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“Great place - Hard to Find”

Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary
Ranked #8 of 141 things to do in Sarasota
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary provides a sanctuary "for life" for the exotic animals currently calling the sanctuary home. 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 captivity. As we grow and open our habitat to more rescues we will provide the same excellent care while educating the public.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children, Food available for purchase, Activities for young children
Longboat Key, Florida
Level Contributor
73 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Great place - Hard to Find”
Reviewed April 23, 2012

You can Feed the Animals
The Directions on their brochure are screwed up

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
Thank Jeffrey C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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919 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“People that Actually Love Animals”
Reviewed April 23, 2012

I went and saw the habitat after seeing their website. The tigers and lions at this place are big and healthy and happy. There were some women there that told us all the cat's names and educated us a lot on how soon these cats will be extinct if the world doesn't start making a point to save them. I didn't realize how few are really left.

What touched me the most is how much these women loved these cats and how the cats responded to them. The cats lit up and came right to them. It was amazing!

The moment that got me a bit choked up is asked this tiny woman if she touches the cats or goes in with them and she explained to me that as much as she would like to she never goes beyond the cage because if she got hurt the cat could end up paying for her mistake and that she would rather die than let any of them get hurt. That is true love and devotion.

There are so many animal to see and so much love between the staff and the animals. It was a magical moment for my family and I and I highly recommend you go see these lions, tigers, bears, birds, monkeys and camels. There is so much to see!.

Visited April 2012
Helpful?
3 Thank Joanne M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Queenstown, New Zealand
Level Contributor
438 reviews
104 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 559 helpful votes
“Hidden Gem in Sarasota”
Reviewed April 23, 2012

I've lived in Manatee County for 21 years and never knew this place was here. I was directed here by an old military buddy who knows the owners of Big Cat Habitat. It reminds more than a little of the circus museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

They have a collection of animals (all rescued from zoos and private owners) that include lions, tigers, ligers, bears, roos, goats, monkeys, birds and much more. On weekends they have a show where they talk about the work they do and also perform with the animals. There's a wonderful show with Shetland ponies, a monkey and the pi'ece de resistance is a delightful exhibition of 8 big cats where Clayton, the young trainer, explains his methodology in working with the animals.

I asked him which of the cats was the smartest and he immediately said; "Mia". This female liger is a stunning animal but look into her eyes and you can see the wheels turning big time. All in all it was a great time. There's a petting zoo for kids so I would say that including the show, which is only done on weekends, the place is good for 3 to 4 hours visiting time. You can get close enough to the critters for great pictures. While I was there I saw 3 tiger cubs surrounded by a horde of tourist paparazzi and loving every minute.

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank Michael R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sarasota, Florida
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“The Big Fundraiser Show”
Reviewed April 9, 2012

This is the best entertainment for the money!!!!!! And the ticket price supports the animals (I can't imagine what it costs to feed, house and medically care for all those animals but they do it and all the animals are healty and well cared for). You can visit the habitat year round but definitely go to the big show in February!!!!

Visited February 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Cheryl34618
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
26 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Surprisingly Good Exhibits”
Reviewed April 5, 2012

We took our 6 yr old granddaughter here & really enjoyed seeing the big cats, not to mention the bears & assorted baby goats & other "rescued" animals. it was a delight to find this place & recommend it highly to families.

Visited May 2011
Helpful?
1 Thank kels1948
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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