The Zoo Date, Revised
What you'll do together: You know how the typical zoo date goes. You and your honey strain to see if the grey blob in the distance is an elephant or a rock. It turns out to be a rock, and you move on to the next exhibit. Well, Big Cat Rescue is not a zoo; it's a sanctuary for lions, tigers and other animals rescued from breeders and the exotic pet and fur trades. You can get extremely close to the animals, especially on the feeding tour when they come out of their lairs for raw chicken parts. Just back up if the lion turns its haunches to you and starts flicking its tail — you might get sprayed. A sure, and smelly, end to the date.
Best time to go: The feeding tours start at 4:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and last about two hours. You must make a reservation.
Why it makes a good date: If you're a new couple, this is great, because the trainer does all the talking for you. You just have to make chitchat during the walks between cages. Want to really impress? Bone up on your big cat trivia beforehand, so you have an answer when the trainer asks the group what color a cougar's eyes are at birth. (Answer: Blue.)
Afterward: This place is a hop, skip and jump away from Citrus Park Mall. All the typical chains are located just beyond the rescue center's dirt driveway.
Ideal couple: This is a group-guided tour, so it might be good for a double or triple date. If you two prefer to set your own pace and wander around at whim, it may not be the date for you.
Details: Big Cat Rescue, 12802 Easy St., Tampa. The feeding tour requires reservations and costs $50 per person. (813) 920-4130, bigcatrescue.org
Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL 33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457
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