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“Loved it!”

Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary
Ranked #9 of 144 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, Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities, Activities for young children, Food available for purchase
Bixby, Oklahoma
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Loved it!”
Reviewed July 30, 2014

This place is awesome! Staff knowledgeable and ready to answer questions. My 5 and 7 year old girls loved it! Would recommend a visit. Animals seemed well taken care of and enclosures we clean. Facility was nice. Not sure about bad reviews. Maybe someone from competition is posting? Would go again in a heartbeat!

Visited July 2014
2 Thank mommy1313
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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961 reviews from our community

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Bradenton, Florida, United States
Level 3 Contributor
24 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“I would not visit a 2nd time!!”
Reviewed July 23, 2014

Our group ranged from ages 4 to 58....it was good for everyone but is not a place that I would visit a second time. The best part was the goats and llamas petting zoo. It was fun feeding them. Even though the bears and tigers looked in good health, it is sad to see them confined to such small cages. I didn't particularly enjoyed the show. We visited July 11, 2014 and part of the demonstration included a tiger that had arrived to them 2 weeks before. It was in the process of being trained and I thought it was kind of irresponsible to put a new animal that the staff is just getting to know in that position. The bird show was the best part....I truly enjoyed that. Overall, the kids will enjoy. It's ok on a discounted price, definitely not worth full price but it is for a good cause.

Visited July 2014
5 Thank Jimena L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tampa, Florida
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Kids will love the big cats and bears! You will, too!”
Reviewed July 21, 2014

Big Cat Habitat in Sarasota is an amazing place where you can see several kinds of animals living out their retirement years. There are nearly two dozen big cats (tigers, lions and even a liger), some enormous bears, a few varieties of monkeys, parrots and cockatoos, and even a small petting zoo-type area with pygmy goats, llamas, a kangaroo, emus and other animals.

A covered walk-through adjoins the big cats' resting cages where you can see them up close (there is a double cage barrier) and the well-informed caretakers are more than happy to talk about each animal and answer all visitors' questions. These animal pens are attached to a large shady yard with a pond and fountain where each cat is rotated out regularly for exercise and enrichment. While we were there, several people took advantage of the offer to pay a few dollars to feed the cats a chunk of fresh meat on the end of a 6-ft metal rod through the bars. This is one of the ways Big Cat raises extra money for the animals' care.

A 60-minute "show" at 2pm is included in the price of admission, where some trained animals (we saw parrots, a chimp, and two of the tigers) perform a few simple, non-taxing behaviors for the crowd and the handlers talk about their background and why they do what they do. A donation can is passed around at the end, but there is absolutely no pressure to give.

The entire place was immaculately clean and all of the animals looked very healthy and well-fed.

The Habitat is not a "nature reserve" and does not pretend to be, it is a haven for retired wild animals that have lost their homes. I was happy to discover for myself that the glowing reviews on TripAdvisor were well-deserved. You can really tell the the owners care for deeply for the animals and that they give them excellent care. The few crank reviewers here seem to have absolutely NO understanding of where these animals come from or all that is involved in taking care of rescued wildlife that cannot be returned to the wild. These animals need a safe, clean, and secure place to live out their remaining years, and this is exactly what the owners of Big Cat Habitat are supplying.

Visited July 2014
3 Thank Deborah B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denham Springs, Louisiana
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“What a Great Place to Support”
Reviewed July 13, 2014 via mobile

This is definitely a MUST DO while in Sarasota! You're up close and the animals are in great health. There are a variety of animals there: birds, monkeys, bears, goats, fox and much more. The staff is very knowledgable and they all have a passion for what they do. Please go visit and make a donation. It's a great experience!

1 Thank Zeke N C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sarasota, Florida
Level 3 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed July 11, 2014 via mobile

Went to Big Cat Habitat in not the best weather but lucky the rain didn't pour on us while we were observing the animals. The show was amazing! The workers there are so dedicated to the animals it's truly fi nominal. I had a very fun time and everything there was deffinelty worth the time!

Visited July 2014
1 Thank Karson K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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