AR Zoo


What is an AR Zoo?

Does AR stand for Animal Rights?  No; in this case it may have a double meaning, but the AR in AR Zoo is for Augmented Reality.

Check out the history of Augmented Reality Zoos here:

World’s First AR Zoo opened in Tampa, FL March 22, 2019

World’s Second AR Zoo is opening in July 2019 in Plantation, FL.

Thanks to a collaboration by the Westfield Shopping Centers, VidPic AR and Big Cat Rescue you can experience lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, cougars, snow leopards, bobcats, servals, caracals, sand cats, fishing cats & other exotic wild cats like never before.

Just download the VidPic AR app in the App Store or Google Play.  It’s free, downloads fast, and doesn’t ask for your personal data.  Then point your camera at any of the gorgeous big cat posters, like the ones below, to see the cats leap off the page as they run, play, swim, eat and bathe.  Hear their sounds, see them having fun and learn what they are really like in the wild.

First VR Zoo in the Americas lion

Download the app and point your phone at the screen right now to get a preview of what you will see at the world’s first AR Zoos in the United States.

Magnificent cats like these don’t belong in cages and you don’t have to sacrifice the freedom of these wild cats to teach your family about nature anymore.  Big Cat Rescue envisions a world where all wild cats live free and the first step toward that is ending the private possession of big cats.

See all of our AR and VR videos at

First VR Zoo in the Americas tiger

Some zoos still say that people have to see wild cats in cages, up close, to appreciate and save them, but in the past 200 years of that methodology, the big cats have only been forced to the edge of extinction.  Tigers could be gone in the wild in the next five years, so we have to embrace a new way of thinking and better ways to engage people with their natural world.  Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality experiences are far more immersive, educational and fun.

In addition to wild cats leaping off the walls in AR zoo and VR zoo, you may find 360 videos on display, on the weekends.  Put on one of our Oculus Go headsets and choose from dozens of videos of the 50+ exotic cats who have been saved from fur farms, circus acts, roadside zoos, and private owners.  You will feel like you are right in the middle of the action.  In some videos you are the Keeper, handing out treats to some very happy lions, tigers, and other wild cats.  In other videos, you are the Big Cat Vet who is performing life-saving techniques to give these cats, who can’t go free, a better quality of life.

Big Cat Rescue’s First CGI Tiger

Coming soon to these AR Zoo attractions will be Big Cat Rescue’s first computer-generated image tiger (CGI).  As we speak this tiger is being brought to virtual life in a stunningly real forest.  Viewers will be able to experience a tiger, in a natural habitat, doing tiger things up close and purr-sonal in a way that’s never been available before.  If it’s always been your dream to stand right next to a lion or tiger, but you know that captivity is cruel, then you are going to love this new experience!

Be one of the first to see this AR Zoo because we know you will then want to share it. Meanwhile, you can see and share some of Big Cat Rescue’s great big cat 360 videos at

VidPic AR instructions

World’s First AR Zoos

Big Cat Rescue, Westfield Shopping Centers and VidPic AR Collaborate to Utilize Innovative Technology to View Wild Big Cats:


About Big Cat Rescue: Located in Tampa, Florida, Big Cat Rescue is one of the largest accredited sanctuaries in the world for abused, abandoned or neglected exotic cats. The sanctuary is home to more than 50 big cats including tigers, lions, leopards, jaguar, cougar, and bobcats. For more information, visit

Price:  FREE
Ages:  All ages
Accessible: ADA accessible

What to bring: Bring your cell phone or tablet and a desire to see big cats having fun

Media Contact: Susan Bass, Director of Public Relations 813.431.2720

Grand Opening From Tampa | Photos & Videos

In this very short video, Carole explains what the AR Zoo is and why it is important.


AR, VR, 360, 180 & 3D Term Sheet

AR – Augmented Reality is like our posters where you are seeing the poster in RR (real reality) and the video that launches augments the real world.

VR – Virtual Reality is often misused, even by us, because VR is really CGI where things may be realistic, but are created digitally.

360 – means you can look around in 360 degrees

180 – means you can look around in 180 degrees, which is your basic field of view and many think 360 is a waste of bandwidth if you are sitting in a chair because it’s too hard to look behind you.

3D – can be on a flat photo or video, a 360 video or a 180 video and is what gives you that feeling that you can reach out and touch the cat. It’s the newest tech, and thus the worst quality, but that’s changing.

The main reason for showing wild cats in AR, VR, 360, 180 and 3D is to stimulate demand for the tech and the experience. That will drive forward the production of remote cameras that could be set in the wild to capture the real lives of wild cats. That’s where the real education begins.


  • Show Comments (1)

  • Mary

    Yes, absolutely, a cat cafe with adoptions of the kitties!

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