No where else can you get this close, interact with such a wide variety of wild cats, and support a great cause at the same time.
The Keeper Tour includes:
- Enrichment: You'll make toys and treats for the cats to stimulate an animals’ activity level and watch as keeper hands out what you’ve made. Observe the animals’ reactions as they investigate their enrichment that you helped create for them.
- Operant conditioning: You'll witness a training session between the cats & keepers. During this activity you will accompany our keepers who will teach critical behaviors to one of our feline residents, such as go into lock out, stand up so we can observe the paws and underside, and much more!
- History: You'll learn the history behind our furry friends and how they came to call Big Cat Rescue home. In addition, you'll also hear the story of why Big Cat Rescue was founded, as you take a guided mini tour of the 55 acre sanctuary.
Each Behind the Big Cat Scenes Adventure is unique and different, so you never know fully what to expect, besides a roaring good time!
The tour is available on Saturdays and Sundays from 2pm - 4pm. Space for this program is extremely limited prepayment is required. Participants in the Big Cat Expedition must be 10 years of age or older.
|Sort by:||Date Attended||Gender||Age||Where From||Group Type|
EXCELLENT but pricey
|SteveHC1||Sat, Oct 11 2:00 PM||Male||60-69||Local||Family With Children|
The Big Cat Rescue in Tampa is a WONDERFUL place to visit as an alternative to a typical zoo. Their "Keeper Tour" *is* excellent but pricey - with tax etc. it comes to $127/person for an in-depth tour of a stated length of two hours; while their basic 1.5-hr tour is only about $37 or so. Other than the difference in length of time - my Keeper Tour actually went well over the two hours - each Keeper Tour is a much smaller group tour and is led by a Master Animal Keeper plus a couple of assistants and/or interns. No petting, touching, etc. of the cats is allowed, and the animal caging is designed such that it keeps both the animals and visitors VERY safe. As the Rescue is a true non-profit that utilizes a good number of volunteer workers and what revenue and donations it gets pretty much goes straight to their rescue and care of their big cats, the tour fee should be considered to be a donation (but tax-wise is not, as I understand it, because you get a service - the tour - in exchange for your money).
Don't miss this chance!
|Jonescat||Sun, Sep 28 2:00 PM||Female||50-59||Domestic Tourist(s)||Other|
This tour gives you the rare chance to observe the cats interacting with their keeper, through actions, vocalizations, and even some learned behaviors. You actually see each resident up close, as they all come to the edge of their habitats to receive the treats that you help make. The master keeper is very patient ( with felines and humans), as well as informative and interesting. You can feel the love these folks have for these cats. While it brought me to tears to hear the sad stories of how they were treated in their former homes, knowing how well cared for, loved, and respected they are here warms the heart.
Wow up close and personal!
|taxhelpcente||Sat, Sep 27 2:00 PM||Female||40-49||Domestic Tourist(s)||Group of Friends|
I Enthusiastically Recommended Big Cat Rescue, every cat has a story and a personality that you get to see up close.
A tour that everyone will enjoy no matter what age
|VickiDizney||Sun, Sep 14 2:00 PM||Female||50-59||Domestic Tourist(s)||Individual|
The Keeper Tour was amazing. Regina and Karma and Stacy were our tour guides. An up close view of the cats, watching them as they engage with the keepers and their playful behavior with the enrichment that was made by the guests on the tour. This tour was loaded with lots of details about these wonderful creatures and their individual stories. All of our questions were answered and a lot of information was learned. Very educational and personally rewarding. The people who volunteer here are exceptional and dedicated. Very knowledgeable staff, very friendly and engaging. I recommend this tour.
|rickt5570||Sun, Sep 14 2:00 PM||Male||40-49||Domestic Tourist(s)||Family Without Children|
My wife and I immensely enjoyed the tour. The Keeper Tour is a bit costly. However, when you consider what you are supporting, it is money well spent. We saw some beautiful cats and learned some interesting facts during our tour. Hats off to the staff. The vast majority are not paid for their work. I would consider one of the lesser expensive options in the future to see how it compares.
Absolutely Fantastic Experience!
|cathykeating||Sat, Aug 30 2:00 PM||Female||40-49||Domestic Tourist(s)||Family With Children|
I brought my daughter over from Orlando for a Keeper Tour as a 13th birthday gift. It was out first visit to BCR and she had been looking forward to it for 2 months. I cannot even begin to express how much we enjoyed our tour. My daughter had many questions and comments for the keeper and she answered them all, never making us feel rushed, but still moving us through with enough time to see everything. Seeing the animals in the habitats up close and watching them enjoy the enrichment toys we had help make was such a treat and it really allowed us to see the playful side of these magnificent creatures. Honestly, I just cannot say enough wonderful things about BCR. My daughter said it was her best birthday ever and she cannot wait to go back. Nothing I write in a review will do BCR true justice, you must see it for yourself. Please go visit these beautiful creatures for yourself!!!!
Very worthwhile endeavor by Big Cat Rescue
|asibbald||Sat, Aug 16 2:00 PM||Male||50-59||Domestic Tourist(s)||Unspecified|
We had a wonderful time the keepers were very knowledgeable and enthusiastic we'll be back and recommend the tour to others.
Awesome! Entire family enjoyed it immensely.
|Drmeow||Sun, Aug 10 2:00 PM||Female||50-59||Domestic Tourist(s)||Family With Children|
My son ( 12) asked a ton of questions and we learned a lot. Had such an awesome experience Getting to see the big cats up close and playing with the enrichment toys we got to help make. Highly recommend this tour, worth every penny and felt good to be helping the big cats. Really enjoyed The gift shop too. Very reasonable prices.
informative but heard mixed reviews with media
|joannefatta||Sun, Jul 13 2:00 PM||Female||50-59||Domestic Tourist(s)||Family With Children|
Enjoyed but not sure of mixed media reviews...was hoping and praying was true concerned sanctuary.
Unique experience essential for cat lovers
|davidewers||Sun, Jul 13 2:00 PM||Female||Under 20||International Tourist(s)||Family Without Children|
Great, super accommodating staff. Their dedication and enthusiasm to their work shines through every aspect of our visit. During the keeper tour we got to experience sights we'll never forget. The work they do here is so important in saving the lives of so many abused or neglected big cats, they need all our support. The price for the tour is well worth it in this respect. If you get the chance while on vacation nearby don't miss it.
- Do I have to purchase tickets in advance?
- Advance purchase is required, and tours do sell out quickly. To maximize your chances of getting the day that you prefer, please book well in advance! Tickets can be purchased online or over the phone with a Visa, Mastercard, or American Express.
- Is there an age limit?
- Children under 10 years old are not permitted due to the dangerous nature of this tour. Kids 10 years of age or older are welcome to attend as long as they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. We do not make exceptions, no matter how well behaved you think your child is; only ages 10 and over on this tour. All attendees must purchase a full-price ticket. All attendees must purchase a full-price ticket.
- Can I bring food or toys for the cats?
- No, our diet is specific to their needs and we do not allow foods to be given to the cats that have not been approved by our vet and maintained under the most stringent quality controls. We do not give our cats toys that could cause harm if ingested so we do not permit toys from outside our own preselected vendors.
- Do you sell food or drinks at the sanctuary? Is there a place to have lunch before the tour?
- Yes, we offer drinks and snacks on site, but you are welcome to bring your own, for your consumption only. You will not be allowed to provide the cats food, treats or toys.
- Can I take pictures during my tour?
- YES! You are welcome to take photos and / or videos during your tour.
- Do I have to stay with the group, or can I wander?
- The only way to see the cats is on a guided tour, so you will not be able to wander away from the group.
- Are there restrooms?
- Yes, but we strongly suggest that you go before you get here because we have limited facilities and are on septic systems which cannot handle a lot of volume if there has been recent rain. There is a McDonald's right at the corner of Easy Street, and you could use the restrooms there before the tour.
- What if it rains?
- The Keeper Tour will still go out in a light rain as long as there is no lightning. If it is thundering or pouring rain, we may try to wait it out, or will offer a refund, or rescheduling.
- Can I bring my pet?
- Is there a charge for parking?
- Parking is always free and there is plenty of it except for our busiest times in Nov, Dec and March. During these busy times it is tight, but we will help you park at no additional fee.
- Are you ADA compliant?
- If you are unable to walk for two hours, we have golf carts available for $10 extra, per person riding. Our paths are dirt, so wheel chairs are hard to push, but scooters do well. There are no seats along the tour paths.
- How do the golf carts work? Are they offered on every tour?
- On some tours (but not all), we offer seats on a golf cart for guests who have difficulty with mobility. Each cart can hold 3 guests plus the driver. The cart will follow the tour guide closely so that guests can hear the narration. Depending on different circumstances, these seats can sometimes be booked in advance, but otherwise they are first come-first serve.
- Do you have a gift shop?
- Yes we do! The Trading Post Gift Shop is right here at our location.
- Do you offer gift certificates?
- Yes! Gift certificates are available and they make perfect gifts for holidays, birthdays or any other occasion! To purchase a gift certificate please click on the "Gift Certificates: Purchase" link in the box above.
- Do you offer private tours?
- Yes! To inquire further, please click on the "Contact BigCatRescue" link on the upper left hand side.
- What does the Big Cat Rescue Release and Hold Harmless Agreement state?
- The Big Cat Rescue Release and Hold Harmless Agreement states that all buyers understand and agree to 1.) the potential dangers associated with attending Big Cat Rescue and the rules in place to prevent such dangers from occurring and 2.) the Release and Hold Harmless Agreement, which states that Big Cat Rescue cannot be held responsible for any harm, injury or damage taking place at Big Cat Rescue. Please visit https://www.votervoice.net/BCR/campaigns/30112/respond to view the agreement in its entirety.
- Non-refundable, can be rescheduled with 24 hours notice.
- Once purchased, tickets cannot be refunded. You may reschedule your tickets (subject to availability) only if you do so at least 24 hours in advance.
- Activity may be cancelled due to severe weather.
- The activity usually runs in light rain and other moderate weather conditions, but the seller may cancel the activity up to an hour before the start time in the event of severe or unsafe weather conditions. If the seller cancels the event, ticket-holders will be allowed to reschedule tickets (subject to availability) or receive credit for a future event.
- All participants must be 10 years of age or older.
- Children under 10 years old are not permitted due to the dangerous nature of this tour. Children 10-17 years old are welcome to attend as long as they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.
- No Smoking
- No Smoking is allowed at Big Cat Rescue, except in the parking lot.
- All participants must agree to the Big Cat Rescue Release and Hold Harmless Agreement.
- By purchasing tickets you are agreeing to the Big Cat Rescue Release and Hold Harmless Agreement, which appears in its entirety at https://www.votervoice.net/BCR/campaigns/30112/respond. The waiver web address also appears on your e-ticket if you would like to review the waiver later.
Big Cat Rescue
Big Cat Rescue has 14 species of cats, many of whom are threatened, endangered or extinct now in the wild, including: Tigers, Lions, Leopards, Cougars, Bobcats, Lynx, Servals, Ocelots, Caracals, Jungle Cats, Leopard Cats, a Geoffroy Cat and Hybrids!
The non-profit organization is:
- Accredited by the Global Federation of Sanctuaries
- Certified by Independent Charities of America as a “Best in America Charity”
- Member of the World Society for Protection of Animals
- Rated 4 Stars by Charity Navigator (their highest rating) and has the one of the highest scores of any animal based charity