Keeper Tour

Keeper Tour



Get your tickets through Zerve Online by clicking the ticket or call toll free 1-888-316-5875 or 212-209-3370 (int’l callers)

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 and enjoy 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 67 acre sanctuary.

On your exploration you will see many of our 80+exotic cats, including more than a 10 different 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 an afternoon of Behind the Scenes excitement!

Each Behind the Big Cat Scenes Keeper Tour is unique and different, so you never know fully what to expect, besides a roaring good time!

Space for this program is extremely limited prepayment is required. Participants in the Big Cat Expedition must be 10 years of age or older.

get info & book at zerve



Check out Visit the Cats to find out more about all of the exciting ways that you can have fun and help save the wild cats! We offer Day ToursNight Tours and Private Tours.


How do I get to Big Cat Rescue?

How to get to Big Cat Rescue


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. 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.

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?

Operant Conditioning is training the tiger to do thing we need for medical purposes. This way our vet can inspect the paws, belly, etc.

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 DayTour 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.

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 yellow box on this page: Gift Certificates for Feeding Tours

Keeper Tours at Big Cat Rescue

Do you offer private tours?

Yes! Please see the list of all activities to get more information about our Private Tours.  Check out Visit the Cats to find out more about all of the exciting ways that you can have fun and help save the wild cats! We offer Feeding ToursNight Tours and Keeper Tours.

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.

Spend the afternoon with a keeper

Other Policies

There is no smoking allowed at Big Cat Rescue.

We do not allow smoking at Big Cat Rescue, except in the parking lot.

If you have been on a Feeding Tour, please tell others about your experience below:



whats it like to work at big cat rescue

whats it like to work at big cat rescue

What’s It Like to Work at Big Cat Rescue?


Most animal organizations our size have 30 paid staff, but we are able to maintain excellent care with about a third of that in paid staff because none of our paid staff are paid to work with animals. There are so many people who love big cats that they will do all of the cleaning, feeding, enrichment, operant conditioning and vet care for free. Our paid staff do the things animal lovers don’t enjoy like managing the gift shop, managing the data base, paying attention to donors, writing newsletters and managing volunteers. Our paid staff work for far less than industry standards because they love our mission and the cats.

Our intern and volunteer force averages around 80 people, who must put in a minimum of four hours per week, every week, rain or shine. A typical day starts at 7:30 am and often runs till way after dark. First the cats get their operant conditioning and morning meds. Most of our cats are geriatric and require supplements for all of their old age related ailments.

Then the cages are cleaned, water bowls are scrubbed and refilled, and projects are done which include cage enhancements, landscaping, and a plethora of other tasks to make the cats comfortable. Volunteers also write thank you notes to donors, help send out guest’s letters to lawmakers, stock and clean the gift shop, rest rooms and storage buildings.

All of the tours, like the one you are on now, are organized and led by volunteers. This might be your tour guide’s first tour, or their one thousandth tour, but before they are sent out to lead a tour they have already completed extensive training and have spent many hours backing up tours. With about 100 cats here, the guides have to know every cat’s story and every cat fact and that’s a lot to remember, so that is why the tours are automated, except in extreme weather.

You can tell a volunteer’s status by their shirt level:

Interns wear royal blue.
First six months: Red, who serve 4 hrs a week
Next year and a half: Yellow, who serve 6 hrs a week
After 2 years: Green, who serve 8 hrs a week
After 5 years: Navy, who serve 16 hrs a week

There are a LOT of classes, tests and certifications to graduate up that ladder!

Big Cat Rescue Volunteers

Big Cat Rescue Volunteers

In the evenings the old and sick cats get their evening meds and then dinner is served. It takes an army of volunteers pulling carts full of food, about 500 lbs a day in all, to make sure that every cat gets exactly the right amount and types of food. After feeding, all of the buckets and carts have to be cleaned and put away, the floors mopped and then the day is done…for our volunteers.

For interns, who live on site, they still have intern housing full of foster cats and kittens who must be fed, cleaned and often medicated as they come to us sick from the shelters. Some kittens have to be hand fed, every 4 hours around the clock, so the interns take turns caring for the kittens around the clock.

A few hours of sleep and it starts all over again.


Today at Big Cat Rescue Mar 23 2013

Kids Tour Guide Class at Big Cat Rescue



The Kids Tour Guide Class is required before any volunteer can give a Kids Tour at Big Cat Rescue. There is also a test and certification sign offs required to ensure that our guides are well trained.


Bobcats in Love and Bobcats “Fighting”



Watch this epic rendition of bobcats “at war” and in love at Big Cat Rescue.