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“Close to Lions/Tigers”

Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary
Ranked #1 of 172 things to do in Jacksonville
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our mission is to provide a safe, loving, forever home for endangered big cats, and to educate the public about their plight in the wild and captivity. We do not breed, sell, or trade any of our animals. Our current residents include tigers, lions, cougars, leopards, bobcats, foxes, and coatimundis (the last two are "honorary cats"). We are only open on select days, and last admittance is 45 minutes before closing,
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Food available for purchase, Wheelchair access, Bathroom facilities
Saint Augustine Beach, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
139 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“Close to Lions/Tigers”
Reviewed November 10, 2012

You get to get very close to lions and tigers and other big cats. One of the best things I have done in Jacksonville. My wife and I went during feeding time. Truly awesome.

Visited April 2012
Helpful?
6 Thank ybselgo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Palm Bay, Florida
Level 1 Contributor
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Time well spent”
Reviewed November 8, 2012

My daughter and grandaughter and I visited Catty Shack last month. We were impressed with the total dedication of the volunteers and loved watching the cats watch us..I am glad to know that even though these animals have had a difficult life, there are people who really care. It is also good to know that donations really do go for the cats care Catty Shack - you are near purrrrrfect!

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
4 Thank Patsy39_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jennadelane, Volunteer at Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary, responded to this review, December 3, 2012
Thank you so much for your kind words! We absolutely love and adore each of our animals! And you're absolutely right, 100% of the money that comes into Catty Shack goes directly towards the care of our animals. We have no paid staff, everyone, including our vets, are volunteers! And we are always looking for more volunteers, so if you or anyone you know would be interested we would love to have you! Thanks again
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“So glad I found cattyshack!!”
Reviewed November 1, 2012

I have been to catty shack three times this past year! It makes for a great family outing. My six year old daughter had a blast at the Haunted Forest this year and loves watching the animals. Its a great alternative to the zoo as you can get up close to the animals and can see them at night when they are more active. The staff is always very informative and friendly. I have never been disappointed!!! Thank you catty shack for sharing your beautiful animals with us!

Helpful?
6 Thank NickiLeddy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Wonderful experience”
Reviewed October 28, 2012

Great place. You will not be disappointed! Watching these beautiful creatures interact with the caretakers and each other is just amazing. Listening to them communicate is worth the trip.

Helpful?
6 Thank Daphodillie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacksonville, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
106 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“I don't get it.”
Reviewed October 21, 2012

After reading the great reviews I have literally been waiting to get to Catty Shack for months telling practically everyone I know how great it's supposed to be. Finally I made it to the haunted forest on Friday and am truly saddened to give a negative report. While I respect the mission of this organization and do not doubt their passion and commitment to taking care of big cats, I was disappointed in the small cage sizes and thought the price of admission was too high for what you get to see. It was touching that Catty Shack rescued a mentally ill tiger (probably a product of forced incestuous breeding, per a caretaker) but hated the fact they kept revving a motorcycle to get him to roar because he didn't know better and had not adjusted to the sound like the other cats who did not roar. Perhaps the big-picture aim of Catty Shack is to increase awareness about big cats and the need for rescue and in order to do that they need to let guests get up-close-and-personal which requires small cages, but I'd much rather see animals in more natural habitats where they can run and jump with less limits - even if that meant a view that wasn't as great. One caretaker told me the black leopard could jump 21 feet from a laying down position but didn't offer a reason as to why the cage was only 10-15 feet tall. If the Catty Shack is truly helping big cats, I think they need more informational signs to promote understanding that might help guests like me see past the less-than-ideal cage sizes and general environment.

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
7 Thank Mellebell A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jennadelane, Volunteer at Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary, responded to this review, October 22, 2012
Thank you for coming out to the ranch and for telling people about us! I would like to clear up what seems to be a misunderstanding/misinformation. We do not have any mentally ill animals at the ranch and I apologize if you were told this misinformation. As for the motorcycle, that was a prop for the haunted forest only to add to the Halloween atmosphere and not intended to illicit any roars or sounds from any of our animals (our lions actually love it and frequently respond to any loud sirens or engines that pass by). As for the enclosure sizes, all of our enclosures are well above the minimum set by federal and state laws. We are working on creating additional larger, more natural enclosures like the newest ones we have built toward the back of the ranch. But I am sure you can appreciate the cost involved with building enclosures of that size. It takes us a while to build up the funds for the larger enclosures, but it is absolutely a priority of ours. New leopard enclosures are actually the very next thing on our list to build! The health and happiness of our animals is the most important thing in the world to us, we love each of them and dedicate our lives to them (we are all volunteers). I can assure you that they are very happy and very well cared for! There are educational signs posted throughout the ranch and, on a typical day at the ranch (the haunted forest is a special event) each visitor is taken on a tour by an educated tour guide who gives the stories of each animal and general facts about the different kinds of animals that we have. I hope you'll come back to experience one of those tours and learn more about the ranch and the animals in residence. Thanks again for visiting, the entrance fee is a donation and 100% of the funds go directly to the animals (including their enclosures)!
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