Bear Creek was the highlight of my weekend trip to Panama City. The facility is located about 15 miles outside of Panama City and is in a semi-residential area (to Bear Creek's credit, they owned their property long before any of the surrounding houses cropped up), which at first can seem a little strange. Birdie and Jim live on sight, and everyone that works there volunteers their time. They are a 501 (c) and much of the care for these animals is paid for out-of-pocket. Tours are done on Sundays at 4pm and is a standard $20 donation per person. They have Bobcats, Florida Panthers, Iberian Lynxs, Jaguarundis, Servals, and 2 Geoffroys Cats. I believe its somewhere around 27 cats in total. You can get right up to the fences for all the cats and go in the enclosures with some of them. We layed on a blanket with 2 servals for nearly a half hour, it was incredible. The tour is at feeding time which is great to see. The bond that these people have with the cats is mind-blowing. I watched in awe as Jim layed down in the grass in the mountain lion enclosure and literally cuddled with the cat. Birdie raises all the babies in the house and has a jaguarundi that has a doggie door to come in the house whenever he pleases. They are knowledgable, friendly and clearly have a passion for these animals. The enclosures are large and well-kept. Nothing about this experience is sad or upsetting, these animals are loved and well taken care of. I would recommened this experience to anyone. It would be fine for a family, many of the volunteers had their kids there and they are allowed to go in with the animals as well. Its also my understanding that when there are cubs that you can play with them as well, although there weren't any when I was there. I will be going back to this facility anytime I'm in the Panama City area.
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