What it is: The Carolina Tiger Rescue is a sanctuary for big cats located in Pittsboro. The take in big cats that don't have a home or were mistreated in another place and care for them. Carolina Tiger Rescue doesn't do research, they don't breed the animals, they just take care of them and give them a nice home. They give tours to the public (that last 1.5-2 hours), and it was a great place for us to go with the kids not only so they could see some endangered animals up close, but so they could learn about properly caring for these big animals.
The tour begins with a short introduction in a room with all of us seated in rows. We had a tour guide on his first day, so I imagine that other introductory talks might have been a bit lengthier, but he did a good job on his first day.
After the introduction, we headed out to see the animals. The guide led us around to each of the animals habitat, told us a little about the animal and how they came to be at the sanctuary, and used tricks or treats to try to get the animal to come out of hiding so we could catch a glimpse.
It was really great to get to see so many rare cats up close. We were really just a fence away from large lions, tigers, cougars, and so many more rare cats (some that I had never even heard of). While some of the comments from the guides were a bit over the kids' head, what kid would not like seeing animals like that up close?
What we liked: It was great to be able to take the kids to a place where they could see endangered animals up close. Plus, they got to learn a little bit about how someone should treat these animals and the reality of their endangered situation. It was a great experience for the kids and adults alike.
What we would change: Keep in mind that these are real wild animals, and sometimes they are separated from us by a chain link fence and a rope. So, you must keep an eye on your toddlers at all times to make sure they don't decide to run under the rope and stick their fingers in the fence.
Website and other important information:
Address: 1940 Hanks Chapel Rd., Pittsboro, NC
Public Tours: Saturdays and Sundays 10am and 1pm
Admission: Adults-$17, Youth (4-12)- $10, Under 4-free
(Elvis the Serval)
(A majestic view of the tiger)
(two hungry lions)
(A Kinkajou-yes, it's actually a wild cat.)
(The visitors building)