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“A unique wildlife experience”

Conservators Center
Ranked #1 of 27 things to do in Burlington
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Have you ever looked a tiger in the eye? Felt the whole-body impact of lions roaring? Watched wolves romp through the woods? These and other once-in-a-lifetime experiences are possible at the Conservators' Center, a wildlife conservancy for more than 80 animals. An "oofing" at the Conservators' Center is an experience you'll have to feel to believe. It's the earth-shaking sound our lion prides make when they roar to one another. Our guides call to them on every tour, and you may have the opportunity to hear them from as close as 5 feet away! You'll also get up close and personal with tigers, leopards, wolves, lemurs, binturongs, and other exotic species. Tours, adoptions, memberships, and other donations support our work, so every visit from you helps us help them. Tours are held every weekend as well as some holidays. We have private experiences and field trips during the week. RESERVATIONS REQUIRED! PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE TO GET A RESERVATION FOR YOUR TOUR!
Reviewed December 1, 2012

My husband and I toured the center the day after Thanksgiving. The tour takes a couple of hours at an easy pace. Our guide was very informative and helpful. This is not a 'zoo' experience - it's quite different. The focus at the center is primarily big cats. But there are also some wolves, a couple lemurs, binturongs foxes and singing dogs. Our tour was at 11 am, and it was feeding time at the center. If you're squeamish you may want to avoid feeding time. The animals that eat whole animals in the wild are fed whole dead animals at the center. The leopards had just been given a couple of whole rabbits when we got to their enclosure and, believe me, they enjoy their meals!

There is a large enclosure with a mixed pride of lions and tigers. Again, we got there right at feeding time. The cats are locked in a small holding enclosure while the handlers set up the feeding stations in the main pin. We were standing close to a lion couple in one of the holding pins. When they opened the door to let them into the feeding area, let me tell you, you really get an understanding of just how powerful these guys are! They moved so fast and with such power into the feeding pin it was quite exhilarating. Then, there's the 'oofing'. Wow! This is a social thing they do in the wild. The guide made a few 'oofing' sounds to see if they would chime in. It was incredible - the whole park came alive with this loud, powerful music!

Like I said earlier, this is not a zoo experience. Most of the animals are rescued in one way or another. The guide told us time and again of an animal's individual story of having been a house pet to someone. Unbelievable that people think they can care for and manage these wonderful wild animals at their home. Regulation varies state by state, and NC really has very few laws against owning wild animals. There is legislation under review in NC now, however, it's basically a zero tolerance bill that would even ban organizations like the Conservator's Center from keeping and caring for these animals. There should be a common sense approach to this type of legislation. The Center is doing good work.

The tours are the primary source of funding for the center. They also take sponsorships of the animals. The tours are small, about 20 people at a time. You must schedule an appointment in advance, so don't just show up or you won't get in. It's a great experience that you'll not soon forget. Highly recommended for all ages.

3  Thank td193
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"big cats"
in 33 reviews
"lions and tigers"
in 22 reviews
"our tour guide"
in 23 reviews
"singing dogs"
in 13 reviews
"their website"
in 12 reviews
"adult tour"
in 8 reviews
"love animals"
in 8 reviews
"golf cart"
in 8 reviews
"wear comfortable shoes"
in 7 reviews
"gift shop"
in 9 reviews
"amazing animals"
in 6 reviews
"unique experience"
in 5 reviews
"nc zoo"
in 4 reviews
"safe distance"
in 3 reviews
"great family outing"
in 3 reviews
"male lion"
in 2 reviews
"fell in love"
in 2 reviews

177 - 181 of 195 reviews

Reviewed October 21, 2012

Had a Great time and the kids seemed to enjoy it too. I found a special on Groupon! Much better than the NC Zoo! I would go again. We looked up directions on Google Maps and glad that we did, so not to miss the turn.

1  Thank e D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 14, 2012

Bought this special find on Groupon. What an incredible tour. Never in my life had I expected to be so up close and personal with lions and tigers. The people there do a great job. It was just the best and intend to recommend to all.

1  Thank Sandra C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2012

This place is a true gem full of animals and people that love them. We did the Twilight Tour with Frank and it was great. All the animals were awake and alert. No straining to catch a glimpse of a tuft of sleeping fur like at the zoo. He even fed some treats. The wolves howled for us and the lions roared. A+++
Kudos to the owners and hard working volunteers!!

2  Thank SherrieARC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 28, 2012

After discovering this center through a Groupon, my husband and I traveled out this morning for a lovely trip. We were pleasantly surprised by this amazing hidden gem. Our tour leader, John David, was patient and enthusiastic about working with our tour group. He shared valuable information about the animals, where they came from, how they are supported, and the special "enrichment" that they get. We were so lucky to see so many active animals, everything from tigers and foxes and servals to the beautiful and relatively unknown binturongs. They offer a number of different tours, and I have a feeling that we'll be back shortly for another visit. Not too far from "civilization" past the Mebane outlets, either!

3  Thank valie520
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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