ST. CLOUD, Fla. — One animal reserve in St. Cloud is taking conservation and education to a new level, and letting the public get up close and personal with some amazing animals.
- Many big cats call Central Fla. Animal Reserve home
- Reserve shows conservation efforts, up-close experience w/ animals
- MORE INFO: Central Florida Animal Reserve Website
Tucked away in Central Florida is an animal reserve sheltering the kings and queens of the jungle.
“Once you’ve been around them, there isn’t anything like it, so you can’t get me away from them now," said Senior Handler Phyllis Parks.
Parks, a volunteer at the Central Florida Animal Preserve for over a decade, watches after the dozens of big cats that call this St. Cloud spot home.
“People are just amazed at how large they are. You’re up so much closer than a zoo. You’re up like 4 feet from them, so you get a real perspective on just how large they are," Parks said.
A variety of big cats reside on the property, from cougars, to tigers of all shapes and sizes, and even lions.
As you tour the facility, you’re learning about conservation efforts to help keep animals like these safe in the wild.
You’ll even learn these amazing creatures have a simple way of communicating with the staff — it’s called "chuffing" a simple vibration movement with your lips lets the animals know you're saying hello, and they're safe.
They'll even make a similar noise back to let you know you're welcome around them.
It’s an up close and personal adventure that will have you wanting to learn more about these incredible animals and help preserve their habitats in the wild.
The Central Florida Animal Reserve is open on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m., but they also take reservations for different dates and times.
For more information on how you can visit the reserve, head to their website.