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Big Cat Rescue, Tampa
(4.2/5 based on 1,200+ reviews on the web)
A nonprofit sanctuary for rescued wildcats, Big Cat Rescue is home to more than 100 big cats, such as tigers, bobcats, and a liger. The shelter has rescued many abused or abandoned wildcats, including Skip the bobcat, which came in with a broken pelvis. Skip's surgery and recovery was made possible through donations from people who saw his story on Facebook and other social media sites. Take a day tour, night tour, or even a feeding tour of the rescue center. Just be sure to book online or call the center in advance if you would like to visit. Use our Tampa vacation generator to add Big Cat Rescue and other attractions to your Tampa vacation plans.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • My husband and I went for the 3:00 day tour and found it very informational and enlightening to learn about all the cats that are here. All are rescues and well taken care of and living great lives no...  more »
  • I love the big cats. I have been disappointed in their made up stories. I get their monthly magazine and the stories are a little less than truthful in most cases. 
  • My husband and I arrived not knowing what to expect. We were happy to see the great care and attention to detail that they have with the cats. This is a great organization and I found myself wishing t...  more »
Google
  • Humanity at its best. Nature, habitat, and destiny are things we take for granted, including myself. A walk in the park, a drive to our favorite restaurants, socializing with friends and family--all are part of our natural well-being. For animals, like these amazing cats, that well-being includes running, hunting, and being free in the wild. One of the definitions for the word wild is "not subject to restraint or regulation." To them, that is rolling around in grass and roaming the unknown, enjoying the pursuit of curiosity and freedom. Sounds a lot like myself. Big Cat Rescue does everything it can with what it has, and the accomplishments of the staff are amazing. The very fact that they have a 2.5-acre playground for big cats (and a smaller one for littler cats) to provide a natural environment for the happiness of these animals is heart-warming. I saw some of the coolest cats I have ever seen in my life. If you are a fan of animals you will enjoy it. I do have to comment that the stops are a bit rushed, since there are many cats to see, so it felt like there was not enough time to sit and admire them as much as I would have liked. Enjoy.
  • My fiance and I made arrangements to do the feeding tour in the morning. Our guides were absolutely wonderful and so knowledgeable. I am so happy these cats have a safe haven after all the abuses they have suffered, to live out their lives in peace, unlike some places that continue the abuse the big cats by allowing visitors to handle them for photo ops and swim with the cats. Yes that is a form of abuse! Please keep up the good work. Rest assured, we will be back again and again until the trade in large cats has ended. Thank you so much for all the good work you are doing.
  • I have been to Johannesburg, Africa working with South African Brewery. They took me on a tour to a national park which was a natural habitat for wild animals of Africa. It was fantastic. I know this is totally different from what you have, but still the conditions and size of cages and all the water??? I live in St.Petersburg, Florida and my wife ask if I wanted to go to Big Cat Rescue for my Bday 10\19\2016. So I went to the web via google search and clicked on the Big Cat Rescue Ad and clicked on see inside. I clicked on the pictures of the places they are kept and was quite taken back by the conditions. I double clicked on the picture of the cat cage and was taken to a BCR watch site and looked at pictures taken by a Juan Garcia Of BCR. I grew up on a 1800 acre cattle ranch and love animals. Everyday I woke up and had to ride horses to go check on different areas of the ranch. Our cattle pins were bigger than what I saw in these pictures and our cattle had cover to go lay down if it rained. Yes it was muddy in the lower sections of the pins, but cattle love mud just like pigs. From looking at the small cages and the looks on the animals faces we both decided not to go Friday. It made us so sad just to see the pictures that seeing this in person I would not have enjoyed it. I don't know who to believe after reading all these reviews, but just looking at the pictures and growing up around animals in the country I cant go. I know it may be better than what they may have had, but for people sponsoring these animals and the entry fee & seeing the future learning center, WOW, why don't you spend more money and make bigger cages that are more in tune to their real habitat. I really hope that what I read is true because the conditions of what you have these cats in, they look like they would be happier if you just put them to sleep. I am glad that you are trying to do something whatever that may be, but it is not human as far as this country boy sees it.
  • Excellent nonprofit with a wonderful mission! I am so glad they exist to rescue and rehabilitate all kinds of exotic cats. The tickets for the tour are pricey but totally worth paying for, not only because the tour was great, but also because all purchases made at BCR are what make the entire organization possible! I was surprised to learn that there are over 100 volunteers doing most of the work with the animals. Thank you Big Cat Rescue for everything you do! I was happy to call Senator Leahy's office afterward to encourage him to support the Big Cat Safety Act. Be warned: the tour is 90 minutes in length, on foot, in the Florida heat! There are water stops along the way, but wear good shoes and use the restroom BEFORE it starts (arrive early if possible). I didn't have any problems but these thoughts ran through my mind as the tour progressed.
  • What a great organization and a great experience! We have loved following them on social media and YouTube and were thrilled to be able to finally visit. We took the day tour, which has recorded descriptions of the cats and an intern to lead it. That was cool, but the Night Eyes tour was amazing! Led by keepers who really knew the cats and told us lots of in depth information. So informative and enjoyable. Definitely worth the trip!