The Keeper Tour

Big Cat Rescue

Zerve Seller: BigCatRescue
Activity #4200
  • Take a tour of Big Cat Rescue & see the home of more than 100 panthers, lions & other cats that have been saved from abandonment!

  • Dinner at Big Cat Rescue is a bone crunching wild time you will never forget! Watch big cat keepers feed tigers, leopards & more!

  • A walking tour after dark... come experience the big cats at night! An experience to remember - an adrenaline rush to turn the tables!

  • Complete guided tour where children of ALL AGES can get up-close and learn about exotic cats and other animals!


Available Dates & Times Price Duration
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Description

Big Cat Rescue of Tampa, FL is excited to tell you about an opportunity that is sure to feed your beastly appetite for adventure. Our Big Cat Keeper Tour is the most exclusive behind the scenes experience you can find in the animal world that is respectful to the animals and safe for the guests. If you are an animal lover and want to see the inner workings of a real animal sanctuary, then this 2-hour experience is what you have been searching for.

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.
On your exploration you will see many of our approximately 100 exotic cats, including more than a dozen different species and sub species of exotic cats! Learn about where these great cats come from in the wild and what you can do to help their plight. You will join an exclusive group of adventure seekers and a few of our highly trained staff for an orientation that will prepare you for Behind the Scenes excitement!
 
Each Behind the Big Cat Scenes Adventure is unique and different, so you never know fully what to expect, besides a roaring good time!

Keeper Tours are available on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays ONLY at 10 AM.  Participants in the Big Cat Keeper Tours  must be 10 years of age or older.

Meeting Location

Big Cat Rescue in Citrus Park (NW Tampa, FL) (Exact meeting location details will be provided immediately upon purchase of tickets.)
177 Reviews Rating: 4.8 4.8 out of 5.0
Verified Customer Reviews
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# of Reviews Positive
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% Positive Average
Rating
Last 3 months 28 80 0 = 80 100% 4.9
Last 6 months 48 134 0 = 134 100% 4.9
Last 12 months 84 229 1 = 228 99% 4.8
All 177 463 3 = 460 98% 4.8
177 Reviews
Displaying 1 - 10
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Rating: 5
a must see for anyone who visits Florida!
Sat, Jan 30  10:00 AM Female 50-59 Domestic Tourist(s) Family Without Children
 
The experience we had at Big Cat Rescue was so powerful that we plan to visit annually. We also want to help generate awareness for this fantastic nonprofit organization who works hard and cares deeply. The stories behind how these cats came to be at Big Cat Rescue hit you hard on an emotional level. We are moved to action.
Rating: 5
Awesome Experience!
Fri, Jan 22  10:00 AM Female 50-59 Domestic Tourist(s) Other
 
We were so glad to have Jo as our guide - previous reviews on Rescue and Jo were true (other staff members were great as well). Information about each animal was given and they were very resppnsive to Jo (of course she had their food). Grounds extremely well maintained which also led to the animals being playful, coming close for awesome pictures and visitors really being able to appreciate the animals. The tour is 2 hrs; 30 minutes in a lightening storm and torrential rains came through - we took shelter and the tour resumed after the rain passed. I would do this again, anytime!
Rating: 5
Keeper Tour at Big Cat Rescue is a 'KEEPER'
Sun, Jan 17  10:00 AM Female 60-69 Domestic Tourist(s) Family Without Children
 
I had high expectations for the Keeper Tour experience & Rebecca made the experience far EXCEED those high expectations! Our group was small (7 people) and we were able to spend a lot of time with each individual and linger with those the group was most enamored with. Rebecca was very knowledgeable and her passion for the well-being of these beautiful animals was clear and infectious! We learned so much about the background of each individual cat, which made meeting each one more purrrrrsonal! She was able to answer questions about each species and their habitat, diet and behaviors....both in the wild and how their background has altered the way they behave today.

The cats are all SO BEAUTIFUL and because the mammalian connection kicks in, you almost start to think it would be great to pet them! Ha! not so much - while you do get to be within 4 feet of the residents, Rebecca explains how important it is for these cats NOT to have human contact. One can only have tremendous respect for the 'wild' in their nature and that should never ever be compromised.

Big Cat Rescue is doing wonderful work and knowing these magnificent cats have a comfortable home with the best possible care they could ever hope to have in captivity is heart-warming and very emotional. They are not able to be released in the wild because of their histories, but now have a forever home, being cared for by a very dedicated staff.

If you are a cat lover of any kind, you MUST take this tour! The behavior similarities between this big cats and your tabby at home are startling. If you are a conservationist, you MUST take this tour, so that you can witness the good that comes from people that share a common passion for a cause and act on it together. If you are an animal rights activist - you should have been there already!
 
Rating: 5
Incredible tour - must not miss!
Sat, Jan 16  10:00 AM Female 40-49 Domestic Tourist(s) Individual
 
I took the Keeper tour and was very impressed with how well run it is and how dedicated the volunteers are. The cats are so healthy and beautiful. Most were curious about our little group of people and came right up to the fence where we could look them in the eye and take pictures. the Keepers really know their stuff. I see why they call it an "educational" sanctuary -- I learned a lot about the cats, their struggles, and what we can do to help them. I wish I lived in Tampa so I could volunteer here. It was an incredible morning. Our tour even ran about 15 minutes over.
 
Rating: 5
Great fun and educational tour for animal lovers!
Sat, Jan 16  10:00 AM Female 40-49 Domestic Tourist(s) Family With Children
 
This was a gift for our daughter's 15th birthday. She had researched this sanctuary 3 years ago and had wanted to visit Big Cat Rescue ever since! Because we live in Las Vegas, we combined this visit with our Disney vacation. She chose the Keeper Tour because it was the longest tour and had great reviews. On the Keeper Tour, not only did we get to learn the histories and facts about the cats that lived there, but we also were able to make fun enrichment items for the cats with safe, recycled materials. It was great to see the keepers pass them out afterwards, and watch the cats play with them wildly in their enclosures. Another wonderful aspect of the tour was that we were able to make the "Call of the Wild". We researched the numbers of our state representatives, and left a message asking them to support the Big Cat Safety Act, which is to ban private ownership of big cats across the states. The staff were super friendly and helpful to those who had questions throughout the tour. I can't wait to return and try one of the other tours the next time I am in Tampa, FL!
Rating: 5
We are very impressed,will go back many times,
Sat, Jan 16  10:00 AM Unspecified Unspecified Unspecified Unspecified
 
We learned alot, wonderful place ,well run, staff well trained, provided excellent information,highly recommend the keeper tour,we are so impressed we are adding big car rescue to our trust.
Rating: 4
Such an awesome experience!
Sat, Jan 9  10:00 AM Female 20-29 Domestic Tourist(s) Couple on a Date
 
It was so cool to be able to see the cats enjoy the enrichment toys that we put together for them. Because we went around with the keepers, the cats came over to the front of their enclosure which allowed us to see all of the cats. It was such a remarkable experience and on my next trip there, I will definitely be doing the keeper tour again! Worth every penny.
Rating: 5
Guide was Great
Sun, Jan 3  10:00 AM Male 20-29 Combination Couple on a Date
 
I forgot her name, but she had an English accent I believe, but she (Our senior keeper) was great! Very knowledgeable about each Cat! Much better experience than just going to a zoo, or anything like that. The people there seem to genuinely love their job and care about the animals, which was Great to see!
Rating: 5
Highly, highly recommend the keeper tour!!!
Sat, Jan 2  10:00 AM Female 30-39 Domestic Tourist(s) Other
 
My husband and I absolutely loved the keeper tour! It was our first time at Big Cat Rescue and I think the keeper tour is definitely the way to go. We made enrichment activities and got to see the cats play with them. Our keeper, Rebecca, was incredibly knowledgeable and kind, both with our group and with the animals. She really helped you understand the mission of BCR and why they have the policies (such as not petting the animals) that they do. Not only do you get to see the cats be more active, the keeper tour also tends to be smaller than the general tours. Our group was only 5 people and it made for a wonderful experience. I also can't thank BCR enough for changing our tour date from a Sunday to a Saturday to accommodate the weather forecast. You guys are great, and we will definitely be back when we are in town!!!
Rating: 5
Outstanding experience, highly recommend!
Sun, Dec 27, 15  10:00 AM Male 30-39 Domestic Tourist(s) Family Without Children
 
Our visit to Big Cat Rescue was amazing. The facility serves the wonderful purpose of providing a home to exotic cats. On the Keeper Tour, you get the opportunity to make enrichment toys for the cats and accompany a keeper while the toys are distributed. Our keeper gave an outstanding tour, providing great facts about the cats in care their backgrounds, and how the facility cares for them. I highly recommend this tour to any nature lovers visiting the Tampa area.
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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.
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?
No.
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! Please see the list of all activities to get more information about our private tours.
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.

Policies

Refund/Rescheduling Policy

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.

Weather Policy

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.

Other Policies

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.
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.
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://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 is the largest accredited sanctuary in the world dedicated entirely to abused and abandoned big cats. We are home to about 100 lions, tigers, bobcats, cougars and other species most of whom have been abandoned, abused, orphaned, saved from being turned into fur coats, or retired from performing acts. Our dual mission is to provide the best home we can for the cats in our care and educate the public about the plight of these majestic animals, both in captivity and in the wild, to end abuse and avoid extinction.

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, 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
The sanctuary is sithuated on 70 acres in the Citrus Park area of north Tampa.
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