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 today’s Groupon: for $25, you get a four-ticket package to Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary in Sarasota (up to a $60 value). Big Cat Sanctuary and Habitat is open Wednesday–Sunday from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Discounts are available for children, and active members of the military 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. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. for the sunset safari, in which animals show off their playful personalities and impressive athletic abilities while expert trainers teach guests about each creature's habits and habitats. 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, tortoises, and coatimundies, the estranged South American cousins of local raccoons.
Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary
The Rosaires preside over a household of more than a 100 animals, including tigers, lions, ligers, lemurs, tortoises, camels, llamas, and zebras. A petting zoo is available for children. 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.