I've said it before, I'll say it again... the best zoo in DFW isn't a zoo at all.
The Center for Animal Research and Education (C.A.R.E.) in Bridgeport is a non-profit organization dedicated to education, research, rescue, and long-term care for exotic animals.
Located on 20 acres, CARE currently provides a permanent home to over 40 animals including mountain lions, African lions, tigers, black and spotted leopards, bobcats, ring-tail lemurs, llamas, and a coati.
My wife and I were introduced to CARE about a decade ago and we instantly fell in love. The animals of CARE come from a wide variety of places. Some were abused, abandoned, or bred to be exotic pets before they came to the facility. Others were retired from shows and traveling, sent from other facilities that needed help, or were simply unwanted by private collectors. Regardless, they are all given tremendous love and world class treatment when they find a home at CARE.
As you can see, the residents at CARE have plenty of room to roam... and our experiences with the big cats always feels much more personal than if we were at a zoo.
Since we're adoptive parents we can do things like feed the big cats (above) and even go INSIDE the lemur enclosure to feed them too! (below)
Recently, a tiny baby lemur showed up at CARE, approximately two months old - named "Momo" and she's just adorable! My wife was able to hold her briefly during our stay this weekend. Again, being adoptive parents at CARE has it's benefits!
Don't let that cute face fool you though.
She arrived at CARE tiny, malnourished, and dehydrated. She is now being hand-raised by the kind folks at CARE who will have to feed and care for her until eventually she can (hopefully) be introduced to (and acclimated with) the other lemurs. There's no guarantee they'll accept her. The one guarantee is the folks at CARE are going to give her a fighting chance.
Recently, CARE debuted the luxury Safari Suites and people from all over the world have been flocking to Bridgeport, Texas to experience this once in a lifetime adventure. These "adult only" rooms are nestled 16 feet above two lion and tiger enclosures. You can see Slade and Boomer on one side - and Araali and Zuberi on the other.
This weekend my wife and I were privileged guests in the Suites, and we felt like we were in a 5-star hotel with the most amazing views!.
We were assigned our own personal attendant who saw to our every need. From food and beverage, to ice, more towels.. you name it! There was even a flat screen TV on the wall, which we kept off most of the time.. I mean who needs TV when you have the BEST program right outside your window!
It was an experience we'll never forget.... like being in Africa... but in reality just a short drive from home.
And now YOU have the opportunity to stay in the luxury Safari Suites at CARE for FREE!
Well, sort of... check this out!
In order to help cover the mounting veterinary bills for some of their sick and aging animals, CARE is holding a Safari Suites Fundraising Raffle! Winners receive a 2 night stay in the luxury Safari Suites! They're also throwing in a one-year sponsorship of any animal of your choosing. WOW!
The raffle is open until August 6th so don't wait! Enter here
As a parting gift we were treated to a personalized "art piece" courtesy of Noel. As you can see she's quite talented. And don't worry, this is child's paint and 100% edible.
Before we left, we visited with Dhalia the Llama (get it?) She's a tripod. Originally brought to CARE with a broken leg, she was in just too bad of shape to keep the leg (or use a prosthetic), so after amputation she's adjusted wonderfully. She's as sweet as can be!
Since you made it this far down the page obviously you care deeply about animals.
So allow me to say it again..... if you're thinking about taking the family to a zoo, DON'T! Take them to The Center for Animal Research and Education (C.A.R.E.) in Bridgeport instead. It may be a bit of a drive but trust me, it's worth it. The experience you'll have and the connection you'll make with these animals will be so much more meaningful.
And remember, CARE is non-profit, so any donation you make is tax-deductible.