There has recently been a 28% increase in people visiting Portland, Oregon, which isn’t surprising at all, as it’s an extremely cool city. But if you find yourself there and are like, eh, I’m sick of all these hip cafes and bookstores and instead feel like driving an hour up north, you are in for a very special treat.
The most popular attraction at The Zoological Wildlife Conservation Center, a tiny and highly specialized endangered species center in Rainier, Oregon, is its Sloth Sanctuary. The sloth sanctuary is not a zoo and does not specialize in public entertainment—its proceeds go strictly to the sloths—but it does offer a way to spend quality time with these sweet creatures while also getting in some relaxation time for yourself—a sleepover, right there in the sloth habitat.
Sloths are “most active” at nighttime (note: still not very active), so the excitement will begin at 8 pm and lasts until around 7 the next morning. During this time, you’ll hang out in the humid sloth habitat, and watch some sloths be super slow (and at most times, very sleepy).
Here are some things you can do during your sloth sleepover at the Sloth Sanctuary:
Observe and interact with the sloths: The sloths won’t be asleep the whole time, and when they’re not, you’ll get to observe and interact with them (with constant supervision, of course).
Watch the sloths nap: Sloths sleep for 22 hours a day, so you’ll definitely be seeing some hardcore naps happen.
You can also take a nap, as well: During this time, you can relax or even take a nap yourself inside of the habitat—there are tents and cots set up for you! Plus, you’ll still be near the sloths, and you can officially say, “I have napped with sloths,” which is pretty cool.
Feed the sloths as they hang above you: You might be able to feed the sloths little cucumbers as they hang from their jungle gyms on the ceiling or perch in their tree-like homes. This will depend on whether or not your guide allows this—the sloths might not be hungry, or maybe they might not be in the mood for little cucumbers. You cannot force a cucumber on a sloth; this would be rude.
Watch some television: They’ve got satellite TV in there if you want to take a break at any time from watching the sloths you came here to see and watch that instead.
Be extremely quiet: Library voices only! Sloths are very sensitive and become quite stressed upon hearing loud noises (relatable)—keep it quiet, people.
They also offer an educational Q&A with a volunteer staff member—and you get a free sloth t-shirt.
Although we think time spent with these sweet little creatures is essentially priceless because it sounds wonderful, it’s also sure to be the most expensive sleepover you’ll ever take part in, at a hefty $600 a night for two people. If sleepovers aren’t your thing, or if you don’t want to spend quite that much money to watch sloths sleep (which, OK, fair), you can also do an hour-long visit on a Saturday for $100, or a private visit on any day of the week for $300 for up to three people at a time.
Visit their website for booking information, a full list of sloth interaction guidelines and tips on how to fully prepare for your visit.
Plan your trip to Portland (and be sure to include this one hour drive up north to Rainier) with Fodor’s Portland Travel Guide.