The Exotic Feline Rescue Center in Center Point, Indiana is there to rescue big cats people stupidly think will make good pets - until they grow into lions, tigers, cougars, bobcats, and leopards. They rescue them from defunct circuses. They rescue them from living their lives in small 7' x 7' travelling cages. They have a very large and amazing space for the big cats who all have room to roam and play. With a tour guide to lead you through, you can get close enough to pet (but don't do it!) a big cat who will slowly and stealthily amble over on the biggest paws you've ever seen to check you out. They might even greet you with huffing sounds or throaty "mews." I was most awed by the sounds the cats make - only cougars can purr like housecats (did you know that) and the lions began to roar throughout the facility, creating a primal fear inside me that was thrilling (but only because I knew they were all behind heavy-duty wire fencing).
Jane, our guide, gave us a most leisurely tour and we even got to go behind the scenes to see some of the cats not on public display. Overall, I think we spent 2.5 hours there and enjoyed every minute.
The cats (all 210 of them on the day we were there) were all well-tended, healthy individuals, and there were times when you felt you could reach out and touch (but only a stupid person would do that).
If you get a chance to see this place and have a nice visit, do it! It's just about an hour west of Indianapolis.
All photos but the first one were taken by Jerry Carpenter.