Wilderness Wonders: 15 Nature Documentaries That’ll Ignite Your Desire for an Outdoor Adventure

the ivory game

Want to spend time in the wilderness without leaving your couch? One user on an online forum asked for people's recommendations for their favorite nature documentaries. Nature lovers replied with the best.

1. Planet Earth: Blue Planet II (2017)

Blue Planet II
Image Credit: BBC.

This HD sequel to BBC's original Blue Planet series takes a deeper look at the oceans and the animals that live in their waters. Hosted by David Attenborough, each episode focuses on a different habitat. From coastal environments to the creatures lurking in the deep, each episode features breathtaking imagery and exciting facts about the ocean.

2. Life in Cold Blood (2008)

Life in Cold Blood
Image Credit: BBC One.

Life in Cold Blood is a limited docuseries narrated by Attenborough and is all about reptiles. Each episode focuses on a different type of reptile, from snakes to lizards to crocodiles.

3. Frozen Planet (2011)

Frozen Planet
Image Credit: BBC One.

Explore the freezing parts of the world, like the Arctic and Antarctic, in this fascinating series. The episodes chronicle each season and how the animals cope with the bitter cold and the biting winds in these harsh environments.

4. Galápagos (2006)

Image Credit: BBC Two.

This three-part series examines the unique and lush Galápagos Islands, the very place Charles Darwin visited to hypothesize the theory of evolution. The show displays the gorgeous and unique wildlife on the island, like Galápagos penguins, marine iguanas, and Galápagos finches.

5. March of The Penguins (2005)

March of the Penguins
Image Credit: Buena Vista International France.

March of the Penguins follows Emperor penguins in the South Pole as they embark on their annual mating ritual at the end of the summer. Viewers watch the penguins endure brutal winds and face terrifying predators as they breed and protect their eggs.

6. The Secret Lives of Big Cats (2020)

The Secret Lives of Big Cats
Image Credit: Curiosity Stream.

If you're as astounded by the majestic nature of big cats as I am, The Secret Lives of Big Cats is a must-see documentary. Each episode follows a different species of big cats to teach the audience about their ways of life. Episodes explore species like lions, cheetahs, tigers, snow leopards, and more.

7. Planet Earth: South Pacific (2009)

South Pacific
Image Credit: BBC Two.

Travel to the islands of the South Pacific in this fascinating nature docuseries. Learn more about the region's lush wildlife, such as saltwater crocodiles, burrowing bats, and albatrosses. The series thoroughly explores each habitat, so you will surely learn something new.

8. America's National Parks (2015)

America's National Parks
Image Credit: National Geographic.

If you can't afford a trip to each of America's astounding national parks, watching this docuseries is the next best thing. Each episode embarks on an adventure to a different national park in the United States, including the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and the Everglades.

9. Chimpanzee (2012)

Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

This Disney Nature film explores the lives of chimpanzees in the wild. We follow Oscar, a young chimp whose family must contend with a rival band of chimpanzees. Viewers learn details and fun facts about chimpanzee life as the conflict unfolds.

10. My Octopus Teacher (2020)

My Octopus Teacher
Image Credit: Netflix.

My Octopus Teacher lets viewers discover the secrets of the cephalopods. The film explores a special relationship between one man and his wild octopus friend that teaches us octopuses are more intelligent than we could ever imagine.

11. Dynasties (2018)

Image Credit: BBC Worldwide.

This BBC documentary series focuses on five endangered species and their lives in the wild. The groups are well known, but their lives and populations are in danger of being wiped off this planet.

12. One Strange Rock (2018)

one strange rock
Image Credit: Netflix.

One Strange Rock looks at how life exploded on this planet, while there's a vast, empty cosmic environment surrounding our Earth.

13. The Ivory Game (2014)

the ivory game

The Ivory Game is a deep look into the illegal ivory trade in Africa, and how it affects the communities and the animals in the center of it all.

14. Night on Earth (2020)

night on earth
Image Credit: Fine Line Features.

Night on Earth is a docuseries about what happens on our planet at night. With new technologies, we can now see the hidden lives of some of the most interesting creatures on Earth!

15. Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (2020)

Image Credit: Fox Broadcasting.

This wonderful learning series is hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson as he teaches viewers about culture, history, and nature in our world (and out of it). The 13-part series is fun for the whole family and mixes real life with animation for a great learning show.

Source: Reddit

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Maya (she/they) is a queer entertainment and culture journalist from Worcester, MA with bylines in publications like Pulse Magazine, HorrorPress, CM Pride, Fangoria, and TransLash News & Narrative. They cover interviews, reviews, roundups, news, and more in the entertainment and lifestyle space. She loves horror, LGBTQ+ representation, and creativity. They hope their writing both entertains readers and inspires them to think critically.