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“Bring your wallet!” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Dade City's WIld Things

Dade City's WIld Things
37237 Meridian Ave, Dade City, FL 33525
+1 352-567-9453
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Ranked #4 of 19 things to do in Dade City
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Attraction details
Owner description: Dade City's WIld Things is a non-profit sanctuary zoo and natural botanical gardens. Stop by and visit our Dade City Gift Shop, featuring a zoo animal theme, While waiting for our authentic trolley to take you on a short ride to the zoo to experience a once in a lifetime, walking tour of over 150 animal exhibits. Hours of Operation: Tues - Sat. Gift Shop & Ticket Sales: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM 'Sunken Jungle Trek' Tours: 9:30 AM and 2:00 PM. Also offer 'Jungle Safari riding Tour: 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM - 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM Visit our website for more info.
Tampa, Florida
Top Contributor
140 reviews 140 reviews
39 attraction reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
75 helpful votes 75 helpful votes
“Bring your wallet!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2013

Beautiful grounds and many types of animals to see. We had a Groupon so the cost was minimal...unless you wanted to pet the baby tigers OR wanted pictures of said petting. Each of those was extra $20-$25 to be exact for each. I'm not even sure how much it was to swim with the tigers, but it was an additional cost as well. You cannot take ANY pictures at all during the entire trip. Why? I don't know. My big concern is why does this attraction always have baby tigers? They are breeding them which I guess from an endangered standpoint, this is good, but to be bred to live the rest of your life in captivity is sad--especially when the cages they were in were not as large as they should be (in my opinion). Also, the misleading information about what causes some tigers to be white concerns me. The reason there are even white tigers is because they are inbred and they usually have some type of birth defects. This was not the entire story told here, they just mentioned a recessive gene. So, if you want to see animals, go, but honestly Big Cat Rescue in Tampa lets you take pictures and gives you a much better education about their cats (no other animals except cats however).

Visited June 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Tierra Verde, Florida
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4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Our 10th Anniversary was a "Wild Thing"!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2013

My husband and I love being around animals so he surprised me with a trip to Dade City's Wild Things for our 10th wedding anniversary on Sat. 6/22/13 . We spent the day starting with the 9:30 Sunken Jungle Tour then a tiger encounter and then a 1:30 SWIM with a tiger. It was an awesome day that I will never forget! The staff at the office were so organized, helpful & friendly and we enjoyed speaking with the trolley driver, who was also very nice and helpful. The entrance to the zoo is so cool and the zoo itself is very natural and a pleasure to walk around. The guides were friendly and knowledgeable, we enjoyed our tour with them. Just like I've heard, I thought some of the cages were too small for some of the larger animals...like the black bears...but I understand that some of them were rescued so this is most likely a better situation then they had before. And of course not being able to take a picture now and then is a disappointment...however the photo package that is included with the encounters and the SWIM is incredible...lots of pictures to download and choose from and they all came out great! I would have loved to take a couple of pictures of the lions tigers and monkeys during my tour though. The tiger encounter ( with little "Thunder") was so much fun..loved playing with his paws and rubbing his belly! When we went for our tiger swim with ("Rocky") we were very pleasantly surprised to be able to also feed and play the tiger before getting into the welcoming pool at that point! It was a beautiful clean pool that Rocky enjoyed getting into. He seemed to love being in the water and all of the attention! We loved every moment of this experience...the trainer was so friendly and great with the tigers...she made our time even more pleasant. The photographers were also great! This was a great day and worth spending the money on...especially since it is used to help feed and care for all these wonderful animals...I hope they are able to also use the money to provide some larger cages and maybe include some additional little things to see or do in between tours & swims. We would love to come back again someday and highly recommend Wild Things to everyone! Thank you for a wonderful Anniversary day!

Visited June 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
27 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
“Well worth the visit”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2013

Our family spent a few hours here and really enjoyed ourselves.

Pros:
1. Very unique attraction. You will never get this close to lions, tigers, baboons, bears, Florida Panthers at any other attraction. You wont find any other attraction where you can play and cuddle with a baby tiger, coyote, feed a bear etc
2. NO CROWDS! You tour with a group of 10-20 people during your stay, probably less in the low season. You never felt crowded. No lines .
3. Photo package is quite reasonable. $25 for the photographer to take photos of you. Its best to travel in a group because one photo package pays for all the photos (not per person)
4. The guides were very laid back and tried to get the animals to interact with the visitors. There was no "corporate" stiffness youll see at Disney, Busch Gardens or large zoos. The staff and owners have a better connection with their patrons
5. We appreciated the snack stations along the way. $1 soda and .50 cents snacks were really reasonable. They dont price gouge like EVERY other park youll visit

Cons:
1. 2 hours is too long to walk around for older people. There is too much standing while listening to the guide talk about a bird or a monkee. 1:20 would be more appropriate.
2. The gestapo staff wont let you make a phone call or Google something on your cell phone. I understand the no camera rule, they want to sell photo packages. But if someone already paid for the package, let us take a little video of our kid.

If youre visiting the Tampa/Orlando area, this park is well worth the visit. Book the basic package tour, and add at lease one animal encounter. The baby tiger is adorable. Patrons get about 20-30 minutes with the tiger which is split among the group. We had an awesome time.

We will always remember our visit to Dade City Wild Things

Visited June 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Port Orange, Florida
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“awesome experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2013

After reading the reviews, I was pleasantly surprised. Though not a "upscale" zoo with all the usual amenities, Wild Things was well run, all employees were friendly and knowledgeable and the animals seemed to be treated well. I have been to many zoos and have never been this close to tigers, bears, monkeys, lemurs and many other species. We did the walking Sunken Jungle tour, but I will happily return to do the tram tour also. The tiger cub encounter was well worth the extra $20. I would highly recommend this place to those who love animals and want to learn more about them up close and personal. Our guide was very knowledgeable as well as the girls who did our tiger encounter. The grounds were well manicured and shady. The only downfall was the no photos policy, but the photo package for the animal encounter was worth it. A very unique experience!

Visited June 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Top Contributor
297 reviews 297 reviews
117 attraction reviews
Reviews in 133 cities Reviews in 133 cities
462 helpful votes 462 helpful votes
“Not too wild about Wild Things. Pros and cons.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2013

If you like animals, and you have a car, Wild Things is worth the 80-minute drive west from Orlando to Dade City. We paid for the basic tour, as well as a couple of extra animal encounters. This place isn’t cheap, but it was a fairly unique experience, and I felt like it was worthwhile since we really like animals.

There are a few negative things I will mention, but please keep these remarks in perspective. Overall, it was still a great experience, and I definitely recommend it.

The place was a little hard to find. Their official location where you meet for your tour is just a little converted house on a small street. We drove past it twice because we were looking for some huge amusement park entrance! Anyway you meet at this little house, and then take a shuttle bus out to the actual animal park. I thought that setup was a little odd, and I’m not sure why they did it that way.

Here’s something that I found absolutely comical and ridiculous. Apparently, there is a rule that the tour guides need to always walk backwards in front of the group and face the people who are taking the tour. Sure, it make sense that when there is something significant to talk about, the guide should be facing the group so everyone can hear. And it also makes sense for the tour guide to generally keep an eye on everyone. However, when we are all just walking 100 yards from one area to another, it is pretty stupid to have the guide walk backwards the whole way! I didn’t mind because I could walk normally, but I felt bad for the guide! We couldn’t help laughing at how silly he looked! There are a lot of other places where you can be a guide without having to act like an idiot, so I can’t imagine why anyone would work here. (Maybe jobs are hard to find in Dade City.)

My biggest complaint was with respect to their photo policy. You aren’t allowed to take any pictures! This is obviously a money-making scheme so you are forced to pay high prices for their photographer to take pictures of you. However, the serious drawback is that the photographer will only take a few pictures at specific times (e.g. when you are actually interacting with the animals). For a significant part of the tour, you are riding in a tram, or walking around looking at the animals. The photographer isn’t taking many (or any) pictures of that part of the tour at all.

So, when the tram goes by the lion cage, and you would like a picture of the lion, you are out of luck! No pictures allowed! And the photographer isn’t going to take those types of pictures for you. So, basically you can’t have a picture of the lion. That’s crazy! The lion is just an example. Even if the photographer took a picture of the lion, they obviously are not going to take all the same pictures that you would want to be taking while you are riding and walking around. So you forced to spend a lot of money on pictures, and don’t get the pictures you want! I love taking lots of pictures, so this really sucked!

A better plan would be for them to say that if you buy the photo package, then you can also take your own pictures. That way, they aren’t losing any money, but you can still take pictures of the animals you pass on the tram ride, for example. I specifically asked if I could do this, and they said no. Whatever!

We also went to Gatorland in Orlando, where we did the trainer-for-a-day package. They DO allow people to take their own pictures. I ended up buying the photo package also, just so I would have even more pictures. That’s a much better setup! (Be sure to visit Gatorland, and I highly recommend the trainer-for-a-day! If you want to see manatees, go to Blue Springs State Park northeast of Orlando. And if you are ever on the west coast, I can also recommend the West Coast Game Park Safari in Oregon, and Safari West in California.)

Anyway, there were some things I didn’t like about Wild Things, but overall the good aspects outweighed the bad. If I could do it over, I would definitely still visit this place and do a couple of animal encounters. It was great to see the animals, and we had a really fun time.

Here’s one other general Orlando tip: We had booked a rental car with Advantage because they were cheap. However, when we arrived late in the evening, there was no sign of the Advantage shuttle, and nobody answered the phone when we called. A guy at one of the other counters said that the Advantage folks will sometimes ignore reservations, and just sell out all the cars as quickly as possible so they can go home early. There were a handful of other people standing around with Advantage reservations also, and we all ended up having to pay hundreds more for last-minute rentals at another company. Thankfully there were cars available!! My advice would be to go ahead and book a reservation with Advantage if they are the cheapest, but also make a back-up reservation somewhere else just in case.

Visited January 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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