If your idea of awesome wildlife viewing doesn’t involve heading to a zoo, watch the video below for my top three picks for the best places to view wildlife in the world.

#1 Botswana, Africa

Botswana, Africa, is one of the most sparsely populated countries on the planet. About the size of Texas and with around 38% of land protected for wildlife and nature conservation, there’s a lot of room to roam. Whether you travel to the Okavango Delta, the largest inland delta in the world, the Makgadikadi Pans, one of the world’s largest salt pans or one of the myriad of national parks or game reserves, you can expect exciting game viewing. On my trip I was able to view eagles, spotted hyena, giraffes, elephants, hippos, Impala, zebras, meerkats, a variety of birds and much, much more. For those adrenaline junkies, I also had some close encounters I wouldn’t necessarily repeat!

#2 Costa Rica

The Central American country of Costa Rica is rich in scenery and wildlife. Whether you want to view sloths from the air on a hot air balloon ride over the rainforest at dawn or use a little muscle climbing trees to view howler monkies, there’s an abundance of wildlife in a variety of locales, even right beside major roadways. With hundreds of bird species, keep a look out for the scarlet macaw, which I spotted right along the coast. Other highlights include colorful frogs, iguanas and howler monkies.

#3 Alaska

The largest state in the United States completes our list of the best places to view wildlife. From bears to puffin to sea otters, Alaska has amazing wildlife and many great places where you can observe it. From vast Denali National Park to the Chugach National Forest to the Kenai Fjords and even along the Seward Highway, there are great accessible places for wildlife viewing. My top pick is the Kenai Fjords, where killer whales mix with stellar sea lions and bald eagles, but you don’t even have to leave land to see the animals.