It's difficult to see a wild cat every day because their natural burrows, deep within the walls of post offices, are lined with toxic packing peanuts. Glimpse kitties' more-pleasant hideaways with today's Groupon: for $12, you get one ticket for a guided tour of the large-cat sanctuary at Big Cat Rescue. See the schedule for weekday, weekend, and kids’ tours here. The kids’ tour is geared toward those under 10 and has a $15 value per person for that age bracket; for the weekday and weekend tours, ticket holders must be 10 or older.
The 45-acre educational sanctuary at Big Cat Rescue is a permanent home to more than 100 large cats rescued from unlivable circumstances. The sanctuary hosts numerous cat species, including lions and tigers and not any bears. During the hour-and-a-half walking tour, guests can quiz their knowledgeable tour guide on general cat facts, the history of the sanctuary, and the person- or feline-alities of each resident. Cameron the lion and his companion, Zabu the tiger, roam a three-acre enclosure in inspiring cross-species harmony. Armani the leopard is a retired model, having appeared on the pages of Glamour and People magazines, who arrived at the sanctuary with her equally good-looking sister Jade. Because walking 45 acres is not possible in an hour and a half, each tour will only see a portion of the facility and some of its many residents.
Founder Carole Baskin began Big Cat Rescue after bringing home an unwanted bobcat kitten, an event that triggered a domino effect on the life of the Baskin family. After they went on to rescue a whole cadre of lynx and bobcat kittens from a Minnesota fur farm, the sanctuary officially sprang to life. The volunteers and staff at Big Cat Rescue are now committed to giving rescued cats the best care they can while educating the public about how impossible it is to keep these gorgeous animals as pets at home. So swing by for an up-close gander at these majestic creatures, and bring along friends, family, or an entire troop of wild-animal deniers who believe that no life exists outside the confines of skyscrapers and shopping malls.
Not valid for feeding tour.
Big Cat Rescue was featured in the St. Petersburg Times and the Neighborhood News & Lifestyles. Yahoo! Travelers give it a four-star average, and TripAdvisors give it an average rating of 4.5 owl eyes:
- All of these cats now have a permanent, safe and quiet home, complete with toys, good food and medical care. – Willow Hecht, Neighborhood News & Lifestyles
- Better than any zoo! – imdella2, TripAdvisor
- The tour was something I will never forget and the children couldn't stop talking about it for weeks. – A Yahoo! Contributor
Big Cat Rescue
Founder Carole Baskin never dreamt she'd one day oversee a 55-acre sanctuary inhabited by some of Earth's largest cats. In 1992, she and her late husband were at an exotic-animal auction seeking out llamas for their farm. A man had a 6-month-old bobcat that he could no longer care for, and the pair decided to give it a place to call home. They then traveled to a bobcat breeder for another playmate, but upon seeing the horrible conditions the animals were kept in, they bought all 56 kittens. They rehabilitated them back to health, and gave them permanent homes on their then-40-acre site. Soon, word of her knack for nurturing spread beyond the Tampa area, and callers began donating abandoned or orphaned cats. Her mission to save these animals also reached the ears and hearts of many celebrities, including contributors Harrison Ford and Bo Derek.
After 20 years of hard work and learning, Carole is still caring for abused and abandoned big cats at her rescue site, accommodating more than 100 medium and large creatures from bengal tigers and black leopards to lynx and lions. Her staff of volunteers helps care for the animals and leads groups in tours that educate visitors on the plight of these animals both in the wild and in captivity.
12802 Easy St.
Tampa, Florida 33625Get Directions