Mecca Ray-Rouse1 Comment

5 Zoos You Can Feel Good About Visiting

Mecca Ray-Rouse1 Comment
5 Zoos You Can Feel Good About Visiting

We’ve all been to a zoo at some point in our lives. We loved watching the monkeys swing from branch to branch and the lions’ huge canines when they let out a big yawn. How else can we see these animals without traveling across the world to book an African safari or hike through an Asian rain forest?

Zoos are incredibly popular because they bring exotic animals to, almost quite literally, our own backyards. But unfortunately, there are some zoos and even some sanctuaries that force their animals to endure extreme conditions and hours of boredom and stress everyday, just so we can continue to view them for our personal entertainment.


We often hear zoos or sanctuaries say that they are working to “conserve” animals and “prevent extinction,” but unfortunately these words don’t always mean what we think they mean. Conserving for some can mean these animals endure abuse as they are pushed to procreate leading to injuries, illness, and in many cases — death. Then, to make up for the loss in animals, some zoos will capture new animals from their homes and start the breeding process all over, making for a never-ending cycle. Please note: not all zoos or sanctuaries are guilty for these practices. There are plenty of out there who do an incredible job of conservation (For more information check out!

Fortunately for you, we’ve compiled a small list of some places working hard to save animals from inhumane conditions and to prevent more animals from being exposed. These are places that we can support and 100% feel great about, and they allow the public to stop in for a visit!

Here are some of our favorite sanctuaries and the animals they are working hard to save and protect:


big cat rescue

tampa, florida

Big Cat Rescue is one of the largest sanctuaries for big cats such as lions, tigers and bobcats. They rescue and provide a safe environment for cats that have been abused by the zoo or circus industry, orphaned by hunters at birth, or abandoned by owners that had planned to keep them as pets.

And the best part? You can visit Big Cat Rescue and see their work first-hand! They offer private tours and opportunities to watch as workers feed and care for the animals.


The Wild Animal Sanctuary

keenesberg, colorado

The Wild Animal Sanctuary focuses on protecting wolves, tigers, bears, and educating the public on the care and safety of large carnivorous animals. It is their goal to give the public a unique viewing experience, allowing people to overlook vast, serene settings of the animals in their natural habitats.

The cost of visits cover hosting fees and support their efforts to save these animals. By stopping in for a visit, you will be supporting their work and educating yourself on the care of wild animals.


Lions, tigers, & bears - A big cat & exotic animal rescue

Alpine, California

Lions, Tigers, & Bears prides themselves on being a “safe haven” for animals that have been abused or abandoned. Rather than breeding or selling, they protect these animals to ensure they live out the rest of their lives in a safe and happy environment.

You can book a visit and see the work that they are doing for these animals. There are opportunities to view and feed the animals, and they even have an overnight-stay package!


International Exotic Animal Sanctuary

Boyd, Texas

From bobcats and lions, to bears and even lemurs, the International Exotic Sanctuary works hard to save and protect as many wild animals as they can. Through their “Emotional Enrichment Program” they work with animals to ensure they aren’t stressed or scared and improve their quality of life.

Tours are offered every day and provide visitors with views of the animals and education on their care and safety.


Best Friends Animal Society

Kanab, Utah

As the largest no-kill animal sanctuary, Best Friends works hard to ensure every animal that enters it’s doors is cared for and protected. Whether it be dogs, cats, parrots, horses…there’s no limit to the type of animal they are willing to work with.

Guided tours for their sanctuary are available, or you can visit one of their regional locations that may not be too far from where you live! And the best part — They’re completely free!

Here at the Parks Apparel, we pride ourselves on being more than just an outdoor apparel company. Through our Guatemala project, every purchase made protects 100 square yards of land for endangered wildlife like the Yucatan Black Howler monkey. To learn more, visit

By being diligent and choosing to support animal havens that really protect their inhabitants, you are making a conscious choice to be more informed about wild animals while still getting to experience the beautiful species that these organizations are working so hard to save. These are just a few places out there that we know for sure you can feel good about visiting - however, there are plenty others out there! So next time your thinking of heading out to a zoo or sanctuary, be sure to conduct a bit of research on your own to make sure you are supporting those that are doing good for the animals we all love so much.