Friday, April 5, 2013

Carolina Tiger Rescue in Pittsboro - YES, PITTSBORO!!! (Man I wish My Kids Were A Little Older)

"Meowse, meeeee-owse!" That's what I woke up to this morning over the monitor. Dani, my 2-year-old, remembered we were going to see tigers today. Then she looked at her stuffed animal (a cheetah) and said, "Awwwww, cute!" That was as well behaved with a cat as she was today in one of the best adventures we've had in the Triangle area.

Let me just start by saying, the Carolina Tiger Rescue in Pittsboro was spectacular, phenomenal, wonderful, amazing and aw inspiring. We stood just feet away from Tigers, Lions, Cougars and more and watched them eat, communicate and even stalk. There was just a rope and a chain-link fence between my kids and the wild cats, and I never felt unsafe.

Unfortunately, my kids were just too young to appreciate and participate in the tour. As evident in the name, this is where wild cats go when their former owners can no longer care for them (sometimes for legal reasons, other times because a legitimate business like a zoo or sanctuary can no longer function) for the rest of their lives. It is a rescue facility. So the conversation about the cats and why they were politically loaded (and rightfully so) and lengthy (for a toddler/preschooler). There is no law against owning a Tiger in the US. But you cannot keep a squirrel for a pet. Huh?

My kids loved seeing the cats but didn't tolerate the educational part of the tour. I was locked in to the information and very interested, but had to focus on making sure Dani (2) didn't run up to the fence and try to pet the "meowse" (aka cat).

After seeing three lions guffaw and communicate with other lions in the park (see video at the top of the page, it was incredible), my 3-year-old asked to go home. WHAT ON EARTH? I thought, "this child cannot be pleased!" 

This was the third stop in a 1 1/2-hour tour. I bribed her with a treat at the end of the tour if she could just hold on a little longer, and it worked for about 10 minutes. Once she saw the tigers, she was appeased for a few minutes more, but that was about it. We actually had to leave the tour early, along with another family who had a rapidly tiring toddler.

I cannot say I've ever seen anything as majestic as the tiger that close up. Kayla, I think her name was Kayla, was absolutely gorgeous. And Jelly Bean, the white tiger, was a sad story (inbreeding). Even if my kids won't remember it, I will not soon forget this mornings activity. This, easily, makes my top 3 things to do in the area - shortened tour and all!

I'm going to let the photos I took on my phone, NO ZOOM, tell the story. And if you have a 6-year-old or older, go now to their website and sign up and visit this place. You will not regret it. I think I would have enjoyed it 10 degrees colder and pouring rain. For those of you with younger kids, you might want to wait a few years.

They limit the number of tours for the well being of the animals, so visit their website for event dates and tickets. 

1940 Hanks Chapel Road
Pittsboro, NC

HIGHLIGHTS: Up close and personal with the cats, from tigers to lions and cougars and more - 70 animals live in the facility, wonderful/educational guided tour, small facility so you don't have to walk forever to see another animal.
LOW LIGHTS: There are no sidewalks or paved walkways, so it's a little muddy/dirty, the tours include a lot of information about animals and even laws regarding big cats so there is a lot of talking for small children, it's a bit of a hike to get there (but far closer to the Triangle area than the NC Zoo).
COST: $17 per adult (for public tours), $10 for kids 4-10 and free for 3 and under. Twilight tours are $26.50 for adults. Children 10 and under are not allowed on twilight tours. Group rates for schools/education programs may vary. They also have a membership option.

1 comment:

  1. Then she looked at her stuffed animal (a cheetah) and said, "Awwwww, cute!" That was as well behaved with a cat as she was today in one of ...