Big Cat Rescue, Tampa, Florida
I lived in Tampa for about 9 years, and this was one of the most interesting places I went to. If your visiting the area and have already rode all the roller coasters at Busch Gardens and are looking for something to do, you might want to consider visiting the Big Cat Rescue. Located in the area of Citrus Park, it is home to the largest accredited rescue for wild cats. They take in cats that have been abused or mistreated and can no longer live in the wild and provide a home for them. All of their money comes from donations and visitors, so not only is it extremely interesting to see these animals up close, you are also contributing to a great cause. ( It’s quite expensive to feed these guys!)
There is one day out of the week where the cats are not fed to make sure they are hungry enough to eat their food the next day with the necessary medicines in it. I believe it was on a Sunday when this is, but I would call to be sure. Reason being the cats are much more active when they are hungry and you will have a much better chance of seeing them walking around. (And better chances of getting some pictures!)
The tours provided at the rescue are very informative and the tour guides are funny and care very much about the animals. They know all about each and every cat and its story. You learn a lot about the different cats they have residing there and also get a close up look at some of the animals that would not be possible anywhere else. The fences are about 3 meters from where you can stand (which was quite close enough for me!). It is really amazing to see these animals up close. The cats also have large areas to run and play, and even though its not the wilderness, its much better than the places they came from.
Guests can only walk around the grounds with a tour guide, so to book a tour you can call them at (813) 920-4130. The cost of a day tour is $25.00, and all of the money goes into taking care of the cats. They also offer private, feeding, and night tours.