St. Augustine Wild Reserve, Saint Augustine
Categories: Wildlife Areas, Nature & Parks
Take a guided tour of St. Augustine Wild Reserve, a rescue center for abandoned and confiscated exotic animals, from tiny birds to African lions and tigers. You'll be introduced to each of the species through basic biology facts and individual life stories. You'll have a chance to get up close with most of the animals, including wild cats, wolves, hyenas, numerous bird species, and a very rare golden tabby tiger. Depending on the tour, you may witness animal feedings, tiger bubble baths, or both. Reserve your spot as early in advance as possible to ensure availability. Plan your visit to St. Augustine Wild Reserve and a wealth of other attractions, well-known and undiscovered, using our Saint Augustine vacation generator.
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We have visited twice and will go again. The animals were born in captivity and were rescued by the reserve. Many were placed here by Florida Fish and Wildlife. Dedicated and knowledgeable volunteers.... read more »
This is a very cool place to go, you can tell that all the people that work and volunteer there truly love and care for all the animals. There are stories of where all the animals came from, informati... read more »
My husband and I braved the tour in the rains leading up to hurricane Matthew - And so glad we did! What an amazing experience. So informative. Our guide was awesome and full of knowledge about the an... read more »
An unforgettable experience I will never ever forget these animals, they are very happy. Very loved. The way they react with the staff you know that they have a bond with the people caring for them. Our tour guide was amazing. It was very hot and they made sure everyone was comfortable and keeping hydrated, I thought that was very nice. Love to Deborah the founder of this beautiful sanctuary! Didn't get to meet her but if I had I probably would have teared up. What amazing people and animals!!!
Amazing experience! The tour guide was very informative. The animals are well cared for and magnificent creatures. Highly recommend this place!
Amazing. Well worth the time. You must have reservations, which you can make on their website. We learned so much. $30/person was absolutely a fair price for the 2 hour tour of rescued big cats and other exotic animals.
I was apprehensive about visiting this place as the only thing I knew about it was that they give their cats 'lavender scented bubble baths' which made me concerned that it might be a facility that treats them like pets or worse drugs them for entertainment. I was pleasantly surprised! This sanctuary is a volunteer run facility that is doing their best to provide these exotic animals a place to peacefully live out their lives after having a bumpy start (people trying to own them as pets or used when cute babies in entertainment then discarded when older seeming to be the most common). Our tour was very interesting, educational, and its clear that these people love these animals and are doing their best for them. I have to say, the Ligers were my favorite part - BIG boys! A couple things... -The enclosures are quite small. Our guide explained to us that they are actually larger then law requires for exotics (which that is heartbreaking) and they are starting to take steps to build larger enclosures for their cats (they recently built a larger one for one fella raising money through Go Fund Me). The larger enclosures are great as the cats actually have the opportunity to run around and I hope they keep on working to enlarge them all! -One thing they didn't talk about on the tour (and I didn't think to ask) was what they are doing enrichment-wise for the animals. I'm curious if they do anything to keep these guys mentally stimulated, be it hiding food/food puzzles, scent enrichment, training, etc. If not, I hope that is something they incorporate soon (I bet they could get a student or professional in animal behavior to volunteer to help teach them some enrichment activities) as that would really enhance the quality of life for these animals. -Finally - **the reason for 4 stars** - I did not find it at all entertaining how they 'displayed' certain animals food aggression. It was mentioned that they wanted to show that these aren't big cuddly toys and that if you get in between them and their food... cue roar. That is fine, and a good message to send, but when you have a 'professional' standing at a tigers food, TAUNTING them ("I'm gonna get your food! I'm gonna get it, grrr!") to try and get them to 'perform' that is not acceptable. These animals were supposed to have LEFT the entertainment industry. What kind of message are you sending to visitors? Not one of respect. I was extremely disappointed by that behavior, especially since when you do that you are essentially training these animals to behave that way. As an owner of a pet who has food aggression and has done a lot of training to get away from outburst reactions, it makes me sad to see an educational facility essentially train their animals to have that outburst. Again, I think some exotic animal behavior training/mentorship would be beneficial for this facility. In all, I think this facility has their heart in the right place and is working hard to give these animals that are by-products of a crappy system/situation a better second life, and that is admirable. With more funding and professional insights I think St Augustine Wild Reserve would be able to really flourish.
This was a great learning experience for everyone. We got to see the animals up close and watch them interact with humans. The animals are well taken care of and each had a 'story' of how they ended up in a sanctuary. I'm glad places like these are available for animals.
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