Just north of Branson off Highway 65 lies one of the most interesting live animal attractions in the Branson area — The National Tiger Sanctuary. I went to the there just a few months ago and I still find myself wanting to go back for another visit.
Unlike a regular zoo visit where you visit each animal’s habitat on your own, the knowledgeable staff at the Tiger Sanctuary will take you on a guided tour through the property.
This means that in addition to seeing the animals up close, but you also pick up a wealth of information along the way.
My guide took her time leading us from habitat to habitat, telling us about the history of each large cat; where it came from, its personality traits and quirks and facts about each wild species of cat.
Most zoos just give you general information about the type of animal you’re viewing but I loved how the sanctuary staff made the effort to introduce each and every cat to you in a more personal way.
The sanctuary focuses on tigers because staff say they make great ambassadors for environmental awareness.
According to the organization, “Tigers are the most idolized, but exploited, animal on the planet. However, despite having no natural predators, tigers are facing extinction, with less than 2,000-3,000 left in the wild.”
This sanctuary is not only an enjoyable attraction for visitors, but it’s also a great way to spread awareness and educate the public about the dangers that tigers face in the wild.
Some of the tigers that call the National Tiger Sanctuary home were confiscated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from people who were trying to sell them into the black market. Others come from their previous homes at zoos across the countries and you’ll even find Merlin, from the Kirby VanBurch Magic Show, living life happily in the grand outdoors.
Visiting the National Tiger Sanctuary is a great experience and would make for a fantastic family day trip. The staff offers a variety of different tour options, depending on how comfortable you feel with getting close to the large cats and how in depth you’d like to go. Choose from:
- National Tiger Sanctuary Awareness Tour: Visit the cats as staff tell you interesting facts about each one.
- National Tiger Sanctuary Feeding Tour: Tour the sanctuary, learn interesting facts and watch the big cats crunch through bones while they eat.
- National Tiger Sanctuary Behind-the-Scenes Tour: Experience firsthand the care taking of each cat. See how their food is prepared, help feed them and watch as they eat dinner.
- National Tiger Sanctuary You Feed Tour: Feed the cats yourself.
No matter how in depth you choose to go at The Tiger Sanctuary, you’re bound to have a blast and I’m sure you’ll be like, wanting to go back again and again!
The National Tiger Sanctuary is at 518 State Hwy. BB, Chestnutridge/Saddlebrooke, just off of Highway 65 between Branson and Springfield.
For tickets or more information, visit http://www.bransonshows.com/activity/buyNationalTigerSanctuaryinBransonMOTickets.cfm.