Meet the Cats at Branson’s National Tiger Sanctuary

A tiger’s body temperature is 102 degrees so it’s safe to say that a tiger stays a lot warmer in the winter than we do! And with lots of shelter and comfortable habitats, the large cats that call the National Tiger Sanctuary home are up and at ’em and waiting to interact with the groups of visitors that stop by.

Most people spend an hour to two hours at the sanctuary so on a warmer winter day, it’s the perfect way to spend some family time. The sanctuary offers several different guided tours that allow visitors the once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet more than a dozen large, wild cats, learn about their habitats, eating habits, personalities and even watch them crunch through bones while they enjoy lunch!

Your knowledgeable guide will lead you through the sanctuary after you watch a brief, informative video at the visitor center near the front entrance. As you travel from habitat to habitat, you’ll be amazed at how intricate this animal species is and how important it is for us to take care of them.

A trip to the National Tiger Sanctuary is truly an eye-opening experience that you and the whole family will talk about for years to come.

The sanctuary is open Wednesday-Sunday with tours at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and is located just 10 minutes north of Branson and 20 minutes south of Springfield.

For tickets or more information, please visit www.bransonshows.com.

Have the Experience of a Lifetime at the National Tiger Sanctuary

National tigerJust 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.

National tigerAccording 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.

5 Branson Attractions That are Perfect for Students

The 2014-2015 school year has officially started for most students and that’s even more of a reason to come to Branson! Many of the biggest attractions are filled with educational value for all ages so next time you take a classroom, youth group or your children to Branson, visit some of these attractions and soak up all the interesting and informative information (and fun!) to be found.

1. National Tiger Sanctuarynational tiger

Learn all about these big cats’ diets, natural habitats and temperaments. Choose from the Awareness Tour, Feeding Tour, Behind-The-Scenes Tour or the You Feed Tour and experience these incredible lions and tigers up close and personal. Make sure you bring your camera for some amazing photos at the National Tiger Sanctuary! For tickets or more information visit http://www.bransonshows.com/activity/buyNationalTigerSanctuaryinBransonMOTickets.cfm.

2. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! MuseumRipley’s Believe it Or Not!

Who knows, all the random information here might come in handy one day. The Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum has the most eclectic collection of artifacts from around the world and you really won’t believe your eyes.  Browse the incredible exhibits and see real shrunken heads, a two-headed calf, vampire killing kits and so much more. For tickets or more information visit http://www.bransonshows.com/activity/buyRipleysBelieveItOrNotMuseumTickets.cfm.

3. Promised Land ZooPromised Land Zoo

Experience some of the world’s most rare and endangered animals at the Promised Land Zoo. Animal handlers will teach you all about the exotic birds, sloths, large cats, zebras, kangaroos, reptiles and more interesting creatures. A day spent bottle feeding baby animals, watching live animal shows and exploring the zoo with an on-foot safari is a day well spent! For tickets or more information visit http://www.bransonshows.com/activity/buyBransonsPromisedLandZooTickets.cfm.

4. Shepherd of the Hills HomesteadShepherd of the Hills Homestead Tour

Brush up on some local history at the Shepherd of the Hills Homestead where you can tour the property and see many of the historic sites mentioned in Harold Bell Wright’s famous novel Shepherd of the Hills, watch Ozarks residents act out the novel at the outdoor theatre, or dine on delicious down home country fare at the Round-Up On the Trail Dinner Show while you’re entertained by talented musicians onstage. For tickets or more information visit http://www.bransonshows.com/activity/HistoricHomesteadTour.cfm.

5. Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery

Producing more than a million trout every year, the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery is a fantastic well-rounded learning experience. With self-guided tours detailing the trout production process, lakeside activities, hiking trails available and opportunities to hand feed the hungry fish, a visit to the hatchery could easily fill several hours.

With so many attractions that are student friendly, Branson is the perfect location for an educational and fun day trip.

 

Get a Behind the Scenes Look at Some of Branson’s Best Entertainment

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the curtains or how the performers prepare to bring you some of the best entertainment of your life? Experiencing one of Branson’s great shows from your seat is one thing, but getting the opportunity to go backstage is a whole other experience in itself.

If you’re looking to get up out of your seat and take your visit to Branson to the next level, check out these behind the scenes tours available to you through Branson Shows.

Behind the Scenes Sight & Sound Tour

Sight & SoundWatching the amazing productions put on by the Sight & Sound cast and crew, you only get a glimpse into the complexity of each show. With the behind the scenes tour, you’ll learn about the million watts of lights, sixty-thousand watts of sound and more than 20,000 square feet of stage that make the whole thing possible. Find out how the crew keeps the lights, sounds, stage and animals on cue, take a peek inside the scene shop to see how those gigantic and impressive sets are created and step foot onstage into the life of an actor, and discover what it’s really like to bring a Bible story to life. For tickets or more information, visit http://www.bransonshows.com/activity/JonahatSightandSoundTheatreBranson.cfm.

National Tiger Sanctuary Behind the Scenes Tour

national tigerTeam up with the staff after the Tiger Sanctuary closes for the day and experience the end-of-day feeding. See how these big cats’ food is prepared every day, help feed them and then watch them devour their dinner as they easily crunch through bones. You’ll also get an insider’s perspective on the extensive amount of care these cats require just to make sure they are provided with a high-quality, stress free environment to live in. For tickets or more information, visit

Check out these special tours for an out-of-seat, interactive experience that will give you a whole new perspective on these two Branson attractions.

 

Both Kirby VanBurch and His Cats Move to New Homes

kirby-vanburch-showAccording to an article from Ozarksfirst.com, Kirby VanBurch recently announced his move to a new location, the Club inside the Lodge of the Ozarks for a new “up close” magic show where he says he welcomes the increased audience interaction and the new challenge of people being up close while he does his magic.

He also announced that the large cats featured in his magic shows would be living in a new home at the National Tiger Sanctuary. Their new homes will be nearly 10-thousand square feet, compared to their previous 600-square foot cages.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The article states that with Kirby’s move to a new theater, he just didn’t have a spot for them.

His cats, Blackie and Bambi were moved to the sanctuary on June 27 and the other three were scheduled to be moved early last week.

To read the full article or watch video coverage, visit http://www.ozarksfirst.com/story/d/story/magicians-tigers-moved-to-sanctuary/41607/Z_D7qfs0UE2zoWVNPGMxnQ.

For more information about the Tiger Sanctuary, read our previous post: Get Up Close and Personal With the Wild Cats of the National Tiger Sanctuary.

 

Get Up Close and Personal With the Wild Cats of the National Tiger Sanctuary

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Planning a vacation to Branson this summer? If you’re hoping to plan a wide variety of activities for your family, why not make a visit to the National Tiger Sanctuary? Just a 10 minute drive north of Branson, the National Tiger Sanctuary is a nonprofit environmental, educational center open to the public and serves as a safe, stress-free environment and forever home for all the animals that live there.

When I visited the sanctuary, I was surprised by the size of it. All of my previous experiences with tigers took place in huge city zoos but this place was different. Neatly nestled in the calm Ozark hills, this was smaller, more homey and less congested with visitors.

The sanctuary provided several different tours: an awareness tour, a feeding tour, a behind the scenes tour and a you feed tour where you can actually help feed the tigers.

Before leaving the main building where I got my ticket, the tour guide sat everyone down to first explain what we could expect from our experience there. Without further delay, she led us outside behind the building where the animals’ habitats were set up. The first cat I came into contact with was an adorable and friendly striped housecat taking a nap on a nearby bench. She looked very content in her home, surrounded by other cats five times her size and provided me with a nice welcome to the sanctuary. Although cute, that little housecat still couldn’t prepare me for the wild cats I was about to encounter next.

Our tour guide led us through the sanctuary gate and stopped at the first habitat on the right where a very large, black tiger stood up and stared curiously right at our group. She began telling us about Midnight, the melanistic tiger whose unique black coat was lacking the traditional tiger stripes due to inbreeding. As the guide continued to talk about more of Midnight’s history and coloration, I very quickly realized that this would not be like any other trip I’d taken to the zoo.

A trip to the National Tiger Sanctuary is much more about being introduced to several very special cats, each of which have an individual life story and a distinctive personality. Because of the small number of tigers that live there, staff members are able to spend more time with each animal, allowing for a consistent relationship to form as well as a deeper understanding of each individual cat and its quirks.

It’s clear that the animals here are very happy and it makes animal lovers like myself glad to know that while many tigers in the wild face extinction, these tigers have a permanent, life home that is safe, healthy and happy.

The tour lasted about an hour and a half and the staff allowed us to take as many pictures as we wanted, which was fantastic because these tigers like to have their photos taken. Just about every one came to the front of the habitat to get its photo taken and interact with the crowd. And let me tell you, it’s one thing to see a picture of a tiger but an entirely different thing to encounter one in real life.

I have no doubt that Branson visitors of all ages will love vising the National Tiger Sanctuary and are guaranteed to leave with both a newfound knowledge and environmental awareness of the lives of tigers.

In addition to being a home for tigers, you’ll also get to meet a variety of domestic cats and dogs that have been rescued and adopted by the sanctuary!

So if you’re in Branson this summer, you and your family might just consider stopping by. You won’t regret it!

The National Tiger Sanctuary is located at 518 State Hwy. BB in Chestnutridge/Saddlebrooke, MO, just 10 minutes north of Branson and 20 minutes south of Springfield.

Hours are Wednesday-Saturday with tours at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

For tickets or more information, visit http://www.bransonshows.com/activity/buyNationalTigerSanctuaryinBransonMOTickets.cfm.

Exciting Family Attractions in Branson

titanicWhile there are lots of fun, exciting events and activities in Branson as the season changes from harvest festivals to the holidays, don’t forget about the many attractions that the city has to offer! This city always has the best in family-friendly activities, so bring the kids and enjoy not only the upbeat shows but everything else too!

Enjoy an afternoon at the National Tiger Sanctuary to experience all of the excitement of seeing these beautiful big cats and more! Get up close and personal with the furry animals, with just three feet of cage between you and the critters for a great view while standing in absolute safety! Guided tours run three times a day, and they lead you past the big cats as they sleep, play, and look utterly majestic!

You can also enjoy family-fun time at Shoot for the Stars Mini Golf! Make your claim to fame as you make your way across the course – each of the 18 holes is a step toward becoming a Hollywood star! At the first hole, you’ll meet your new agent, Marty McBooster, who will stay with you along the way, dispensing hilarious advice on how to make it in Hollywood! You’ll also see famous landmarks like the Hollywood Bowl, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the Capitol Records building, and the shops along Rodeo Drive! You’ll get lots of star-quality photo ops as you make your way toward the final golfing challenge at the Walk of Fame!

A trip to Branson wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Branson Titanic Museum! Visitors to the museum will have the opportunity to become a passenger on the giant ocean liner’s tragic maiden voyage and experience the factual past of this unforgettable moment in history! The museum, only a half-scale model of the Titanic, is large enough for many different exhibits and activities for visitors, from the Memorial Room to the Grand Staircase! This emotional journey allows guests to walk the staircase, see a first class stateroom, touch an iceberg, and look back in time through an exclusive Father Browne photographic collection! And remember, coming in 2014, there will be a new gallery showing the lives, loves, and legacy of the Titanic’s eight musicians with an epic ballad of the sea!

For more ideas about fun attractions while in the area, check out our website!