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Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary
Ranked #7 of 140 things to do in Sarasota
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary provides a sanctuary "for life" for the exotic animals currently calling the sanctuary home. Our goal is to create habitats that mimic native environments and are complete with a staff that can provide daily behavioral, sensory, and manipulative enrichment which is the basis for a happy healthy animal in captivity. As we grow and open our habitat to more rescues we will provide the same excellent care while educating the public.
Useful Information: Food available for purchase, Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Wheelchair access, Bathroom facilities
Hollywood, Florida
Level Contributor
45 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 October 2012

This sanctuary is a rescue place for big cats and other animals that are in need of a safe and permanent home. All the animals seemed active, healthy and very well fed. Volunteers know the animals by name and are very affectionate towards the animals. Conservation is very important if we want these precious animals to be around for generations to come. This is why it is so important to help support organizations like the Big Cat Habitat.

The grounds were clean and everyone was really friendly. For a few dollars you can feed a big cat. There are also monkeys, goats, tortoises, macaws and small pet zoo. The admission was $15 for adults and $7 for kids. The parking is FREE and they are opened 4:30PM - 7:00PM Wednesday - Sunday. It is really worth the visit.

Visited October 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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903 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Clearwater, Florida
Level Contributor
16 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Much closer to the animals than Busch Gardens or Animal Kingdom for about 1/20th the price”
Reviewed 13 October 2012

I visited this place on a whim while driving down Florida's Gulf Coast for a short vacation and what I found was an experience well worth the modest small fee they charge to enter. I had actually just been to Busch Gardens on that same trip and felt like I had a much more personal and close experience with fantastic and beautiful creatures for just a few bucks compared to the hundreds I spent at Busch. This was the first time I've ever fed a bear or tiger, and they also offered feedings of friendly animals such as the cute baby goats which my woman adored. (All feedings were an extra tiny charge.) The highlight of the short two-hour visit was a circus show in which the family that runs this place took turns bringing out different animals. The gentleman presenting the show was also quite the showman. Apparently, this place is run by family with each member specializing in a different animal and they use many of their "domesticated" animals in movies and TV shows as all of them were either raised in captivity, former circus animals or abandonded exotic pets. This is the place that started my addiction to sanctuaries and rescues for exotic animals in Florida and you'll find quite a few in the Sunny State. If you are in the Sarasota area, make sure you check this place out! When I visited they were expanding the facilities and also planning on a playpen for elephants so it should be even better in the near future.

Visited May 2012
1 Thank PnMTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bradenton, Florida
Level Contributor
39 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Hurrah for conservation”
Reviewed 13 October 2012

First went here after seeing a documentary about the circus family that owns this. Remarkable family who love the animals so much they rescue circus animals and take care of them here. They give shows here as well to raise money to care for the tigers, lions, apes and other circus animals they have here.

Visited October 2012
1 Thank JacynthP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
53 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Up close...and personal!”
Reviewed 30 August 2012

Modest facilities, but there are quite a few tigers, bears, lions and the fantastic LIGER! The liger is a cross between a lion and a tiger and it is HUGE! You can feed the animals (for a fee)...well worth the price! There is a nice no frills show. Worth the visit...not far from the center of Sarasota.

Visited August 2012
Thank Worryfree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manhattan, Illinois
Level Contributor
144 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
“Wild and wonderful”
Reviewed 12 August 2012

Worth the trip to find this slightly out of the way combination of zoo and circus. Can't think of anywhere else where I could get this close to some really wild and beautiful animals like lions and tigers and bears, (oh my!) Being able to feed the tigers (for a small fee) was crazy. Very much would recommend staying for a show if it is available. Plenty of small animals like goats and pigs and birds and turtles and ostriches, some of which are available also to be fed and petted. Place is not huge, could be walked through fairly quickly if not for taking time to watch the animals, pet, feed, see the show. Some concessions are available at show times, not sure if so otherwise. This is a self funded place, and every opportunity is taken to pass the basket, ask for donations, several times over. All the animals are outdoors, just the show is indoors. Place is only open from Wednesdays to Sundays, and then from 4 p.m. to 7.p.m., subject to change.

Visited July 2012
1 Thank roadtripmajik
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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