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 67 acre sanctuary.
On your exploration you will see many of our approximately 80 exotic cats, of many 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.
Be sure to read the following before booking your tour:
A bone-crunching wild time you will never forget! Join us for dinner at Big Cat Rescue. The 1 hour Feeding Tour is a short tour that focuses only on the cats on a designated feeding route. It is followed by a short and informal chat session with one of our big cat keepers.
Watch big cat keepers feed tigers, leopards, cougars and more while observing from just a few feet away. As you walk around the sanctuary with our feeders your guide will tell you about the cats on the feeding route, their diets, and how they hunt in the wild.
The Feeding Tour includes:
Watching the wild cats being fed and learning about their diets.
The diet consists of chunks of beef, chicken and a ground diet.
Each Feeding Tour is unique and different, so you never know fully what to expect, besides a roaring good time!
This tour is a great lead in to a regular Day Tour. On the Day Tour you will see a greater selection of cats representing all of the species residing at the sanctuary.
The tour is available on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 9:00AM. Space for this Tour is extremely limited, so advanced booking is required. Participants in the Feeding Tour must be 10 years of age or older.
Be sure to read the following before booking your tour:
We are a sanctuary, not a zoo, so our animals come first. We do not allow people to wander around unescorted. Our tours are all guided and provide an educational experience that includes the plight of big cats in the wild and in captivity and what you can do to save them. You will be expected to follow these rules:
In Florida, weather is always an issue. In the summer it rains frequently, but often only for a few minutes. If you have paid for a tour and get rained out during your tour, we will give you a free pass to come back. Because the cats are spooked by umbrellas, they are not allowed but you should bring a rain coat or poncho if it looks like rain. Tours will be canceled during lightening storms. Paths are frequently muddy so closed toed, old, comfortable shoes are recommended.
You may bring your own cold drinks or buy ours but either way, be prepared for the heat.
You are welcome to take photos and video on the tour, but leave the tripods at home, or purchase a private tour. We ask everyone on the tour to stay together, no smoking, no cell phone calls and respect the tour guides warnings so that you have the best possible experience.
If you are traveling with pets, you cannot bring them onto the property. Florida law (and common sense) prohibit you from leaving them in your car, even with the A/C running. Check out our Tour FAQ and Tour Policies.
If you want to bring children under the age of ten, this is the only tour available for your group. This is a complete guided tour where children of all ages and their parents can get up-close and learn about exotic cats and other animals.
Children under the age of 10 cost $19 each
Tour Time is noon on Saturdays and Sundays.
Geared toward children under 10 years old.
Privately guided small tour groups of 20 or less.
Tour is one hour long & children are expected to behave because this is a working sanctuary and the animals come first. Children must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian and must behave respectfully toward the animals and others in the group. This is not a zoo where children will be allowed to scream and run wild, but a sanctuary where the animal’s needs always come first.
You are welcome to take photos and video on the tour, but leave the tripods at home, or schedule a photo tour. We ask everyone on the tour to stay together, no smoking, no cell phones and respect the tour guides warnings so that you have the best possible experience.
Paths are frequently muddy so closed toed, old, comfortable shoes are recommended. You may bring your own cold drinks or buy ours but either way, be prepared for the heat.
“It’s one thing to go to Busch Gardens, it’s another to stand four feet from a tiger!” says one Kid’s Tour participant. Come with the whole family and visit Big Cat Rescue today to see your favorite felines in action!
What Is Not Included?
No strollers are available and our paths are earthen.
Be sure to read the following before booking your tour:
You must buy tickets in advance by clicking the ticket. Get your tickets through Zerve Online or Call toll free 1-888-316-5875 or 212-209-3370 (int’l callers)
Even an animal that has powerful muscles, sharp teeth and deadly claws sometimes needs rescuing!
Take a Day Tour of Big Cat Rescue to see the home of more about 100 lions, tigers, leopards and more that have been saved from abuse and abandonment, and find out how they are given the care and shelter they deserve.
On this 1.5 hour walking tour, don’t be surprised if your heart fills with joy as you watch these playful kitties romping and socializing in their new home!
Big Cat Rescue is the world’s largest accredited sanctuary dedicated entirely to abused and abandoned exotic cats. Celebrity supporters of the work being done by BCR include Bo Derek, Harrison Ford and Leonardo DiCaprio, and more.
Confiscated from a drug raid, got too old for the circus, neglected by an owner: these are just a few of the stories of this facility’s cats. But now they can enjoy a dignified life of leisure, play and socializing at this accredited big cat sanctuary, which is one of the largest in the world!
Let your tour guide relate their tales of hardship and triumph and take you to see some of the following:
Meet a pair of frolicking leopards that leap from platform to platform in their fenced-in enclosure.
See a chirping serval rescued from a basement and enjoying the sunlight it was denied during its ordeal.
Witness the biggest and most impressive creatures in the refuge,the lions and tigers. Though they cannot be returned to the wild, discover how the sanctuary gives them the most natural existence possible!
We are a sanctuary, not a zoo, so our animals come first. We do not allow people to wander around unescorted. Our tours are all guided and provide an educational experience that includes the plight of big cats in the wild and in captivity and what you can do to save them.
These are walking tours and take about an hour and a half. If you have children under the age of 10, they can ONLY visit by attending the Kids Tour on Saturdays or Sundays.
Yes. 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?
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: Day Tours
Do you offer private tours?
Yes! Please see the list of all activities to get more information about our Private Tours.
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.
If you have been on a Day Tour, please tell others about your experience below: