The St. Augustine Wild Reserve is a non-profit organization that rescues and cares for neglected and unwanted exotic animals, including lions, tigers, and bears.
Located northwest of historic St. Augustine, near the World Golf Village, the St. Augustine Wild Reserve spans seven acres and houses over 80 species of wildlife, including bobcats, peacocks, turtles, wolves, lynxes, porcupines, leopards, and ligers.
Here is a broad look at this rewarding and inspiring attraction in St. Augustine.
What You Need to Know
The St. Augustine Wild Reserve was founded by Deborah Marlene Warrick who began rescuing abandoned pet wolves in 1981 and founded the reserve in 1995 to care for exotic neglected or abandoned animals.
The reserve is, first and foremost, a safe space for these animals to live. Unlike a traditional zoo, the Wild Reserve is not open to the public every day. However, they do offer guided tours of the reserve, by appointment, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays at 2 p.m.
The fee for visiting the reserve is $30 per Adult and $20 for children aged 6-10. Children 5 years old or younger are free. Please note that drop-in visits are not permitted and all tours must be booked in advance. This may be unlike other wildlife preserves, but it is important to maintain the natural ambiance and environment to protect the species.
More on Tours
Tours of the St. Augustine Wild Reserve are conducted by an experienced wildlife professional and last between one and a half to two hours. All ages are welcome on tours, and the Wild Reserve offers a nine-person golf cart for those who are elderly, disabled, or have trouble walking long distances.
During the tours, guests are guided through the seven-acre reserve and introduced to many species of exotic animals. Although guests are not allowed to make physical contact with the wildlife, they are allowed within five to ten feet of the animals for a close encounter.
St. Augustine Wild Reserve guides provide guests with information about each animal’s species and explain the story that led each animal to the Wild Reserve.
Guests may also witness one of the St. Augustine Wild Reserve’s tigers being treated to a luxurious bubble bath while exploring the property. During each tour, all the tigers on site are pampered with a lavender-scented bubble bath that cleans their coats and protects them from insects.
Preserving the Adventure
The St. Augustine Wild Reserve truly features all kinds of creatures: they care for white, orange, and tabby tigers, mountain lions, caracals, servals, coatis, and several species of wolves. You can also stop by one of Florida’s most accomplished bird sanctuaries right there on the grounds.
Not only does the Wild Reserve house fuzzy creatures, they also feature a variety of birds and even a hissing cockroach!
To protect their animals, photographs of any kind are not permitted during tours. However, the reserve does offer CDs and jump drives featuring over 200 professional photos of their animals for a modest price and the conclusion of each tour.
Some of the Wild Reserve residents have famous former owners: an African Lion and five Arctic wolves at St. Augustine Wild Reserve once were owned by Michael Jackson, who kept them at his ranch near Santa Barbara, CA.
The St. Augustine Wild Reserve states that their mission is to educate the public about the care of exotic animals in hopes to prevent abuse to animals in the future. Founded in 1995, the reserve emphasizes education in animal care, conducting presentations at schools and churches to raise awareness about proper treatment of exotic animals.
If you want to see big cats, wolves, or bears up close, register for a tour of the St. Augustine Wild Reserve and walk the trails. You are guaranteed a unique wildlife experience. Come see why the St. Augustine Wild Reserve is ranked by TripAdvisor as the #1 attraction in St. Augustine.
You can visit St. Augustine Wild Reserve 5190 Farm Creek Road, St. Augustine, FL 32092. For more information call (904) 940-0664.