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Visiting the Sanctuary

Exclusive opportunity to visit the animals at Forest Animal Rescue

As a true accredited sanctuary, our concern for the well-being of the animals will always come first.

B-Bear, American black bear

In our opinion, it is not in line with the definition of “sanctuary” if we allow our need for funding to override the right that the animals have to a stress-free environment. We have found the compromise to offer exclusive guided tours only twice a month, led by one of the sanctuary’s founders in our Land Rover.

Most of the animals at the sanctuary have suffered at the hands of humans before their arrival here, so they are naturally uncomfortable in the presence of new people.

By limiting the frequency and using the sanctuary’s vehicle to give the tours, we respect the privacy of the animals. The animals remain calm and relaxed in their habitats. They are confident that the strangers will maintain a respectful distance because they are in the vehicle and accompanied by someone they have grown to trust.

Yes, we know that we could make more money if we gave more tours, but we choose to protect the animals’ privacy rather than use them as an attraction to make money. That is the situation from which many of them were rescued. We have faith that our loyal supporters will see it our way and help us to provide the best, most peaceful, sanctuary setting we can provide.

Tours are given twice a month in the sanctuary’s Land Rover. Due to COVID-19, our tours have been on hold for too long – it’s time to resume! We require registration and prepayment to reserve your spot.

The sanctuary is not open to the general public; this is the only way to visit the animals. Final driving directions to the sanctuary gate will be emailed after your booking is complete.

The cost is $50 per person (all ages) for up to six people at a time, and the funds are used to help care for the animals.

Upcoming tour dates:

  • Saturday, May 13, 2023 – 11:00 am-12:30 pm RESERVE NOW
  • Saturday, May 27, 2023 – 11:00 am-12:30 pm RESERVE NOW

59 thoughts on “Visiting the Sanctuary”

  1. how long does the tour last and are cameras allowed? Are there walking areas of the tour or strictly in the LR?

  2. The tour lasts around 90 minutes and cameras are recommended. The majority of the tour is in the Land Rover but there are small parts (like the bat habitat) where you can get out and take a closer look. Closed toe shoes are recommended.

  3. Ricardo, As a true sanctuary, we do not allow any physical contact between the wild animals and any person on the property, including our volunteers. This is for the safety of the people and the animals alike. These are all wild animals, rescued from situations of abuse or neglect and physical contact with humans is not on their agenda.

  4. I would prefer no public visitation at all considering the situations these animals endured. However I understand the need for money to take care of these animals and I appreciate the fact that you only allow two visits per week supervised. I am grateful to you for caring about these animals and their well being by also not allowing physical contact with the animals for the danger factor and for the mental well being of the animals. They have been through enough and it is something I wish more people would try to understand who and what these animals are and be glad they they actually get to see them at all. Thank you for taking such great care of your residents, especially Tony and Roy. I am a big fan of their mom Sabrina and the Wildcat Sanctuary

  5. Thank you for your kind words Valerie. Its a shame how many people just don’t understand how stressful it is for the animals to have constant visitors. We appreciate your understanding very much!

  6. Hi! Thank you for asking.

    Our mailing address is 640 NE 170th Ct. Silver Springs, FL 34488 and is on the bottom of every page of our website. The physical address is very close to that address, but we don’t publish it widely because we are not open for people to just drive here and see the animals. If you schedule a tour, you will receive the exact final driving directions.

  7. Hi, my name is Angela and I am interested in visiting this sanctuary. It has been my lifelong dream to see a full grown wolf and other exotic and wild animals. Of course, I would respect them in their natural habitat and not disturb them. But, it would be my dream come true if I got to see a wolf.

  8. Thank you for your interest in visiting the sanctuary. We offer guided tours of the sanctuary twice monthly and you are welcome to reserve a seat on a tour. We (and the wolves) hope to meet you when you join us.

  9. I just moved to Marion county with my dad and sister who have live here for 25 years . I have also been a Veterinarian Technician for over 20 years I would love to Volunteer. I will being working at Ocala Animal Hospital mid July..

  10. We typically have one tour on a Saturday each month. I am setting one up right now for August 19th – you can reserve a spot here on our website if you would like to join us. Thanks!

  11. I agree with Valerie re visiting. There is an inclination to want to see these animals, but it is not in their best interests. I think it is a shame that you don’t have a virtual tour on your website to see the animals and their habitat. That might be a way of garnering donations from those who would like to see the sanctuary and animals but don’t want to stress them.

  12. Thank you for your comment. The good news is that we are in the process of slowly redesigning our website and a virtual tour is on the ‘to do list. Check back!

  13. Lisa,

    How can I go about getting signed up for your August 19th tour? I didn’t find a spot on your website for that tour. Thank you.

    Christine Ricci

  14. Charlie, Unfortunately we cannot allow animals other than sanctuary animals inside the compound for the safety of your animal and ours.

  15. Hello I am currently a student working on licenses as a veterinary technician. Is there any jobs available in this position if so may I have any sugeestion pointers in what yall are looking for in employees. I also live in Texas as well.

  16. The only way we hire a person is if they have first completed a successful internship with us. Their performance as an intern is how we determine if they will be a good fit for us as an employee.

  17. Hello, My husband and I live in the area (SE ONF near Pittman) and my Godchild and husband are visiting in early March of this year. I see that you do not have any “tours” scheduled but my niece/godchild is very much an animal advocate as we are. In fact, for our Christmas gift this year- Hollie and her husband adopted a deer at a place in Wisconsin in our name for our Christmas gift. So…if we could give back to her the gift of a visit to a Florida sanctuary perhaps it could be a gift for all of the animals as well as us the humans who respect, love and appreciate them. Please let me know.

  18. Hello, when it says no tours scheduled at this time. Does that mean you are done with tours for this month (March)? I am only in town for a short period of time but am very interested in visiting the sanctuary.

  19. We have been hosting winter break volunteer groups from several colleges lately. This has limited our tours for most of this month. We will be adding another date for March and two dates for April shortly. Please check back!

  20. Hello – when will the tour date for July be posted? I’m excited to surprise my fiancé with a trip to see these beautiful animals.

  21. Sorry for the delayed reply – the July dates are online now. We will be posting August dates soon as well.

  22. Good morning! Did the red pandas arrive yet? My granddaughter is very interested in a career working with especially pandas. Thank you!

  23. Hello, would love to visit but as I am from New York would have to plan accordingly. What are your dates for September and October?

  24. We have been waiting until after the hurricane to schedule more dates, but they will be published soon. If you contact us by email (link at the bottom of our website) and let us know your schedule, we may be able to plan a t our whiile you will be in the area.

  25. Hi. I am a small animal veterinarian in Ct. Im visiting the villages From Oct 5 to the 10th to explore retirement options and opportunities to still work with animals. I noticed there are a few sanctuaries in Ocala and was interested in pursuing options to visiting a few. Do you have any tours available during that time slot. How far are you from the villages.

  26. Dr. Schatz, We are 30-40 minutes away from The Villages. We are in the process of sorting our our calendar to put tours on the website but haven’t published them yet. Please email us (use the contact link at the bottom of our website) and we will try to coordinate our schedule with yours. We would love to meet you.

  27. We give guided tours only twice monthly by reservation. You can see the dates on the website under “Visit the sanctuary” on our home page. The January tours have not been set yet, if you email us with some notice we can see if our schedule works to set a date that also works for you.

  28. We haven’t selected dates for April yet, but we normally schedule one on a Sunday and one on a Tuesday or Wednesday. If you have dates to suggest, you can email them to us and we can see if we can coordinate our calendars.

  29. My Fiance and I would like to schedule a tour. Do you have anything available for June or July?

  30. With the COVID-19 issues, we don’t currently have tours on the calendar. However, we are coming closer to a decision on when and how we will resume limited tours. If you sign up for our e-news on our website, you will be one of the first to know when we are scheduling dates. Meanwhile, feel free to send us an email through the website to suggest dates in July that would work for you and we will see what we can do to have our dates line up.

  31. If you sign up for our e-newsletters on our website (we won’t share your information or spam you) – We will update everyone by an email to our supporters when we start giving tours again.

  32. Do you have gift certificates for your tour? I’d like to give a pair to my 10-year old granddaughter for Christmas (her Mom or Dad would accompany her).

  33. We don’t currently have tours on the calendar due to COVID-19 – however, if you sign up for our emails on our website you can be among the first to know when they are scheduled again. If you would like to buy a gift certificate for her to schedule a tour at a later date, whenever they are available again, simply mail a check to us for $50 per person with a note regarding it’s purpose and we can mail a card to you or to her directly with instructions on how to schedule the tour. Be sure to include a way to rach you if we have any questions.

  34. I read an article that you were getting red pandas back in 2019. I don’t see them listed anywhere. Did they never make it out of their former country?

  35. Hi, I will be in the Silver Springs area on Saturday, January 30th to Monday, February 1st. Can a tour be scheduled on any of the following days? If so, what time? Thank you.

  36. I’m sorry, tours are not currently being scheduled for the safety of the animals and our staff. The only way visitors can normally visit is by a guided tour inside our Land Rover. This will not allow for proper distancing. If you sign up for our e-news on our website, you will be among the first to know when we resume tours again. Thank you for your understanding!

  37. Unfortunately we don’t have a tour on the calendar for November due to COVID and scheduling issues.

    If you watch our website and events posted on our Facebook page, you will be among the first to know when another tour is scheduled. We plan to resume tours in December. I’m sorry if we missed you this time you are in town. Hopefully it will work out next time. Feel free to email us if you have dates in advance of your next trip that you would like to inquire about.

  38. With the new COVID variants, we have not scheduled tours for January and do not know when we will have more just yet.

    If you sign up for our e-newsletter and/or follow us on Facebook, you will know when we will announce new dates.

  39. I will be in Florida February 4-6 are you doing any tours that weekend? I am a big red panda fan and would like to come see your.

  40. Unfortunately, the red pandas didn’t make it to our sanctuary as planned. Here is a link to the post about the unfortunate story behind it.

    Our tours are currently on hold until we have a way to safely drive people around in our Land Rover without the risk of COVID spreading to the staff or animals. If you would like to sign up for our e-newsletter or follow our Facebook page, you will be among the first to know when tours resume.

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