Family Bonding with Animal Crossing: New Horizons

In-game photo of my character in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

I’m obsessed with Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH) for the Nintendo Switch. At the beginning of 2020 when it came out, I loved seeing everyone’s islands, their creativity, being able to visit each other, and a new AC game to play! I played it at a friend’s house when I was younger until I got a Wii system to play New Leaf, so when the Switch game came out, I knew I had to get it.

A quick intro

With New Horizons, you get to set up your island starting with just you, a few residents, and Tom Nook’s tenacity. This latest installment in the Animal Crossing universe introduces new features and characters — such as the Nooklings, Tom’s adorable children, who operate the store. Moving forward in the game involves inviting more residents to your island, upgrading your museum, improving your island rating, and adding to your home.

Bonding through gaming

After posting my island vlog and showing off some of the new features, my aunt expressed interest in playing Animal Crossing. Last Christmas, my mom and I teamed up to get her the Switch and New Horizons. Now, my aunt and I play together every weekend, showing off our islands and introducing each other to new items or features. It’s a great bonding experience since we live far away from each other, and allows us to catch up on a weekly basis — all while having fun! My aunt plays constantly and has unlocked more features than I have, which motivated me to play more so I can catch up.

Island updates

With our weekly chats, I’ve been playing a lot more and progressed in the game. I finally acheived a 5-star rating, completed the fossil exhibit in my museum, enjoy coffee with Brewster, shop at Able Sisters, and am renovating my house. Here are some features I’m proud of:

Gardens & Park

I set up mini gardens around most of the homes, as well as a larger backyard garden behind mine. In another spot, I created a large park area with the “monster statue”, a small fossil exhibit, fountain, and pyramid to look similar to a public park.

Zen Garden

On one of the topmost areas of the island, I’ve been creating a zen area complete with bamboo trees, an outdoor bath, kotatsu, and other Asian-inspired elements. I used the bamboo fencing to enclose the space so it looks like a true hot springs, and placed a panda bear plus paper tiger.


On the larger shore area of my island, I’ve created a beachside carnival/fairground area with the carousel, teacups, ferris wheel, and other fair life staples. I made it look like a boardwalk with wooden slats leading to the gaming area, set up with arcade games and a pinball machine. And of course, no carnival is complete with cotton candy and popcorn stalls.

Dino Park

Since completing the fossil exhibit in the museum, I’ve used the duplicate fossils to create a dinosaur park, complete with the T. Rex!

T. Rex fossil statue
The Mighty Rex

Mermaid Isle

With the mermaid accessories and DIY recipes from Pascal the otter, I created a themed mermaid area on one of the rocks on the beach’s coast. I’m decorating the area with fish models made by Flick and other sea-life items.

Mermaid Isle
Mermaid Isle

Seventh Heaven Bar

I’ve been recreating the Seventh Heaven bar from Final Fantasy 7 with DIY recipes like the ice counter and arch, as well as a pinball machine and dartboard. I even made a custom design for the sign.


My girlfriend gave me the idea for this one: expanding the campsite with gear such as lamps, a fireplace, hammock bed, laundry area, and more! I also set up a smaller camping area with a sleeping bag on a tiny section of the island separated by rivers and waterfalls for a truly outdoorsy feel.


With the “western style stone” and other DIY recipes, I created a graveyard area decorated with Halloween items such as the pumpkin carriage, pumpkin table, and skeletons. I’ve added spooky elements and will decoraste it with costumes to give it a true Halloween feel!

Recreation Area

After acquiring recipes for exercise equipment, I made an area outside dedicated to working out! I keep expanding it with new equipment and plan to enclose it within simple panels.

Workout area


On one of the shore sections, I put out the lifeguard chair, surfboard, a beach chair, volleyball, beach towel, and lifesaver to create a small public beach area. Complete with a sandcastle, it’s the perfect place for my villagers to relax on the sand.

Personal beach

I love dreaming and visiting other islands. What have you done with yours? Comment below with your island code and I might give you a visit one night!

Oh hi there 👋 It’s nice to meet you.

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Published by Niki Fury

I'm a front-end developer by day, blogger by night. I write about fashion, gaming, makeup, and queerness.

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