Big Cat Rescue

Big Cat Rescue, Tampa: Address, Phone Number, Big Cat Rescue Reviews: 4.5/5

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Big Cat Rescue

Big Cat Rescue
4.5
Nature & Wildlife Areas • Zoos
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Currently we are not having any visitors at the sanctuary. At some point we will resume doing small private tours, but we don’t know when and we plan to be very conservative in making that decision. We don’t know if we will ever resume doing general public tours again. Even after the virus concerns subside, the betrayal by the liars who produced Tiger King, and the lies viewers were told in the series, creates a concern about having visitors we do not know. Fortunately people who already knew the sanctuary quickly recognized the lies in Tiger King and have been wonderfully supportive, both emotionally with your messages and with your donations. There is really no way to convey how much we have appreciated both of these kinds of support.
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Tours and Tickets

Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
2,224 reviews
Excellent
1,750
Very good
318
Average
103
Poor
20
Terrible
33

Emily L
Southern Pines, NC68 contributions
I was in Tampa for a few days visiting a friend, so we had to choose what things to do and what things to skip. This was high on our list since he had lived there for a few years and never been. If you can only do one animal experience while you're in Tampa, choose this one. You can see a zoo or aquarium anywhere. This place is special.

We did the standard day tour, it was $39/adult, which seems steep but all of the money goes to the care of the cats, so I'm not mad. You're taken on a small group tour around the facility (15-20 people) and they tell you about each cat individually as you go. A lot of the stories of how they acquired the cats are quite sad, so while all ages can visit I wouldn't take small children.

You can tell the whole facility is truly about the wellbeing of the animals. The habitats are quite large and have places for the cats to be away from the public if they're not feeling social. One of the cats doesn't enjoy being near other cats (while most of them are all in solo habitats they're within sightline of other cats), so they put here back in the back by herself where she seems quite happy. It's truly a special place. I wouldn't hesitate to go back for an after dark, photo, or feeding tour.

Also note: The person I was with has an allergy to cats and it flared up during the tour, so if you're allergic, definitely pack your benadryl!
Written January 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Andrea W
Duluth, GA11 contributions
We took a day tour of the Big Cat Rescue on 12/27/2019. You need to make reservations in advance and be part of a tour to visit. This in itself is telling, because it lets you know that Big Cat Rescue puts the cats first. Visitors must be guided. The cats all live in large, sprawling enclosures, and if they don't want to come out and be seen, that's how it is. But don't worry, because there will be plenty of cats to see along the beautiful habitat pathways. Everyone has a headset, and the stories of the cats can be adapted to each tour based upon which ones you see. Our tour guide was Gina, and she was smart, friendly, and absolutely passionate and compassionate about the big cats. Many of the stories are heartbreaking, and it is horrible to know that our country has very little regulation about citizens keeping large cats in small backyard cages. But the ones who live at Big Cat Rescue are very fortunate, and the more visitors come here, the more word can spread about how we can help. Our tour was 1.5 hours (starting earlier than our 3:00 scheduled time because enough people were already there), and there is also a great gift shop. The tiger Max touched my heart because he is still shy and scared, so I bought his picture on a keychain. The grounds here are impeccably clean and everything is so fresh. It was a beautiful tour. There is even a 2.5 acre space for the big cats to go on vacation! If you are in Tampa, please go see the big cats!!!
Written January 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

bots99
Daytona Beach, FL88 contributions
Everything at this location is top notch. The helpful, informative, dedicated staff at every level were there to share information, answer questions, anticipate needs and make this an exceptional experience. Even the volunteers out on the grounds cleaning enclosures & repairing catitats were warm & welcoming.Our guide Liz was an extremely personable young lady with years of experience and a wealth of knowledge. She and our young golf cart driver, an intern whose name I didn;t catch, knew each cat, their personalities, quirks and histories. The tour included their explanations and a short computer story played thru headsets at each enclosure with details about the residents.If you have mobility issues, reserve a golf cart when you make your reservation. It made the day so much more enjoyable for me. The gift shop offered many high quality, reasonably priced items. The message conveyed by this organization is one dear to my heart, and they are passionate and rational in the delivery. The beauty of these animals is undeniable. The devotion of the staff to their well-being and the information they share to avoid in the future these gorgeous creatures having to be cared for in this facility is fantastic.
Written January 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Cathikilian_1
Port Richey, FL26 contributions
Couples
So much fun! This was a guided tour of the rescue, and these tours are given anot every 20-30 minutes throughout the day Monday through Saturday. The Big Cat Rescue doesn't only rescue cats in Florida, they take cats from other states as well, and give them permanent homes for the remainder of their lives. These are animals rescued, not just in the wild, but from people who have removed wild cats from their native territory, or from people who have bought them (whether legally or not) and then abused or neglected them, and from zoo's or other rescue organizations who have overflow problems. They also have what they call the "kitten house", where they work in conjunction with the Humane Society to find homes for domestic kittens.

This rescue does such amazing work! If you have the opportunity, whether you're a Tampa Bay resident, or a visitor from somewhere else, you should plan a visit! Give yourself a minimum of 2 hours, and bring a few extra $ for the gift shop.

** If you are disabled, they provide the tour to you from the comfort of a golf cart. They also have devices for the hearing impaired.

Please visit to support this worthy cause. You won't be disappointed.
Written February 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mary P
Hernando, FL78 contributions
This is a totally amazing facility. All the cats, big and small, are rescue cats and they all live in well-constructed “homes” with ample space. The cats even have space to “disappear” when they choose. The intern docent who led our tour was very well informed. Having the audio portion was also informative. The highlight was getting to look the cats right in the eye—an awesome experience. I especially enjoyed seeing the cats in the “vacation” area with so much acreage to run around—a clever concept well executed. The shop offered very nice souvenirs and we were reminded to be advocates for a new bill in Congress that bans private ownership of exotic cats.
Written January 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

jemgk
3 contributions
Arranged tour for group of 8. Arrangements were easy to make on their website. Everyone enjoyed the tour and seeing the cats that were available for viewing. Volunteers led each tour and had good knowledge of the animals. Also had devices for each person to hear info at most of the animal enclosures.

Tour was supposed to be 1 1/2 hours, but we were finished in one hour. Perhaps the extra time was to enable answering guests questions, but it felt a bit short. Never the less we were all happy with the experience and highly recommend it to anyone interested in big cats. The facilities (entry area and gift shop) had been enlarged and improved since our last visit a few years ago.

They are to be commended for the work they do caring for and providing permanent home for these animals, many of which had been horribly mistreated.
Written February 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

S P
Lake County, FL12 contributions
It's unfortunate that this place even has to exist, but it does and the crew here do an amazing job of taking care of/rescuing these big cats who would have otherwise certainly had a very dire existence. Some of the stories that brought them here are absolutely heartbreaking. We went on the feeding tour and the day tour, both were excellent and educational.
If you love animals as much as I do, then this is a MUST SEE! And just knowing the funds from your visit goes straight back into caring for these guys makes it all the better!
Don't listen to the negative reviews, they come from the kind of folks who enjoy more of a zoo setting, not what this place is about thank goodness!!!
Will definitely be back again.
Written February 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

TAA
2 contributions
Couples
Extremely informative! Beautiful Big Cats... all staff are educated, informative & helpful. SUGGESTION; once a Month, during the FULL MOON, host a Big Cats at Night!! See these beautiful cats in their nocturnal environment... highly recommend this activity.
Written January 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Brian B
Plymouth, MN3 contributions
We recently visited Big Cat Rescue. It was amazing! Sue was our lead and did an awesome job getting the Cats out to where we could see them - especially the Ocelot that doesn't like to come out during the day. They are very conscious of the animals and this is a no touch facility. I was impressed with how much space the cats have. Awesome experience!
Written January 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Maggie
1 contribution
Friends
Took my brother there as a Christmas gift. We live close to Big Cat Rescue and they always show the best things on tv and in ads. We walked quite a ways before we saw any animals. Most that we did see were sleeping and we were rushed along. The girl that did our tour started talking before the whole group had got together and stopped walking and you could not hear her at all so we missed out on a lot. We returned to the end point a half hour early as we were on an hour and a half tour. Very disappointed.
Written January 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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