What happens when the day of your long-planned family fun finally arrives... and it's 50 degrees outside... or raining? Avoid being cooped up in a hotel room with grumpy kids or turning around to make the long drive back home - there's a hidden gem just down the road in a little town called Rock Springs.
That's how we stumbled upon the Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue & Educational Center a few summers ago. It ended up being a fantastic turnaround to what could have been a miserable day.
We checked in at the little booth and it was fairly quiet, so we ended up getting a personal tour with Jenny, one of the owners. They had just moved Daytona, a 3-month-old tiger cub, outside from living in their house and she was quite the entertainer. I would have loved to jump in her cage and snuggle her but she probably already outweighed me - and those claws still looked pretty long and sharp!
Jenny introduced us to each and every one of the dozens of big cats that live in the rescue. Many cats enjoy the luxury of their own personal sanctuary, some share a space. Every pen is huge, filled with toys and things to climb on, and surrounded by extremely tall metal fences. If one of the large felines decides to be "friendly" and come up to the fence, you are literally standing within 6 feet of them... absolutely amazing! (Just a helpful note that we learned: If a big cat starts to turn and lift their tail or leg... be sure you run the opposite direction as fast as you can, so you don't get sprayed!)
And when that mighty king lets out a roar, it shakes you to the core!
The rescue runs entirely on donations and sponsorships; none of their funds come from government support. Right now they are in the process of building a new Vet & Educational Center on the property, so they can take care of surgeries and routine care onsite. The cost to erect the building itself was covered by a foundation in Minnesota, but the rescue still need funds to complete the project. Consider making a donation - click here! As their site says, "Your donation makes a roaring difference!" Thank you!
*Wisconsin Big Cats Rescue & Educational Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.