Human beings have many advantages over cats, including language, opposable thumbs, and the ability to knit without becoming transfixed by the ball of yarn. Enjoy natural advantages with this Groupon: for $30, you get admission for four to Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary in Sarasota (up to a $60 value). Discounts are available for children, and active military members are admitted for free.
Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary, a nonprofit haven for exotic animals in need, gives humans the opportunity to interact with lions, tigers, bears, and other wild critters in safe, humane surroundings. Guests will see siberian and royal bengal tigers, african lions, and rare white tigers as the animals roam through spacious indoor and outdoor habitat complexes, splash through swimming pools, and compete for territory in ongoing games of animal Monopoly.
Count the stripes on tiger siblings Tigger, Nelson, and Baby as they paw at toys such as boomer balls and Connect Four, or puzzle over the existence of Mia, the sanctuary’s liger, who was born from a star-crossed match between a lion and a bengal tiger. The sanctuary also houses bears, primates, and tortoises.
Big Cat Habitat
Whether furry, feathered, scaly, or smooth-skinned, the residents of Big Cat Habitat are all family. Founder Kay Rosaire is an eighth-generation animal trainer, and her father, Derrick Rosaire Sr., appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show with his companion Tony the Wonder Horse. He also trained Gentle Ben, the bear from the show of the same name.
Along with their human relatives, the Rosaires preside over a household of more than a dozen tigers, eight lions, two ligers, a troop of lemurs, and several tortoises. With their nonprofit wildlife sanctuary, the Rosaires hope to educate the public about the importance of habitat preservation and to help foster an appreciation for these animals.
They do this with guided tours and training sessions, which allow visitors to watch the big cats respond to verbal commands from the trainers and receive a tasty treat in return. Training takes place in the cooler months, which ensures the animals don’t overheat and the snow cone treats they are rewarded with stay frozen. Guided tours of the facility are scheduled year-round.