Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary

Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary, Sarasota: Hours, Address, Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary Reviews: 4.5/5

Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary

Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary
4.5
Nature & Wildlife Areas • Zoos
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Friday
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
About
Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Our mission is to provide a safe, loving and permanent home for exotic and domestic animals in need, and to educate our guests on the importance of species preservation to ensure the survival of these magnificent animals for future generations. We are firmly committed to keeping alive the Human-Animal connection in our world and in our community. Our goal is to create habitats that mimic native environments and are complete with a staff that can provide daily behavioral, sensory, and manipulative enrichment which is the basis for a happy healthy animal in human care. As we grow and open our habitat to more rescues we will provide the same excellent care while educating the public. We are wheelchair accessible and have limited wheelchairs on-site available for guest use.
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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What is Travelers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travelers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
Popular mentions

4.5
1,399 reviews
Excellent
991
Very good
267
Average
78
Poor
19
Terrible
44

beechbum530
naples, fl38 contributions
Feb 2021
Really fun place to visit with or without kids. Up close to animals who appear well treated and a chance for the young ones to pet safely small animals. Admission price is fair and allow at least two hours including a well produced show. Volunteers all around to answer questions and unlike most other parks food is reasonably priced and actually tastes good.

One small concern we found was at show, inside a building, large numbers of Amish and Mennonites refused to wear masks and officials supervising said nothing despite signs requiring.
Written February 26, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for your review! On behalf of the animals we appreciate your support! Thank you for your feedback!
Written July 18, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

PeterandLindaD
St. Augustine, FL176 contributions
Aug 2021
Place not to be missed by anybody who likes animals, perfect for families. This is a non-profit wild animal rescue facility, not to be confused with the Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, no affiliation or connection. There are beautiful and majestic Bengal Tigers,
lions, monkeys, camels, and other wild animals, many roaming in open areas. There is a petting farm for children to enjoy. There are 2 shows, one with colorful macaw parrots and one with the tigers, both very entertaining. You need to plan your visit, as this place is open only Friday - Sunday, 12:00 noon to 4:00 PM.
Written September 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for your wonderful review! We are glad that you and your family enjoyed your time with us! We are grateful for supporters like you! We hope to have you all back again soon. Take care!
Written September 25, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Divinewine
Old Lyme, CT48 contributions
Jan 2022 • Couples
My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of this sanctuary. It is a small facility that we took three hours to enjoy including the two shows. We took time watching the monkeys eating their lunch and the many tigers and bears who were active and not sleeping in some corner. Some of the animals are in smaller quarters but the staff rotates the species in larger facilities every day. The animals looked healthy, well fed and watered, and very clean and odorless. Enjoyed our afternoon and recommend a visit. Kids will love it.
Written January 14, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Terry K
1 contribution
Jan 2022
Although they are trying to do the right thing and people are a necessary evil to keep these places going to give the animals a better life; However if it is at the cost of making the animals perform, and entertain people then they are better off not being in this world at all. The lion was pacing back and forth on the pavement, a bear was pacing back and forth on top of the wall of his pool area, Boo the bear was made to stand to show his height every time people paid to feed him some fruit. Just felt like a zoo with food to purchase and pony rides and performing animals. If you like zoos and don't mind animals living like this then go for it but if you truly love animals and care about how they live out the rest of their lives then do not go. We paid the money to get in and left a handsome donation behind but the more we talked about our experience we tried to feel good about it but just could not.
Written January 24, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Christine S
Northampton, MA3 contributions
Feb 2020 • Family
I wish I’d known before we visited that we’d see many animals in small sad enclosures. Many in isolation. Many states with stronger laws wouldn’t allow such a place to operate. The big cats are in small cages with limited time and space to roam. Bears fed hot dogs so they’ll stand on their feet for people to take pictures. Daily shows with animals being shown as in a circus that has been discouraged for years. We expected to see animals in their natural habitats with lots of information about them and about the rescue efforts of the organization. Nothing at all like that. In fact the signs about the animals were old or missing. Very sad place for animals. They need to be rescued. Not to mention it was unsanitary for people with gross temporary bathrooms, unclean tables with birds landing on them, and standing in the hot sun to see anything. Seems like its nonprofit status should be scrutinized along with its unethical treatment of animals. Sad!
Written February 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

The Traveler
Fort Pierce, FL203 contributions
Mar 2020 • Couples
I believe the price was approximately $18 per person. There was so many different animals with a small petting zoo, bathrooms and a station to hand wash after petting the animals (goats) & food.
All of the animals looked very well taken care of. The staff was very informative. This is a more up close experience than I've ever had & one of the best experiences!
I would say it is absolutely recommended and worth your time to visit if you are in the area.
Written March 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
We are glad that you enjoyed your time with us! Thank you for your review! On behalf of the animals we appreciate your support!
Written March 18, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

David M
56 contributions
Sep 2019
The Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary is a very interesting place to visit. Family owned and run, you can see Ligers - a cross between a Lion and a Tiger and other large Lions, Tigers, Camels, and so much more. There is a show with trained rescued dogs, tigers and a chimpanzee. All of the animals have been rescued.

Have seen a lot of local school field trip students during my visits. This sanctuary is literally in the backyards of some homes nearby. Easy to get to from I75 and anywhere in Sarasota.

Best time to visit is in late fall through April during the cooler months. Kids will like seeing the animals.
Written January 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for visiting us and for your review! On behalf of the animals we appreciate your support!
Written March 18, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

nateschneck
St. Petersburg, FL2 contributions
Apr 2021 • Friends
With a large group of friends, we enjoyed a show at the habitat and checked out the entire area. Coolest animal experience ever. They provide a great environment and wonderful services for their animals. Highly recommend a visit!!
Written April 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
We are glad that you enjoyed your time with us! Thank you for your review! On behalf of the animals we appreciate your support!
Written July 18, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Anthony D
Western Ireland, Ireland133 contributions
Jan 2020 • Family
An excellent way to spend 4 hours with kids AND adults. Lots of beautiful, well maintained animals and facilities. while the two daily shows are very entertaining, 50% of he big Cat show was spent soliciting support and donations. I understand the need for the plea for support but the kids get very antsy. nevertheless, a well spent entertaining afternoon. BTW, the arena facility is air conditioned.
Written January 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for visiting us and for your review! On behalf of the animals we appreciate your support!
Written March 18, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Planktos15
Florida150 contributions
Mar 2020
We are so disappointed we did not research this attraction before arrival. This place is misleading, it is a circus, not a big cat habitat and sanctuary. There are so many tigers kept in extremely small cages. The monkey cages are clearly not cleaned on a daily basis. Please take your kids to real zoos and animal sanctuaries. The performance in the afternoon began with a message from the founder trying to discourage people from believing animal rights groups, it was so uncomfortable. Especially because it's not that difficult to find evidence of the violations collected by this place over the years. They are trying to convince the public that what they are doing is rescuing exotic animals but they are really just trying to protect their livelihoods putting animals on display without much care for the animals' well-being. There is no information available for folks to see where each animal came from and when, further putting their motives into question. We love Sarasota but this is an embarrassment for the city!
Written March 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
All of our animals are well taken care of and loved. We do not have any violations from the USDA or Florida Fish and Wildlife, in fact our facility which is regulated by both not only meets, but exceeds all the government standards of care! Our animals are rotated throughout the day into their outdoor habitats. It is unfortunate that you did not understand the purpose of our educational animal demonstrations. In these demonstrations, we not only educate our guests about the individual animals but also about the importance of conservation of these magnificent animal species and their habitats for the future. Animal husbandry and enhancements are important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle for animals in human care. In our dialogue, we do not tell you who you should donate to; in fact, we encourage you to do your own research when deciding which animal organizations you chose to support. This way, you are informed on how your donation is being used. We believe in supporting organizations that support caring for animals throughout their lives, not in the ones that believe in euthanasia.
Written July 7, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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