Friday, May 14, 2010

Carolina Tiger Rescue

C is in love with our cat here at home-- follows her, chases her, and otherwise laughs hysterically when he sees her. So when I saw there was an opportunity to see cats a quadtrillion times our house cat's size, we went.

The Carolina Tiger Rescue is an amazing place. There are over 70 animals on 55 acres of land. The place originally started as a species breeding ground, set up by a UNC professor, but has since changed into a government-certified sanctuary. It turns out that tigers and ocelots don't make good pets. Yet people buy them, and when the cute little tiger cub gets to be 300 pounds, they want to give it away. Enter Carolina Tiger Rescue. So while some of these animals' stories can be a little sad, there is also a sense of goodness as you realize the blind tiger now has a home it can be happy in.

Not to mention that the animals are just flat out cool. We saw tigers, ocelots, servals, caracals, and other things I am still not sure how to pronounce. My personal favorite was the white tiger, Jellybean. And yes, you can get right up there and see them. This is not a zoo. This is a wildlife sanctuary. So viewing grounds to the animals are closer than a zoo. And you are guided around by a trainer. Ours happened to be carrying chicken, which made the animals come out and say hi. Our little group really got to see the animals. C seemed really into it, if not so into sitting the stroller for 2 hours.

The tours do last anywhere from 1.5 - 2 hours, and can cover up to 1 mile. But it is easy walking. Jogging strollers worked fine, and carriers would also work. I would be very cautious about a toddler walking through here, though. The staff is very clear that if you get inside the rope barrier, some of the animals can reach through the cage and swipe. And some of the animals like to "spray" people to mark their territory. So if you see tail, step aside quickly.

All tours are by appointment only, so you have to call to get in. We had a difficult time at first getting the right person on the phone, but once we did it was very easy. With a tour, pricing is done as a minimum of $120 for the group OR $12 per adult, whichever is greater. Ages 4-12 are $7. Children under 3 are free.

Also, Carolina Tiger Rescue has very strict rules on photographs of the animals, how they can be used, and by whom they can be taken. You have to pay a separate fee ($3) to take pictures. [Trying to honor their requests, this blog is posting limited animal pictures. But I can assure you I got some great photos! Just want to be a mindful blogger.]

Tours happen rain or shine. So be prepared to risk the weather when you set your date. And note that you are outside with a bunch of large game animals. So it might smell like a big kitty litter box, and I can imagine that mosquitoes come out in droves in the summer.

This place is tucked back there in the country in Pittsboro (which makes sense that when you house 70 very large hunting mammals you would want to get them as far away as possible), but it was an easy, beautiful drive from Chapel Hill. And it also makes for a nice outing with a meal or picnic at Chatham Marketplace or Fearrington Village.

It is worth noting that the Carolina Tiger Rescue is a non-profit. As such, they always need donations. Nothing is too small. They even take bananas. So if you go, bring some bananas to share with the animals.

When we went to play with the big cats the weather was good, the staff quite lovely, and the animals amazing and impressive. It was a great day.

Carolina Tiger Rescue (formerly Carolina Preservation Trust)
1940 Hanks Chapel Road
Pittsboro, NC
(919) 542-4684

4 Comments:

At August 2, 2010 at 9:31 AM , Blogger LauraC said...

We went here over the weekend and loved it! Thank you! I also used your labels to find other stuff to do in Chapel Hill and ended up at Lickity Split afterwards. The boys loved it.

Thank you!

 
At August 2, 2010 at 9:55 AM , Blogger chapelhillmom said...

I am so glad you enjoyed it Laura. Pretty amazing how many animals they have there....and how big they are!

Thanks for letting me know it was a success for you. And now I am craving ice cream. :)

 
At August 6, 2010 at 10:45 AM , Blogger MK said...

That's my hubby in the picture (Keeper Tim)! I'm excited about your blog!

 
At August 6, 2010 at 3:01 PM , Blogger chapelhillmom said...

That is so exciting that it is your husband! He was so great with the animals, great with the kids, and great explaining to us what was what. Well done Keeper Tim!

 

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