Early encounters with the world’s most captivating creatures can have a lifelong impact. As kids learn more about animals, it leads them to become even more fascinated by our planet. What better way to learn about the incredible diversity of animal life than to experience it in person? Here are four wildlife experiences your kids can have on National Geographic Family Journeys that will help them learn the key challenges facing our planet, and how they can help make a positive impact:

Costa Rica:

The challenge: There are hundreds of endangered species in Peru, from monkeys and birds to frogs and insects. Maintaining the habitats of these precious animals is key to the welfare of not just the country, but the planet.

How you can help: On our National Geographic Family Journeys trip to Costa Rica, you’ll get your hands dirty by planting new trees in the nursery of the Monteverde Institute in in the famed Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and learning about the reforestation projects spearheaded by the institute.

Check out our National Geographic Family Journeys tour to Costa Rica here.


South Africa

The challenge: In South Africa, habitat destruction and poaching threaten the livelihood of the chimpanzee population.

How you can help: At Chimp Eden, learn about how famous conservationist Jane Goodall established practices and institutes to aid in the protection of the area’s chimps — and chimps all around the world. Also learn how Dr. Goodall believes that respectful animal tourism can help protect this amazing species — and all species — now, and in the future.

Check out our National Geographic Family Journeys tour to Southern Africa here.


Tanzania

The challenge: Illegal ivory trade still threatens the majestic elephant population of this region.

How you can help: In Tanzania, you will go on safari in protected areas, where hunters are forbidden from entering, and where animals are free to roam and live as nature intended. Seeing these animals in their natural habitat, undisturbed by humans (your guide will point out the importance of keeping a safe and respectful difference) will help you understand the importance of sustainable wildlife tourism.

Check out our National Geographic Family Journeys tour to Tanzania here.


Alaska

The challenge: Volatile weather patterns and other results of climate change have affected the plants and animals of Alaska — particularly its marine life.

How you can help: While visiting the SeaLife Centre in Seward, you’ll learn how the centre collaborates with the National Geographic Society on various wildlife initiatives aimed at education and conservation.

Check out our National Geographic Family Journeys tours to the Alaska here.