Animal adventure (Giant panda Zhi Zhi eats bamboo at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China on Dec. 21, 2011 \\ Imaginechina | Corbis)

We loved our recent U.S.-based guide to the best resorts and attractions for animal lovers across the country so much — I mean, who doesn’t want to check out a ranch packed with giraffes? — that we decided to do a sequel story.

This time, the focus is on cool places abroad to get your critter fix. From pandas to prancing Spanish horses, it’s clear that Americans aren’t the only ones with a soft spot in their hearts for all things animal.

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, China
What’s black and white and quite possibly the cuddliest thing you’ve ever seen? That’s right. Pandas. At this breeding facility and conservation center in Chengdu, Sichuan, visitors can watch the roly-poly bears in up close action. Need more convincing? Check out this photo. And this video. Enough said.

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Details The center is open year-round from 8 A.M. to 6 P.M. Hint: The best time to visit is 9 in the morning — a.k.a. breakfast! Admission is $10; panda.org.cn.

Cheetah Outreach Centre, South Africa
It may not be one of Africa’s infamous “big five” game animals, but the cheetah has its own claim to fame: This spotted cat is known for being the fastest land mammal, clocking speeds of up to 70 miles per hour. At the Cheetah Outreach Centre, outside Cape Town in Somerset West, you can spend time in a pen petting adult cats and cubs. But it gets better: The sanctuary also offers visitors a chance to take grown cheetahs for a “walk” along a nearby beach — and experience handler-led cub strolls on the center’s grassy grounds.

Details The facility is open 365 days a year. There’s a nominal entrance fee, but you need to pay extra to pet such beautiful cats as Hemmingway and Enigma (from $7 for kids and $12 for adults). Cheetah walks must be booked in advance, and start at $65; cheetah.co.za.