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“Educational on different levels”

St. Augustine Wild Reserve
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The St. Augustine Wild Reserve offers tours on an appointment-only basis. Tours are held in the afternoon, on Mon, Wed, and Sat at 2pm. Email to make reservations. Children under 5 are free. Guests will be given a guided tour of the compound by an experienced wildlife professional. An introduction to each species, basic biology, and how the species arrived at our sanctuary will be discussed in detail. Visitors will be allowed a close-up view of the exotic animals, and will be able to venture closer to adult African lions and tigers than they ever imagined. Guests will meet our amazing white tigers, orange tigers, a very rare golden tabby tiger, cougars, servals, lynxes, leopards, hyenas, coati mundis, and a host of wolves ranging in color from black to white. We feed all of the big cats on the tours, and set up a tiger bubblebath for at least one tiger. We do not allow photography, however, we do offer a fabulous photo CD for a small donation.
Reviewed July 4, 2013

If you are a cat lover, or work for any type of animal rescue, or animal breeder (or just love animals) and want something more educational without the typical zoo cage and small sign with a paragraph about the animal, this is the place for you. I wasn't sure what the set up was for this tour so we got there as early as we could. It had rained so the soil was muddy. They do tell you to wear tennis shoes or boots, I strongly suggest no sandals or flip flops because of muddy and puddled areas. About 75 (maybe) or so people sign in and fill out consent forms. During the wait they take out a very large python for the guests to touch and hold and tell them about it (Buttercup). It was HOT outside and they do offer water (free) and umbrellas and a ride on the golf cart incase you get tired of walking or just too hot to walk. The guide was very professional and the volunteers were also very nice and professional. The experience I got out of the tour was that the people who work there are dedicated to the animals. These animals were owned by people who should not have obtained them and unfortunately could not care for them properly. Some were seized by the state of Florida due to mistreatment and improper licensing. They showed us how sweet the animals could be by kissing them and the animal on their backs wanting their bellies rubbed, but the minute you put food in front of(some of) them, they could become very aggressive to the point of severely hurting you. I felt that they gave us educational information about the animals there and how these animals do not belong in the hands of people just wanting them as pets. It was completely safe and I feel that the people who work there were very careful when feeding, petting, kissing, and interacting with the animals. I will visit again. The animals were very well taken care of and loved. I do not recommend this tour for young children (toddlers) or anyone who thinks this is a zoo setting.

3  Thank TrinaFifeLake
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"beautiful animals"
in 151 reviews
"big cats"
in 209 reviews
"bubble bath"
in 80 reviews
"lions and tigers"
in 55 reviews
"love animals"
in 48 reviews
"animal lovers"
in 43 reviews
"non profit"
in 34 reviews
"wet towels"
in 29 reviews
"golf cart"
in 78 reviews
"feed the animals"
in 23 reviews
"their lives"
in 39 reviews
"money goes"
in 17 reviews
"hour tour"
in 49 reviews
"once in a lifetime"
in 19 reviews
"two hours"
in 54 reviews
"an amazing experience"
in 33 reviews
"amazing tour"
in 18 reviews

1,286 - 1,290 of 1,438 reviews

Reviewed July 2, 2013

Cat lovers owe it to themselves to visit the St. Augustine Wild Reserve. What a rush to see 500+ lb. tigers playing just like my 3 kitties! Except mine are a little less stand-offish at feeding time... Skip the zoo and arrange for a tour here, you will not be disappointed. Our tour was a little choppy due to some pesky thunderstorms, but we managed to get it all in. My wife and I were prepared with umbrellas and hiking boots, and you should be too. Insect repellent is also a wise move.

On the tour you are typically no further than 5-feet away from the animals, literally front-row! The animals really know the staff and volunteers very well, and each cat certainly has a favorite among their humans! Lions, tigers, (no bears), leopards, pumas, servals, wolves, a lynx, and a couple of hyenas are among the beautiful animals that you will meet. They all know that tours equal food, so all the animals are quite attentive! We even had the opportunity to play with Nairobi, a six-month-old lion cub, after the tour completed. When was the last time you petted a lion???

Keep in mind that this is a working wildlife reserve, not a public zoo. You might step in some mud puddles, especially in the summertime. You are on your feet moving for a couple of hours on what could be rocky, muddy, uneven terrain. Also, these are wild animals. When it comes to their food, you aren't getting any of it. They will let you know that. Think of the MGM lion, but 5-feet from you, and real! A couple small kids cried. Just saying.

In conclusion, please come out and support these wonderful folks who have dedicated their lives to the care and rehabilitation of these animals. And don't forget to get a picture CD of all the gorgeous animals at the end of the tour!

2  Thank Joel S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 29, 2013

Wow, this place was amazing as were the people that cared for these animals.
Just common folks living their dreams rescuing and caring for these animals that need love and homes.
These people are so down to earth, just wanting to bring awareness to these animals and trying to make a buck only to give them the best care possible.
Our family loved this reserve. Please visit and support this organization and what they are doing.
Thanks agsing for a life experiences I will never forget.
Kaber family

Thank kmkbpk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 25, 2013 via mobile

Despite the 90 degree day, my family and I really enjoyed the reserve. The volunteers did a great job accomodating the heat and the stories about all the different personalities of the animals and how the came to the reserve was really interesting. You will never get this close to these kinds of animals--especially while they are active!

My only negative comment would be that there were a lot of us that day and it was hard sometimes to get a good view of the animals.

1  Thank chicagoarchitect
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 20, 2013

My wife and I visited this reserve yesterday. Finding this location was no problem, though the entrance drive is narrow so drive slow. The parking is on grass near the stock room. This is NOT a zoo! All the animals here are permanent residents and can not be released for various reasons. The tour takes a slow start as you wait for all the guests on the tour to turn up. The staff take great pride in these animals and you can hear and see the affection they have for the animals and the animals for them. My wife and I witnessed a 600 pound cat roll over for a belly rub from a volunteer - simply amazing! The requested donation is $25 per adult and well worth it. My wife and I also left some food donations for them. I strongly suggest you bring some frozen water bottles with you - the water WILL melt in the heat, although they do offer you cold water and umbrellas, as well as offering water from a hose to cool you down. There is a Wallgreens a short drive from the Reserve also to purchase anything you may need - like another cold drink. They do have a port-a-potty on site, but we did not use this. This is not a zoo experience. It is a Wildlife reserve, bear this in mind and you will have a great day!

3  Thank martok78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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