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The Rescued Animals of The Tiger Sanctuary

For all the animal lovers out there, there’s a wonderful gem of an attraction just 10 miles north of Branson: The National Tiger Sanctuary. A non-for-profit organization trying to teach others about the beautiful creatures in our world, they allow people to go on tour and look at a variety of the big cats they’ve rescued.

I had wanted to visit the sanctuary for awhile and Mother’s Day seemed perfect, it wasn’t too hot and there was an abundant amount of sunshine. There are three tours a day (Wednesday through Sunday), one at 10am, and the others at 1pm and 3pm. After briefly glancing at The National Tiger Sanctuary website and deciding that an after-lunch encounter would be best, we chose the 1pm tour time. There are many different kinds of tours to choose from, ranging from $25 for a basic guided tour, to $125 for a “Behind the Scenes” look at animal care, food preparation, and even the chance to feed the cats yourself!


Let the Tour Begin

Arriving at 12:45pm and choosing the “Feeding Tour” for $35 (this package lets you watch the cats eat), we hung around the porch before our tour started. We noticed there is an indoor room to view videos, and a place for the sanctuary’s rescued dogs and domestic cats to roam and play. A very helpful and knowledgeable tour guide named Skylar led us to the area to view the big cats, and it was an amazing experience!


Encountering the Big Cats!

Our first stop was the panther enclosure, and at first, we couldn’t see anything! Skylar started calling out to “Midnight”, and then a low growl was heard. Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, the most beautiful blank panther came into view. She ate, romped, and rolled around for all of us to see!

Next on the list was Merlin the lion. At first, he wasn’t too interested in us or the quartered chicken being offered to him. But when Judy, one of the owners, came by, you could tell Merlin was smitten with her! With large paws, he lumbered right up to the fence. To note, you stand about 3 feet from the animals, separated by 2 fences. It’s great for up-close photos!

Other animals we saw included Nikki and Madison, the white tiger mother-daughter duo and Willie, a large tiger. There was also Mariah and Sierra, two sister tigers along with Tina, who was very vocal! And, last but not least by any means, Banshee: a mountain lion. Two people in our group happened to pick the “You Feed” tour, so we got to see lots of up-close feeding from all the animals. Crunch Crunch! Bones and all!


As Educational as it is Fun

At each stop, Skylar takes time to talk about each animal and how they came to the sanctuary. There is information given about each different species, and questions are loved and encouraged! There is something to note, though, you may not see any of these animals on your visit: only half are on tour each day, giving the other half a day to rest to minimize any stress.

Visit The National Tiger Sanctuary website for pricing, directions, and tour information.