuary rescued each of these creatures from lives of in-captivity abuse and neglect. And yet the caretakers don't stop at caring for their furry charges—they also work to ensure other animals won't endure similar experiences. In educational programs such as animal encounters, these caretakers teach principles of responsible farming and pet ownership and give their students hands-on experience with feeding and reading bedtime stories to the domestic animals. An array of seasonal events, such as interactive festivals, are also designed to benefit the big cats and bears.
Though dinosaurs haven't roamed the earth for 65 million years, another hulking beast first roared through the American countryside only two centuries ago. That creature was the locomotive, and the subject of the preservation and public education efforts at the Pacific Southwest Railroad Museum. There, engineers conduct hands-on lessons in the form of one-hour or full-day excursions in vintage cars amid the last transcontinental link of track ever constructed in the United States. Inside the museum proper, experts restore railroad artifacts while docents lead tours among antique cabooses' steel frames and wheels made of pocket watches, and a gift shop is available in the Campo depot. Notable exhibits include the visionary industrialist John D. Spreckels’s personal business car and a San Diego and Arizona Railway steam locomotive built in 1904.