Our regular Day Tours are a great way to see the animals, but you never know if you will be on a tour with no other people or with a dozen other people. In some cases you may just not be able to make it at a regularly scheduled tour time.
Because we try harder to make sure your donations go to the animals, rather than staff, we rely on volunteers to give the tours. To make it worthwhile to pull our volunteers from the very necessary work of caring for the animals to give you a private tour we charge for the first person and per additional person. Please select a date above and click "Buy Tickets" for current pricing information.
These tours are one hour long and you see the same things you would see on a regular tour. The difference is that you have the tour guide all to yourself and you can see the cats that most interest you as well as have the opportunity to linger to take photographs. You can take photos and videos on all of our tours, but must keep up with the group. On Private Tours, you choose the route and pace.
For our Private Tours, you must buy tickets in advance.
Private tour with the Founder Carole Baskin are available as well! Click Buy Tickets for current pricing information. These tours are the same duration as the regular private tours (1 hour) and you see the same things you would see on a regular tour. The only difference is that you have the Founder, Carole Baskin, as your guide.
You can buy gift certificates for these Founder or Private Tours as well!
|Sort by:||Date Attended||Gender||Age||Where From||Group Type|
|mstemle718||Mon, May 11 10:00 AM||Female||30-39||Domestic Tourist(s)||Individual|
This was my first visit to the sanctuary, I chose a private tour to be able to take the time taking pictures of the cats. My guide Michael was very knowledgable and you could tell he enjoyed talking about the cats. I am already planning my next trip. Definitely the best highlight of my trip.
really fun and enthusiastic
|3cats85||Wed, Apr 29 10:00 AM||Male||Under 20||Domestic Tourist(s)||Family With Children|
The tour guide was super enthusiastic and really nice.
|dzuehlk||Wed, Apr 8 10:00 AM||Female||40-49||Domestic Tourist(s)||Family With Children|
We really enjoyed our visit to the Big Cat Sanctuary. The cats are so beautiful. The tour leader was so knowledgeable. Would recommend to anyone.
Great activity for anyone!
|reneea52||Mon, Apr 6 10:00 AM||Female||60-69||Domestic Tourist(s)||Family Without Children|
I highly recommend the private tour. Our guide was very knowledgeable, answered all our questions, and filled our brains with interesting facts. It was very clear that our guide loved all these animals that are cared for by Big Cat Rescue. Take your family and friends and help support this much needed rescue.
very informative and enjoyable photo tour
|gailminchew||Wed, Mar 25 10:00 AM||Female||50-59||Domestic Tourist(s)||Family Without Children|
Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about all of the cats and she answered all of our questions. We took our time and also took a lot of photos. It was amazing to see all the cats large and small. The cats are very well provided for and seemed very comfortable in their enclosures. They are doing a good job of educating everyone and taking care of cats of these cats. Some cats were retired from circus shows and some were seized from people who shouldn't have had them in the first place. We would highly recommend any and all of the tours they provide. The tour money they generate goes directly to providing food, veterinary care and whatever is needed for these cats. Please take the tour and help them help the cats.
Visiting BCR? Private Tour Review
|emcnicholas||Mon, Mar 9 10:00 AM||Unspecified||Unspecified||Local||Individual|
I was not to sure what to expect when going to BCR. Getting to the location is not hard, right off of the expy., and the parking was nice. I am not a crowd person per say, so I booked a private tour. I can not remember my tour guides name; sorry. However, she was a great guide. Also, those who were there working were very pleasant and take pride in what they are doing. The tour started a few minutes before the others/group, and ended about 15 min. past the cut off time. The guide was very well informed about all the animals we visited. In addition, any questions I had were answered. We saw a very good portion of the cats they have. The cats who were a little shy at first, the guide kept an eye on to see if they came out. If they did, we back tracked and said hello. When we came to a new location, I was surprised how curious the cats are, and how content they seem to be. My favorite of the cats is a 20+ yr. cougar, with arthritis (poor guy). This guy came down from his perch to say hello and put on a show as well. He had fun with one of the plants and made some playful sounds for us that had the workers, my tour guide, plus myself laughing. I asked about medical treatment for the cats, this cougar specifically, and received good information. The guide was good about giving me extra time to observe specific cats I like. You will most likely, never come as close as you do to these majestic animals anywhere else; except, maybe in the wild. The living areas are of good size, and the vacation areas which are larger, are very nice; the cats probably love them. I say vacation areas because they are currently building a second one. The care these cats received while I was there and what is observed through the info. videos as well, is amazing! While I do not agree with all the views of BCR, they were never pushy about them. I went during my spring break, and I honestly can say I could not think of a better way to spend money when vacationing. All of the money goes towards the cats! I will be bringing my family with me next time. Keep up the great work BCR!
Ps. For those who itemize, I believe the tickets are deductible! Charity for the cats! (I am Not a tax expert)
Highly recommend private tour
|Partygal14||Wed, Feb 11 10:00 AM||Female||40-49||Unspecified||Unspecified|
I had a great tour guide & she took her time showing me around, talked to the cats & that got some of them to come a little closer to say hello! It really is amazing to see them up close like this which makes you really just how big some of them really are. It was also really nice to see the work they are doing with expanding some of the areas.
|TheKid1||Mon, Dec 22, 14 9:00 AM||Male||30-39||Combination||Family With Children|
Karma was our guide, she was very knowledgable, answered all of our questions and told us many things about the cats. She gave us great information about each type of cat and also info about each individual cat like where it came from and how its behavior had changed since being in the sanctuary. My daughter is very interested in big cats and the sanctuary itself and she gave my daughter contacts and information of who to contact. She also gave us information to help pass the big cat protection act. We will definitely be returning. Thank you for an amazing experience.
Enjoyed Private Photo Tour
|NancyArmitag||Fri, Dec 5, 14 10:00 AM||Female||Unspecified||Local||Group of Friends|
We had a great tour guide who provided interesting background information. He did not rush us; he let us set the pace, but did remind us when he thought we might want to move on to make the most of our time. It is wonderful to have a private tour and be able to monopolize the tour guide for your own questions/answers. It is wonderful not to be rushed through the tour in a group. You will most likely have cage wire in your photos, but they tell you that right up front. There is nothing they can do about that - you can't get into the cages with the cats! It's still very worth it!
Wonderful people, wonderful place.
|MKPOSS||Fri, Nov 28, 14 11:00 AM||Female||60-69||Combination||Family Without Children|
It was a surprisingly cold morning in Tampa, so the cats were mainly sunning themselves. It was great to see the personalities that I have read about and watched in videos. As a big supporter, I wanted to see for my own eyes the good work that BCR does.
- What is the difference between a Private Photo Tour and other tours?
- Private Photo Tours are designed for professional and serious amateur photographers who want to get great shots of the animals. The cats live in beautifully landscaped enclosures complete with trees, flowers, grass, and in some cases lakes, ponds and waterfalls. We do not “handle” the cats for photographers; instead, participants in the photo tour follow the guide around to different enclosures while we look for animals that are already “posing” for pictures. Sometimes treats are given to the animals to coax them into different areas of their enclosures. We never guarantee a shot because we don't force any animal to do anything.
- Will I have an unobstructed view of the cats?
- Due to safety regulations we cannot allow you close enough to the cats to stick your lens though the 4" x 4" wire mesh. (Anyone who does is violating USDA guidelines, unless the cat is wired or chained down and we really hope you won't support those kinds of places!) You and your camera must stay at least 5 feet from the side walls of the enclosures. If you have a professional zoom lens, you can often focus through the wire to the cat. If you are not using professional grade equipment, you will have cage wire in your photographs.
- Do I have to buy tickets in advance for the private tour?
- 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.
- Can children come on Private Tours?
- Yes, children of any age may come on Private Tours at the same adult rate above of $65 per additional child.
- Do you have strollers?
- We do not provide strollers and our paths are earthen, so they can be very difficult to push unless they are made for rough terrain.
- 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.
- 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.
- What if it rains?
- The 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 my non-photographer companions have to pay?
- Everyone on the Private Tour must pay, even if they are not taking photos.
- 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.
- 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.
- There is no smoking allowed at Big Cat Rescue.
- We do not allow smoking 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.
- If you purchased a donation Extra, please take note of the following:
- Big Cat Rescue is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, FEID 59-3330495. Note that we do not utilize professional solicitors, so 100% of your donation goes to Big Cat Rescue and supporting the cats and stopping the abuse. A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION FOR BIG CAT RESCUE, A FL-BASED NONPROFIT CORPORATION (REGISTRATION NO. CH 11409), MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE 1-800-435-7352 WITHIN THE STATE OR BY VISITING www.800helpfla.com. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.
Big Cat Rescue
Big Cat Rescue has a dozen 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, a Geoffroy Cat and exotic cat 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