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|
|DonaAramini||Mon, Jan 25 9:00 AM||Female||60-69||Local||Family Without Children|
This was my 5th trip to big cat rescue. The personal tour, just 3 people was wonderful. Very informative, was well worth the extra cost. And of course the money goes for the animals.
Bring the big lens
|StudioButeo||Tue, Jan 19 10:00 AM||Female||50-59||Domestic Tourist(s)||Individual|
I had a wonderful private tour with Pam and was able to zero in on the animals I was interested in photographing. I wish I had brought a bigger lens, as I was hoping to collect reference photos for my artwork. While most of the images I was able to capture are great, if you don't want the fencing in your photo, you'll need a big lens to zoom past it.I really enjoyed being able to see all the big and smaller cats in person. I really appreciate the work Big Cat Rescue does and am happy to have supported their work. But unlike some other rescue places, Big Cat puts the animals first, not the photographers. That's fine, just know it going in.
A must for animal lovers
|cdnracefan||Wed, Jan 13 11:00 AM||Unspecified||Unspecified||Unspecified||Unspecified|
Any tour at Big Cat Rescue is worthwhile, (this is our 2nd. Private and we have also done the Public Tour and the Keeper Tour in the past) but the Private Tour is our favourite as it gives you a more thorough understanding of their work, and allows you to be a bit more selective in which cats you see and you have a guide all to yourself for your questions. We specifically choose the Tampa Bay area for our winter vacation so we can include a visit to Big Cat. Potential visitors to Big Cat must remember though that BIg Cat is a Sanctuary, not a Zoo - which means the animals are not forced to be where you can see them - they have large enclosures and lots of places to hide, so if they don't want to be seen you won't see them. However, some of the cats are quite personable & seem to not mind having visitors, so you will see some. A hint would be to go on a cooler day if possible, not unlike we humans, the cats get pretty lazy on hot, humid days.
We had a great tour and guide
|shrloc||Mon, Dec 28, 15 11:00 AM||Female||50-59||Domestic Tourist(s)||Family Without Children|
My parents and I took a private tour of Big Cat Rescue. Because my dad has difficulties walking we used a golf cart.
The guide was very friendly and knowledgeable. The cat had had breakfast so some were active and some were not. that said we got to see many of the cats one or two were completely invisible, typical cats. We did learn a lot about how the cats are cared for.
It was easy to see that the rescues puts a lot of time and effort into the care and keeping of the cats. Their living areas were large and spacious. I could see that many cats have newly constructed perches and platforms built in amongst the natural trees and brush.
We highly recommend going to see the rescue. Please keep in mind that this is a rescue and viewing the animals as they are. They will be there for you to see or not. They are cats being cats. They will not come when called. Some of them however really do seem interesting in seeing you as much as you seeing them.
|MKrepop||Wed, Dec 2, 15 10:00 AM||Female||30-39||Local||Individual|
This was my second time at Big Cat Rescue, but the first time I'd ever had a private tour. My tour guide was Pam, and she was very friendly, knowledgeable, and accommodating. I was able to see all the specific cats I wanted to see. Big Cat Rescue is such an amazing organization. The cats are beautiful, and not exploited in any way. Truly an awesome experience, worth every penny.
Great tour of an amazing sanctuary
|Mandrik||Mon, Nov 9, 15 10:00 AM||Female||30-39||Domestic Tourist(s)||Family Without Children|
My husband and I were visiting the Tampa area and decided to schedule a private tour at Big Cat Rescue. The actual tour was supposed to be only 1 hour, but ended up being an hour and a half. The lady who gave us the tour was extremely knowledgeable and had a unique story to share with us about each cat we saw. She explained to us a lot of history about Big Cat Rescue, and you could tell by the number of staff hard at work at the sanctuary during our visit that they are very organized and determined! All of the animals we had the opportunity to meet (at a distance, of course) looked like they were comfortable and well taken care of. Our tour guide explained that they don't force the animals to do anything - if they don't want to come out to say hello during a tour, they don't have to and that's how it should be, IMO! I was super happy to see the CEO Carole active on the premises, and also saw they are building more enclosures to accommodate even more animals. If you'd like to visit Big Cat Rescue and get a first hand glimpse of the amazing work they are doing to care for and advocate for big cats, I highly recommend scheduling a tour!
informative, wonderful yet instrumental tour
|AnKoe123||Mon, Nov 2, 15 10:00 AM||Female||30-39||International Tourist(s)||Couple on a Date|
We love animals, especially (big) cats. So when we read about this sanctuary we booked a private tour. It was worth every cent, we saw most of the animals from close up and learned a lot about them as well as the problems they encounter(ed). We did not mind not seeing all of them since this place is all about helping and respecting the animals - so please visit and support this organization!!!
What a tour !
|flyers6667||Wed, Oct 28, 15 11:00 AM||Male||30-39||International Tourist(s)||Family With Children|
Coming from France. We followed some reviews to take the right Tour. Thanks to the online help :)
That was absolutely wonderful. We saw some "Big Cats", that was unforgettable ! My daughters, my wife and I love this rescue camp ! Thanks a lot !
We throroughly enjoyed our private tour with Becky
|kjenstead||Wed, Oct 28, 15 10:00 AM||Female||60-69||Domestic Tourist(s)||Couple on a Date|
The cats are so beautiful, and Becky offered lots of information about the rescue and answered all of our questions. I already knew that the cats receive the best of medical care. It was especially heart warming to see Teisha, the newly rescued tiger, come out and greet us. She was very shaky, but I had read that couldn't walk at all when she was surrendered. We cannot wait to go back for the morning feeding tour!
|mfcallaghan||Mon, Oct 19, 15 11:00 AM||Female||60-69||Domestic Tourist(s)||Other|
The facility is amazing and we had the most wonderful tour guide. She took her time with us...answering many questions and allowing us to take as many photos as we wished. The information she shared with us about the wonderful cats and how they came to the sanctuary was very much appreciated. The cats are so beautiful...my son and I will definitely come back for another tour.
- 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://bigcatrescue.org/release 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.
- Pets are not allowed at Big Cat Rescue.
- If you are traveling with pets, including dogs, you cannot bring them onto the property, which includes the parking lot.
- 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://bigcatrescue.org/release. 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