Wildcat Walkabout 2019
One big change this year is no children under the age of five will be allowed on property during Wildcat Walkabout.
Need a hotel? Click here for a reduced rate at the new Courtyard, right outside our gate! (Only 40 rooms available at this special $104 Walkabout rate, first come first served, so book now to insure availability.)
To see what Wildcat Walkabout 2019 will be like, check out Wildcat Walkabout 2018 below.
We will update this page as we decide on food vendors and conservation projects but the rest of the times and activities will be the pretty much the same.
Celebrates Big Cat Rescue’s 26th Year of Saving Exotic Cats!
In 2018 we had completely sold out of 600 tickets as of August 12th so get yours now!
Need a hotel? Click here for a reduced rate at the new Courtyard, right outside our gate! On the Friday night before the event, there was a party for anyone who wanted to come in the Bistro of the Marriott next door. There was a prize for best wild cat themed costume.
On November 3, 2018 you can walk about the sanctuary at your own pace, take all the photos and videos you want, and have the benefit of knowing that your admission will go to conserving exotic cats in the wild. Children of all ages are welcome but all tickets are $25 each. We are ADA compliant for wheelchairs and scooters. Be sure to have all the stories of our 60+ cats in your pocket by picking one of our free apps. This way you can listen to their rescue stories as you walk around.
We have selected five important “in situ” projects (i.e. work being done out in the wild to preserve species). Each project is devoted to a different species.
When you check in, you receive five tickets each worth $5. As you go around the sanctuary you will visit stations where you can learn about the project. Then YOU DECIDE which projects your $25 admission fee will go toward by dropping your $5 tickets in the jar at the projects of your choice. You can divide up your tickets in any way you want – all to one project, or split them among the projects. ALL of your admission will be donated to the projects you select. The five projects are:
Walkabout – Lion Conservation Project
Walkabout – Jaguar Conservation Project
Walkabout – Black Footed Cat Conservation Project
Walkabout – Leopard Conservation Project
Walkabout – Cougar Conservation Project
This year the Wildcat Walkabout will be the day before our 26th Anniversary Saturday Nov. 3, 2018
We wanted to let you know that all event tees, bags, and other merchandise will only be available online this year. We will not be selling any 2018 Wildcat Walkabout gear here at the sanctuary.
So be sure to check out all the pawsome apparel, totes and backpacks as well as mugs online at: https://big-cat-rescue.myshopify.com/collections/wildcat-walkabout
Order by October 17th in order to receive in time for the event. Proceeds from the sales of this custom made line of apparel and gifts will be donated to support the Wildcat Walkabout featured conservation projects.
Parking and Check-In:
Check-In will be open from 11 AM – 2 PM. You must arrive no later than 2 PM in order to gain access to the Tour Path to see the cats. The tour path will close at 3 PM. The parking area and gift shop will be open for a while after that.
Do not drive to Big Cat Rescue’s main entrance. All Wildcat Walkabout attendees will be parking at an off-site parking lot near the end of our entrance road. Event parking is located at Citrus Park Crossings – address: 12750 Citrus Park Lane, Tampa, FL 33625. This parking lot is located behind the McDonald’s on the paved road that runs parallel to Easy Street in between the walking trail and the McDonald’s.
Once parked, head to the Check-In table located at the parking lot gate on the west wall of the parking lot.
You MUST bring your printed receipt including the QR code (that funny square thing) or have it on your smart phone for us to scan. If there are multiple people in your group, who all paid on one receipt, you need to all check in at the same time.
You will receive a special wristband for entrance, be sure to wear this throughout the event so you get access to the Tour Path to see the cats.
After you have checked in; leave all unnecessary items in your vehicle then walk down Easy Street from the off-site parking area to Big Cat Rescue. The Big Cat Rescue activity area is located in the parking lot of Big Cat Rescue. There will be gourmet food trucks, gift shop items, a raffle for great prizes, and a selfie booth. Bring a form of payment with you should you wish to purchase any of these items. Cash and major credit cards are accepted.
The Tour Path:
The Tour Path will be open at 12:00 PM. The path should take a leisurely 30-40 minutes to complete. Wear sturdy shoes as the path is dirt and gravel.
The Tour Path entrance is located on the South wall of the parking lot directly in front of the main entrance. The first cats you will meet are ….
You can only enter the Tour Path at Seth and Andy tigers and exit the Tour Path at the gift shop. We have to ask you to follow that path so we can be sure no one is left on property at the end of the event.
Big Cat Rescue volunteers will be stationed throughout the tour path for security purposes. (Please do not ask questions about the animals as these volunteers need to be monitoring guests on the property and should not be distracted.) There is a free smart phone app available with all of the cats’ stories for iPhone here: https://goo.gl/CQUzKj and Android here: https://goo.gl/kioC9Q
Portable Restrooms are available in the parking lot.
Children must remain under the direct supervision of their parents, do not allow children to wander, walk ahead, or lag behind. No horseplay, running or yelling. Big Cat Rescue is a sanctuary for the cats, so please do not disturb them by whistling, calling “Here Kitty, Kitty”, or making other noises to get their attention. Do not litter. Do not touch the barricades, nor reach across them with your person or anything you are carrying. Do not wander off the designated path. You are welcome to take photos and videos.
Big Cat Rescue Activity Area:
After you have walked the Tour Path we invite you to visit the Big Cat Rescue Activity Area where you can enjoy the following until 3 PM:
Raffle – Enter for a chance to win great prizes, drawing at 3 PM, must be present to win
Gift Shop – Purchase big cat gift items or event tees (while supplies last)
Call of the Wild – Our friendly staff will assist you with making the Call of the Wild to your legislator asking them to champion the Big Cat Safety Act through congress. Each participant will receive a free gift to commemorate their action. (while supplies last)
Maybe the Humane Society Adoption Bus – Mobile adoption unit to find fur-ever homes for unwanted animals. And much, much more!
Be prepared for rain, bugs and sun. The event cannot continue in the presence of lightning.
What was the 2017 Wildcat Walkabout Like?
Check it out below:
2017 PSA Ad:
Our Wildcat Walkabout on November 4th, 2017, celebrating Big Cat Rescues 25th Anniversary, was a great success, raising a total of $13,630 towards our year total of $83,886.37. Funds were raised through the donation of the $25 admission cost to the sanctuary on that day, along with any additional guest donations, and allowed us to assist 5 additional In situ projects.
$2,754 – To Felidae Conservation Fund for their Bay Area Bobcat Study. The Bay Area Bobcat Study aims to look at how human development and habitat fragmentation affects bobcat populations, population status, mortality factors, and health, in the San Francisco Bay Area.
$2,538 – To the Mountain Lion Foundation. The Foundation works closely with legislative, governmental and conservation groups to heighten public awareness and educate policymakers on conservation issues such as hunting, habitat loss, workable wildlife corridors, harmonious human/mountain lion interactions, and the vital role of the mountain lion in a healthy ecosystem.
$2,887 – To Working Dogs for Conservation. Working Dogs for Conservation is the world’s leading conservation detection dog organization. They are pioneers in using dogs’ extraordinary sense of smell to further conservation and aid in the fight against wildlife trafficking.
$2,541 – To S.P.E.C.I.E.S for their project studying Ocelots in Trinidad. This study aims to look at the ecology of Trinidad’s ocelot population, define its place in the evolutionary history of the ocelot as a species and develop an integrative plan for its long-term conservation.
$2,910 – To the Phoenix Fund to assist with Tiger Rehabilitation and Release in Russia. The rehabilitation facility is in a wooded location far from human settlements and allows the tigers to be semi-free ranging with limited to no disturbance from people. Since 2012, they have rehabilitated 7 tigers, 6 of which were released back into their natural habitat. 5 of them became fully adapted to life in the wild. The first female they released went on to have 2 cubs and 2 of the other tigers released separately, formed a couple and also reproduced in the wild, proving their rehabilitation and release program successful.
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