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Animal habitats, sanctuaries, havens in Central Florida

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Big Cat Rescue: Located in Tampa's Citrus Park area, this is a nonprofit educational sanctuary and a home for more than 100 big cats, including tigers, lions, bobcats and leopards. Tours for ages 10 and older are at 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday Wednesday and Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Those visiting with children younger than 10 can tour only on Saturday or Sunday at 9 a.m. Tours are $25 ($15 for younger than 10); 12802 Easy St., Tampa; (813) 920-4130

Suncoast Primate Sanctuary: This former roadside attraction is now a nonprofit retirement home for 70 animals including monkeys, baboons, orangutans and chimps, (among them an 80-year-old "Cheetah" from the Tarzan movies). The attraction is open to the public Thursday through Sunday; 4600 Alt. U.S. 19, Palm Harbor; (727) 943-5897

Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary: Located on more than 30 acres in Sarasota, this nonprofit facility houses lions, tigers, bears, chimps and other animals in need. It is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.; donations of $12 for adults and $7 for children accepted; 7101 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota; (941) 371-6377

Dade City Wild Things: This 22-acre nonprofit sanctuary for more than 170 animals includes lions, tigers, bears, monkeys and other creatures. Tours are 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily; $22.95 adults, $12.95 children age 2-12; free for children younger than 2; 37245 Meridian Ave., Dade City; (352) 567-9453

Back to Nature Wildlife: The largest nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation facility in Central Florida raises, rescues and rehabilitates Florida wildlife. Located on 20 acres, it is open to the public daily from 9 to 4 p.m.; 18515 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando; (407) 568-5138

Genesis Zoological Home: This small animal habitat has been in operation in Polk County for 14 years and now houses species such as the Florida panther, Siberian tigers, leopards and lemurs. Open to the public (for a $2 donation) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday; 747 Howard Road, Auburndale; (863) 965-8706

The Center for Great Apes: This sanctuary for orangutans and chimpanzees from the entertainment industry, from research, or who are no longer wanted as pets is located in Wauchula. Among the animals is Michael Jackson's former pet Bubbles. The center is not open to the public; www.centerforgreatapes.org.

The Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation: This 200-acre, $5 million preserve in rural Polk County is home to more than 60 elephants. It is not open to the public.

Wildlife Survival Sanctuary: This habitat is home to leopards, tigers, cougars and bobcats. 18212 Bowman Road, Spring Hill; (352) 797-4785

Wildlife Rehabilitation of Hernando: This five-acre refuge has rescued lions, tigers, cougars and other wildlife. Owner Jimmy Jablon recently spent 30 days in a cage to raise money for this nonprofit refuge, which offers limited tours by appointment; 360 Suncoast Blvd., Spring Hill; (352) 279-3600

Kowiachobee Animal Preserve: Located in Naples, this nonprofit "animal learning facility" is home to 100-plus animals, including a lion, tiger, leopards, panthers, bobcats, reptiles and other animals. Open to the public by appointment only; 2861 Fourth Ave. S.E., Naples, (239) 352-538

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