The Best Online Board Games to Play Remotely With Family

Mobile Board Games
(Google Play)

Remember when we used to play board games with family? Thanks to modern technology, we’re still able to argue over a marathon game of Monopoly even while social distancing. Phew.

Yup, there are some great options online to exhibit your competitive streak – here are our favorites.

Uno

Ok, I guess it’s technically a card game – but it’s a classic and it’s free to download in the App Store and Google Play. No word on Drunk Uno being available. And guess what? The online game will prevent you from stacking +2 or +4 cards.

Clue

Modern video games can be pretty violent. We should go back to more innocent times when we guessed who strangled the professor with a rope in the library. This classic and ever-popular murder mystery board game is available for $3.99 in the App Store and Google Play.

Monopoly

Family arguments, allegations of cheating, sulking as you go bankrupt – ah, good times. Monopoly is a game we all love, and the online version is great.

You can go to Pogo.com, which is run by Electronic Arts, to find this and hundreds of other free online games, which can be played with friends once you have registered for free. Alternatively, you can use the app version, which costs $3.99 on both Apple and Android.

Scrabble

Educational, smart and fun. I was touched by how the kids described me but it turns out they were talking about this Scrabble game. And they’re right – it captures all the enjoyment and learning of Scrabble into an app called Scrabble Go, available for free on both Apple and Android.

Scattergories

Play against friends one-on-one or open up a room to play as a group – the popular and creative game involves you thinking of a category of words starting with the same letter – and its enjoyable, entertaining, exciting, and ok I can’t think of any more. Check it out for free on the App Store and Google Play. It’s excellent. Wait, another one.

Jackbox Games

Jackbox is an increasingly popular online gaming network that you can get on a variety of platforms, including Xbox One and Apple TV. The games include trivia games like You Don’t Know Jack, Quiplash which is reminiscent of Apples to Apples, Drawful (a Pictionary-style game), and Fibbage XL, which is similar to Balderdash. The great part about these is once you have bought a game, you can play it remotely with family and friends. The bad part is I have to attempt to draw and people laugh.

Houseparty

You will likely have heard of this app, as it gains popularity as a fun way of staying connected with family and friends. Probably more suited to older kids (and adults!), you can use it to video-chat, as well as play all manner of entertaining games, even in large groups. Check it out for free on the App Store and Google Play.

Bunch

Bunch is less well-known but equally good as Houseparty. Up to 8 people can video-chat and play games together, including trivia and drawing games, Uno, Pool, Mario Kart, and charades. My son confidently guessed sloth before I informed him I hadn’t started yet.

Jigsaw puzzles

Now your social plans really can be in pieces – you can invite friends to join you on Jigsawpuzzles.io to join forces and put together a puzzle virtually. I excel at these – I did one recently that said 3 years but it only took me 4 days.

Dad Takes Down Rabid Coyote That Attacked His 2-Yr-Old Son

Dad Takes Down Coyote
(Facebook/Kensington PD YouTube/CBS Boston)

You never really know what you’re capable of until push comes to shove. Will you buckle under the pressure? Or will you find reserves of courage and strength that allow you to fight your way out? For better or worse, most of us are never faced with the kind of situation that demands such a reckoning, so we might go through life underestimating ourselves.

One dad found out that he has what it takes when his young son was suddenly in mortal danger. Nothing activates your killer instinct like one of your kids being in peril.

Ian O’Reilly of Kensington, New Hampshire was out walking a trail with his wife and three kids when a coyote jumped out of the woods and clamped his jaws onto O’Reilly’s 2-year-old son’s jacket. Dad immediately kicked the coyote to free his son from its grasp. But the coyote was not done.

“There was no interest in it going away. [I] ultimately had to make the decision to become the aggressor and jumped on it, attacked it and [got] it to the ground,” O’Reilly told Boston 25 News.

O’Reilly was bitten in the chest and arm by the coyote as he struggled to keep it away from his family. Ultimately, he was forced to hold the animal down and suffocate it.

“When I was able to get on top of it, I put my hand on its snout so it wasn’t able to attack me. There was quite a bit of snow on the ground, so I shoved the face into the snow and then eventually was able [to] put my hand on its snout and expire it through suffocation. Ultimately one hand on its windpipe and one hand on its snout did the trick.”

He told Boston 25 that he wasn’t happy about killing the coyote, but he had to do what he had to do. Police have since confirmed that the animal was rabid, and O’Reilly is undergoing a series of shots to protect himself from the disease.

The New Hampshire police are warning people, after this and another incident of coyotes being aggressive, to be careful and avoid the woods.

“I now have two different animals, two different sequences and two different people,” said Colonel Kevin Jordan, Chief of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Law Enforcement Division. “I would suggest don’t walk with us in the woods.”

Watch O’Reilly recount his harrowing tale:

Hero 100-Yr-Old Turtle Fathers 800 Kids to Prevent Species Extinction

100yr Old Hero Turtle Saves Species
(Facebook/Parque Nacional Galápagos)

One of the greatest heroes of his time, Diego the Galapagos giant tortoise has officially entered retirement. The 100-year old turtle did more for his species than arguably almost every other being in existence. At one point, Diego was one of two of the last males of Chelonoidis hoodensis of Espanola Island. Then Diego, part of a captive breeding program started nearly 50 years ago, did what any true hero would in that situation. He started getting it on with the lady turtles, siring more than 800 more of his kind.

Thanks to the noble hard work of Diego, the island has seen a huge increase in the species, as they now have nearly 2,000. The aged Diego and his heroic sex drive that saved his kind now get to retire to the island, where he will join his offspring (estimated around 40 percent of the turtles on the island).

“There’s a feeling of happiness to have the possibility of returning that tortoise to his natural state,” a director for Galapagos National Parks service told the BBC.

What exactly is his natural state and what does this mean for Diego and his main hobby of impregnating turtles?

“He might actually amp it up,” James P. Gibbs, a professor of environmental and forest biology at the State University of New York in Syracuse, told the Washington Post. “I don’t know — we shall see.”

Hell yeah, Diego. Normally, we’d include some sort of video with these posts. But some things are best left between a turtle and his dozens of sexual partners. And now Diego gets to go home, decades after he left to embark on his journey to save a species. Hopefully, the legendary turtle Dad is given a hero’s welcome upon his return. What you did before was for your species, who you impregnate now, that’s just for you big guy.

200+ American and Canadian Firefighters Volunteer to Help Australia

American and Canadian Firefighters in Australia
(Twitter/USAembassyinOZ)

When California was suffering from massive fires in 2018, more than 100 firefighters from Australia flew to the U.S. to help combat the blaze. Now, the United States is returning the favor, as more than 200 firefighters from the U.S. and Canada have volunteered to help battle the massive bushfires devastating Australia.

The U.S. government has deployed more than 100 firefighters to help (for the first time in a decade) and dozens more volunteered to head there later this week.

 

The situation on the ground in Australia is pretty bleak, as thousands have been evacuated from the series of fires raging across the nation. Millions of acres have burned and the fires have killed billions of animals, with some speculation that entire species could be wiped out by the blaze. Thousands of homes have been destroyed and 24 people have died as a result of the fires.

Canada has also sent dozens of firefighters to help battle back the bushfires, and the North American firefighters are some the best we have, with years of fire management experience.

“We’re sending a contingent from several federal agencies that reflects decades of fire management experience,” the U.S. Forest Service Fire Director Shawna Legarza said in a statement. “We face many of the same firefighting challenges in each country. We’ve utilized their expertise in the past and welcome the opportunity to reciprocate.”

One of the worst droughts in decades and strong winds have exacerbated the situation in Australia, where new heroes are stepping up to help in any way they can. Bindi Irwin said her family’s animal hospital has helped more than 90,000 animals and one daughter showed the human toll fighting these fires takes as she shared a photo of her exhausted firefighter dad.

Here are some ways you can help:

  • Donate to the Australian Red Cross, which is supporting thousands of people in evacuation and recovery centers across the country. Local residents can volunteer their services.
  • Donate to the Salvation Army Australia, which is providing meals and support to evacuees and first responders in multiple locations.
  • Extra room in your home? Offer to host people in need of emergency housing on AirBnB.
  • Donate to the  Vincent de Paul Society, which is helping evacuated families recover. The organization is providing food and clothing, helping cover bills, and donating household items to those whose homes have been destroyed.
  • Donate food, funds or services to Foodbank, the largest hunger-relief charity in Australia.
  • Donate to a GoFundMededicated to displaced First Nations Communities that need to rebuild.
  • Donate food, toiletries and household items using Givit.

Irwin Family Has Helped 90k Animals Affected by Australia’s Wildfires

Blossom the possum Irwin Family
(Instagram/bindisueirwin)

Australia is on fire, as wildfires are devastating the country. The U.S. Embassy has told tourists to leave the country as hundreds of fires rage on and thousands have been evacuated. During natural disasters, animals can often become an afterthought, which is where people like Bindi Irwin and her family’s zoo come in.

Irwin released a statement on Instagram, claiming the family and their namesake zoo in Australia are safe from the fires, but the famed conservationist is working around the clock to care for animals who have been affected by the devastation.

“With so many devastating fires within Australia, my heart breaks for the people and wildlife who have lost so much,” she wrote. She then said their Wildlife Hospital is busier than ever, having treated 90,000 patients.

She said the zoo and the hospital will continue to honor her family by being ‘Wildlife Warriors’ and saving as many animals as they can.

The hospital, owned by her mother, has been doing what it can for the animals affected, although sometimes that still isn’t enough. Bindi has shared some heartbreaking photos of the effects the fires have had on the animal population.

View this post on Instagram

Blossom the possum was admitted to the #AustraliaZoo Wildlife Hospital after being caught in one of the bushfires burning in other parts of Queensland. We have such an incredible team who work day and night to protect gorgeous animals like Blossom. Devastatingly this beautiful girl didn’t make it even after working so hard to save her life. I want to thank you for your kind words and support. This is the heart-wrenching truth, every day is a battle to stand up and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. Now more than ever we need to work together to make a difference and protect our Mother Earth. For more on how you can become a Wildlife Warrior visit www.wildlifewarriors.org 💙🙏🏼

A post shared by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin) on

Experts in Australia estimate 480 million animals have been affected by the fires that have burned more than 12 million acres of land, claimed 23 (human) victims, and destroyed more than 1,500 homes.

“This is the heart-wrenching truth, every day is a battle to stand up and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves,” she wrote. “Now more than ever we need to work together to make a difference and protect our Mother Earth.”

Bindi posted another photo, imploring people to make a difference by becoming a wildlife warrior at wildlifewarriors.org.

Here are more ways you can help:

  • Donate to the Australian Red Cross, which is supporting thousands of people in evacuation and recovery centers across the country. Local residents can volunteer their services.
  • Donate to the Salvation Army Australia, which is providing meals and support to evacuees and first responders in multiple locations.
  • Extra room in your home? Offer to host people in need of emergency housing on AirBnB.
  • Donate to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, which is helping evacuated families recover. The organization is providing food and clothing, helping cover bills, and donating household items to those whose homes have been destroyed.
  • Donate food, funds or services to Foodbank, the largest hunger-relief charity in Australia.
  • Donate to a GoFundMe dedicated to displaced First Nations Communities that need to rebuild.
  • Donate food, toiletries and household items using Givit.

Georgia Family Finds an Owl in Their Christmas Tree

Owl in Xmas Tree
(Facebook/Storyful)

I’m not here to bash Christmas trees. Is it a little weird that we bring enormous trees into our living rooms and festoon them with baubles and lights and trinkets? Maybe a little, but it’s tradition, and it’s festive, and mine is quite nice.

But every now and then I come across a story that reminds me that I have an actual tree in my living room and it gives me a little pause.

Like this story, about a family who brought their tree in and discovered they’d brought a little something else in with it: an owl.

Katie McBride Newman lives in Georgia, and she’s been sharing the saga of that time her family found an owl inside their Christmas tree. Last week.

They bought the tree just after Thanksgiving, but it wasn’t until the middle of December that they discovered its tenant, when 10-year-old India got spooked by what she thought was one of the family’s several owl ornaments. (Mom happens to love owls.)

“She comes very dramatically into the dining room and goes, ‘Mama, that ornament scared me,'” Newman told CNN. “Then she bursts into tears.”

They tried leaving the windows open overnight so the owl would leave but it turns out it was pretty comfortable, so they had to call the good people at Chattahoochee Nature Center, a non-profit environmental center, to help. Which they did.

Christmas Tree Owl
(Facebook/Katie Newman)

The team secured the owl and was able to safely remove it from the Newman’s home and deposit it back outside where it belongs. The story got some attention from the local news and CNN, because it’s not every day you relive that scene in Christmas Vacation where an animal terrorizes a family from inside their Christmas tree.

Thankfully, the owl was peaceful, and things turned out alright for everyone. The Newman’s even raised a little bit of money for the Nature Center when Katie shared OwlGate on her Facebook page.

Usually, when someone sneaks into your house around Christmas, they say ‘Ho ho ho!’ not ‘Who who who!”

Sorry.

Thousands of Pulsating ‘Penis Fish’ Washed up on a California Shore

(iNaturalist Creative / Kate Montana & David Ford)

I’m going to be straight with you. The following article includes images and video of Urechis caupo, a.k.a., the “penis fish,” and they look… well, very unfortunate, you guys. You’ve been warned.

We all know there are things residing under the sea that are weird and terrifying in all different sorts of ways. It’s not just a bunch of musical numbers directed by a singing Jamaican crab as some films would have you believe – it’s cold, crushing darkness where only the strong survive.

Well, the strong and/or penis-shaped.

Yes, there is an actual penis fish (Urechis caupo), which looks exactly how you’d imagine, and thousands of them mysteriously washed ashore on a beach in California where one unfortunate soul recently discovered them.

According to Bay Nature Magazine, David Ford discovered the legions of the penis fish on Drakes Beach in Marin County on December 6. It’s unknown what Ford was doing on the beach but it’s likely he forgot upon seeing the multitudes of the phallic fish wriggling, pulsating, and being devoured by seagulls.

As for what the creatures actually are (besides nauseating with their general existence), the penis fish are better-known under their much more wholesome moniker, “Fat Innkeeper Worm.” While the fish may look like genitalia, it acts much more like its namesake – a kind innkeeper.

Urechis caupo has a unique (and pretty gross) method for feeding itself that turns out to be pretty benevolent in nature towards its fellow sea-dwellers. Essentially, the penis fish digs a little U-shaped tunnel in the ground, at the end of which, it casts a mucus net to trap food particles and other tasty detritus. Once the mucus net has done its job, the penis fish retracts the net and consumes all the goodies it caught. Larger food particles that it was unable to consume is left for other denizens of the sea-floor like crabs, shrimp, and scale worms.

Of course, the penis fish then proceeds to blast poo pellets out of its own feeding tube with jets of water squirted from its anus but, I mean… that first part sounded really nice, right?

Penis fish can spend their entire lives underwater and the majority of it underground in their tiny burrows, but occasionally, a particularly violent storm will rip these little penises right out of their little penis houses.

“We’re seeing the risk of building your home out of sand,” Ivan Parr wrote in Bay Nature. “Strong storms — especially during El Niño years — are perfectly capable of laying siege to the intertidal zone, breaking apart the sediment, and leaving their contents stranded on the shore.”

Thankfully, both for the penis fish and for everyone who has seen them, such events are a pretty rare occurrence.

Dad Completely Unravels After Losing Daughter’s Hamster

Dad Loses Daughter's Hamster
(Twitter/stephyj725)

When his daughter went off to college, a single dad became the sole caregiver to her hamster. He didn’t think much of the ‘rodent’ at first, but he quickly grew to love and dote on little “Chester.” And one of his most traumatic days came when he had to call his daughter and break the news that Chester had escaped from his cage.

His daughter revealed her dad’s struggle through a series of sceenshotted text messages she posted on Twitter. It’s a roller coaster of emotion that reveals just how much this dad loved his hamster, and what it meant to his daughter.

It started with one of the most terrifying messages you can get from a parent, “Please call me as soon as you get this it’s an emergency.” He then explained the situation, and his daughter tried to calm him down. He then said, “Oh my god I’m so sorry honey I’m so sorry I’m looking everywhere.” And then “I’m so wicked sorry I’ll keep looking all day.”

At one point, he says he’s going to skip work the next day to look for Chester. His daughter responds “Dad you shouldn’t skip work you are a lawyer and he is a hamster.”

He pulled out all the stops to find him, including setting out some food with a ring of flour around it so he could try to follow the footsteps. Of course, you know how this ends. You wouldn’t see it on The Dad if the conclusion was the hamster being lost and the family being shattered by the tragedy. The dad came through and was reunited with his furry buddy.

“I’m an empty nester now. I don’t have a lot to take care of, and I almost screwed up the one thing I have,” he told TODAY Parents. He said the only thing he could think as he walked around on his hands and knees with a flashlight looking was how he was going to explain it to his daughter.

“I had a meltdown,” he told BuzzFeed News. “I was having a freaking heart attack.”

And now that he’s reunited with his little pal, he’s going out of his way to spoil him.

“I went to Petco and cleaned the place out,” he said. “He’s going to look like Santa Claus just in time for Christmas.”

‘Dad Bods & Rescue Dogs’ Celebrates Two Awesome Things in One Calendar

(Lucky Bulldogs Rescue)

Few things are as irresistible as puppies and dad bods, so it makes sense that there’s a calendar dedicated to the appreciation of both.

Lucky Bulldogs Rescue is a non-profit based in Council Bluffs, Iowa specifically focused on rescuing brachycephalic (short snout) dogs from the commercial breeding system, rehabilitating them, and then finding them forever homes.

This year, considering how crucial funding is to keep their mission going, they’ve decided to sell a sultry 12-month calendar featuring professional photos of French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, and Pugs along with volunteer models showing off their best dad bods.

(Lucky Bulldogs Rescue)

Lyndsey Wright, co-founder of Lucky Bulldogs Rescue and photographer responsible for the adorable shots in the calendar, told Scary Mommy that the ‘Dad Bods & Rescue Dogs 2020’ calendar was a collaborative effort only made possible thanks to co-founding board member Stacy Perkins and a handful of hunky, shapely dudes.

“We just launched it last week in hopes of raising funds to get our rescue going full speed ahead,” she said. “We already have a handful of foster dogs and the more funds we raise, the more dogs we can save.”

(Lucky Bulldogs Rescue)

“We focus on English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pugs, Boston Terriers, and other short-nosed breeds we like to call the smushie faces,” Wright continued.

“All our dogs are fostered in the homes of volunteers who work hard to gain the dogs’ trust and teach them that positive human interaction is possible while also maintaining medical care and sometimes dealing with dogs with special needs.”

(Lucky Bulldogs Rescue)

According to Blue Cross, short-snouted pups like bulldogs and pugs are susceptible to a variety of health issues, including respiratory, tooth, heart, and neurological problems, many of which are due to over-breeding.

Wright specified that Lucky Bulldogs Rescue is always aimed at finding these dogs a loving, permanent family where they “can experience the spoiled pet life after spending their first years being bred.”

One hundred percent of calendar sales go to the non-profit.

(Lucky Bulldogs Rescue)

So, if you’re interested in helping these wrinkly-faced pups find forever homes, you can pick up the dog-filled calendar for yourself on here for only $20 – the dad bods are just an extra Christmas treat.

John Cena Donates $500k to Help Firefighters Battling California Wildfires

John Cena Donates $500k
(YouTube/WWE)

It’s surprisingly easy to fall in love with a character in a film. Someone good and kind, without the flaws of humanity that have to exist in the real world. Though there’s a uniquely warm and fuzzy feeling we get from finding out the actor behind one of those roles also has kindness to spare. John Cena seems to regularly prove himself to be one of those people.

Cena is well known for his charitable work. He recently pledged to match every dollar donated to Fit Ops through November 11th, up to $1 million.

Fit Ops is an organization helping veterans with training and job placement in the physical fitness industry, and can be donated to in the above link. He also holds the record for most wishes granted through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a foundation fulfilling the dreams of children with terminal illnesses, which can also be donated to above. Cena has granted the wishes of over 500 children.

Unfortunately, there’s always another pressing issue and those in need of assistance. Thankfully there are also so many willing to help. As the California wildfires continued to burn, firemen and first responders fought on as well. Risking their lives from the infernos that destroyed over an estimated 250,000 acres in the 2019 blazes. Though there is a current reprieve, it’s a desperate situation, and those that will continue to battle it at the next flare need all the help they can get. In the midst of this challenge, John Cena spoke out.

In Cena’s latest film, Playing with Fire, he plays a fireman struggling to control 3 rowdy kids he and his team have rescued. On October 28th, National First Responders Day, he came to twitter with a request.

In the video, Cena states, “Right now California is in dire straits. It is burning, it is under siege from massive wildfires statewide. Which means our first responders are working around the clock, and they need our help.“ Paramount Pictures is the studio behind Playing with Fire, and Cena calls on them to help, with a simple request. He continues, “I want them to pick a charity. Pick a charity that aids our first responders as soon as possible. And on behalf of Playing with Fire, and out of respect to the people that I truly believe are heroes, my response will be to immediately donate half a million dollars to this cause.”

Paramount actually picked two charities. The first being LAFD Foundation, an organization that “Supports the LAFD in protecting life, property and the environment by providing essential equipment, training, and outreach programs.” This mission statement was taken from their website, where you can make a direct donation to help support them through the LA fire season.

The second charity selected by Paramount was the California Fire Foundation. An organization “Providing emotional and financial assistance to families of fallen firefighters, firefighters and the communities they protect.” This mission statement also taken from the California Fire Foundation’s site where you can again help with a donation.

Though Paramount didn’t just name them, they also agreed to match Cena’s $500,000 donation. The money will go to help fight the fires, and to support those working so hard to combat it. Though I know the money was so desperately needed, and will go far to make a difference, there’s always a small part of me that believes, if John Cena simply punched the fire, there’s no way it’d try it again.

John Cena isn’t the only celebrity looking to help these firefighters. You can read all about Matthew McConaughey helping to prepare 800 turkey dinners for firehouses combatting the blaze.

Irwin Family Opens Elephant Hospital Fulfilling One of Steve’s Dreams

Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin with Elephant
(Twitter/BindiIrwin)

Steve Irwin accomplished more for wildlife education and conservation than most could in a dozen lifetimes. From his and wife Terri Irwin’s long-running edutainment series, “The Crocodile Hunter” to the founding of the “Steve Irwin Conservation Foundation” (now renamed as “Wildlife Warriors”), the number of animals saved and children taught to respect and value nature may well be immeasurable. In fact, his impact was so significant November 15 was internationally named as “Steve Irwin Day.”

Steve suffered a sudden and tragic death in 2006, when a stingray pierced his chest with a poisonous barb at Batt Reef in Queensland, Australia. However, his legacy was far from over. One of his greatest dreams was to open an elephant hospital, and his family, wife Terri and children, Bindi and Robert Irwin, were proud to carry the mantle.

Just as passionate about the protection of wildlife as their respective husband and father, they’ve continued his efforts in wildlife protection and worked tirelessly to achieve one of his grandest dreams. “We just — just — finished one of his greatest goals, which was to open an elephant hospital in Indonesia.”  Terri Irwin tells Buzzfeed News, “In Sumatra, when Elephants step on a landmine or they get caught in a snare there was no hospital to treat them, and we now have just opened an elephant hospital, so it’s pretty special.”

Terri and Steve worked together to grow what was once Steve’s parent’s wildlife park into the great Australia Zoo, now containing nearly 1,000 acres and over 1,000 animals. Australia Zoo staffer Luke Reavley, speaking on the Elephant Hospital, tells Buzzfeed News, “Steve Dreamed of opening an elephant hospital after witnessing first-hand the issues they were facing in the wild.” Australia Zoo, among other organizations, helped fund the Elephant Hospital, and their veterinary staff assisted with training the Indonesian team. They have also supplied staff to microchip elephants in order to better monitor their population, Reavely said.

Bindi Irwin tells Buzzfeed News, “I think for us as a family we always want to make sure that his legacy continues. Because Dad always said, ‘I don’t care if people remember me, I care if people remember my message.’” Though his family has always been happy to act in Steve’s name, their own contributions cannot be understated. Terri being a conservationist her whole life, even starting a rehabilitation center for injured predator mammals at just age 22. She and Steve raised their children with the same passion and care for wildlife they both shared. Thanks to the efforts of the entire Irwin family, it’s safe to say neither Steve, nor his message, will be soon forgotten.

If you need more wonderful stories about Steve Irwin and his family, Bindi Irwin shares a beautiful video of her father speaking on fatherhood.

Airbnb Now Offers Animal Excursions That are Wild and Ethical

(Airbnb)

Airbnb is slowly eroding away at the hotel industry for reason: People want the comforts of home even while traveling somewhere they’ve never been before.

Over the last few years, the company has continued to move further into the domain of high-end hotels with the addition of Airbnb Experiences, a service for finding local activities and interesting locations in the city where’ you’re staying—your own convenient concierge service, if you will.

But now Airbnb is going yet another step further with a brand new category of travel: Animal Experiences. These literal “creature comforts” allow travelers to choose from a bevy of interactive animal activities like paddleboarding with corgis in Florida or cuddling baby cows in Hawaii.

(Airbnb)

According to Airbnb, these excursions are organized in accordance with new animal welfare guidelines created in collaboration with World Animal Protection, an animal advocacy group that ensures the creatures’ welfare is always taken into consideration and never compromised.

This means no elephant rides, big cat interactions, encouraging the use of performance animals, or other activities known for the exploitation of these creatures. Only ethical, animal-focused excursions here.

(Airbnb)

And don’t worry about Airbnb hoarding money away from these much smaller companies providing the services. They have promised to give the booking proceeds for the 100 experiences it deems to have “social impact” directly to nonprofits.

So whether your family wants to picnic with pigs in California, waddle around with penguins in South Africa, or make handmade sheep cheese in Tuscany, Airbnb Animal Experiences are ready to organize the ideal excursion for both you and the animals in the spotlight.

(Airbnb)

Lion Meeting His Cub for the First Time Has the ‘Net Feeling Pride

Lion Meets his Cub
(Facebook/Denver Zoo)

What’s better than wholesome dad content? Wholesome fluffy animal dad content, of course, and a recent video from the Denver Zoo is about to give you a whole heaping spoonful of it.

The video shared earlier this month already starts on a high note by featuring a little fuzzball of a lion cub. While objectively adorable, the real highlight is when he finally comes face to face with his enormous dad, Tobias, for the first time.

I mean, there’s no baboon holding him over a cliff for all the other animals to see or anything, but it’s still pretty damn magical in its own right.

The video comes as one of many “cubdates” that the zoo has been posting every other day as a way for people to get a glimpse of the new little guy. They are hoping to raise support to help raise the growing family and are even letting the public vote on the newest family member’s name.

Fans can choose between the following names:

Meru, which is the name of a mountain in Tanzania.

Moremi, which stands for the name of a game reserve in Botswana.

Tatu, which is the Swahili word for the number three (the cub is his mother’s third offspring).

You can vote by clicking here.

“Everyone is extremely excited and anxious to pay him a visit once he makes his public debut,” Jake Kubié, the director of communications, commented on the public’s response to the new cub. “The weekly updates we’ve been posting to our social channels are met with an outpouring of ‘Ohhs’ and ‘Ahhs.’ [and] we’re doing our best to give everyone their cub fix while they wait to see him in person!”

Making sure the cub is adjusting well into his family is not only an adorable process but also crucial as the world’s lion population decreases.

“It’s very important to remember that half of African lions have disappeared in the last 25 years and face growing threats, such as poaching, loss of prey and destruction of habitats in their native ranges” Kubié stressed.

“We hope that by seeing our little lion cub, people will be inspired and take action to help protect his wild counterparts and other wildlife around the world.”

And it looks like his dad is pretty smitten with this kitten along with everyone else.