Are you an animal lover? Start planning a trip to the St. Augustine Wild Reserve in St. Augustine, Florida! This non-profit rescue center works to save wild animals that were once obtained as pets. From tigers and lions to birds and foxes, many species call this sanctuary home. Though not open daily to the public, the St. Augustine Wild Reserve offers appointment-only tours and gives visitors the rare opportunity to see exotic animals up close. Here are some things you should know before your visit.
History of the St. Augustine Wild Reserve
Deborah Marlene Warrick is the founder and CEO of the St. Augustine Wild Reserve. She’s a graduate of the Los Angeles Zoo Animal Keeper Training Course and is an experienced trainer of large carnivores. After rescuing unwanted pet wolves in 1981, Deborah founded the Reserve in 1995 as a care center for exotic animals.
Today, this incredible facility educates the public about exotic animal ownership in the hopes of preventing future animal abuse. They transport various animals to schools, churches, and other outreach venues so that individuals can see what the animals are really like, dissuading them from having such an animal as a pet.
The Reserve houses over 50 large mammals including tigers, lions, bears, and wolves. There are also smaller species like squirrels, foxes, white-tailed deer, and various barn animals. Many of the animals were confiscated from individuals who held them without proper state permits or who maintained inferior conditions. Some even came from Michael Jackson, who no longer wanted them at his ranch in Santa Barbara. They now enjoy life at the Reserve.
The St. Augustine Wild Reserve offers two-hour tours every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday at 2 p.m. by appointment. An experienced wildlife professional will take you around the animal compound and teach you about species, basic biology, and how the animal arrived at the sanctuary. You’ll be allowed within 5-10 feet of white and orange tigers, American black bear, cougars, servals, leopards, and wolves, all of which are housed in secure habitats.
The best part of the tour is watching the Reserve’s tigers as they enjoy a luxurious bubble bath. The bath cleans their coat, deters insect pests, and also provides hours of enrichment! At the end of the tour, you’ll receive a CD with 200 photos of the animals you met during this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Visit www.Bookeo.com/tigertours to make your reservations.
Book Your Stay at the St. Francis Inn Bed & Breakfast!
Just a short 30-minute drive from the Reserve, St. Francis Inn Bed & Breakfast offers exceptional accommodations in St. Augustine. The inn is surrounded by ancient brick-paved streets that are lined with restaurants, galleries, museums, and specialty shops. Each room or suite has a private bath, and several have fireplaces, whirlpool tubs, and private entrances. Some rooms are even family-friendly! Whether you’re planning a fun vacation with the kids or a romantic couples retreat, the St. Francis Inn is an ideal destination. Book your getaway today!
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