The Indiana Insider Blog

Indiana’s wild kingdoms

Some people, when they go to a new city, seek out the best steakhouses. Others look for bead shops or comic book stores. Me? I’m a sucker for zoos. From big elaborate zoos to small hometown animal havens, I just love going to the zoo. And Indiana has plenty of zoos to boast about. But we also have two must-see places for animal lovers that are NOT zoos.

The Exotic Feline Rescue Center in Center Point, Indiana and Black Pine Animal Sanctuary in Albion provide homes for hundreds of rescued and retired animals.

One of EFRC's 200+ residents

As its name suggests, the Exotic Feline Rescue Center (EFRC) houses big cats — lions, tigers, bobcats, leopards and more. The residents of EFRC came to live there as a result of being abused, abandoned or otherwise homeless.

For nearly 20 years, EFRC has been a nationally-recognized center for big cat rescue, beginning with just three cats in 1991 to 210 felines of nine different species today.  Those 210 animals eat an amazing 3,000 pounds of meat each day!

Visitors are welcome at EFRC, which is open Tuesdays through Sundays. Admission is $10/adult and $5 for children under age 12. The Center will host a Fall Fest on Saturday, September 18 at 5:00pm. Extended tours will be given, followed by a weenie and marshmallow roast.

Black Pine Animal Sanctuary not only provides homes for captive-raised, non-domestic big cats, but also for a variety of birds, reptiles, primates, bears and other animals.  What started as a small collection of pot-bellied pigs, llamas and sheep in the late 1980s has grown into a “last chance” refuge for 85 animals. In December 2006, the Sanctuary moved from its original location to a new 18-acre site that includes rolling hills and mature forest.

Black Pine is open to visitors on weekends from 10am to 5pm through the end of October and on weekdays by appointment. Click here for admission prices. On October 2, the park will host “Lions, Tigers & Beer, Black Pine!” for adults ages 21 and older.

Both of these places are on my “Indiana Bucket List” — places I’d like to visit. Have you been to either? I’d love to hear what you thought.

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Written by : Amy moved to Indiana for college in 1988 (Go Bulldogs!) and has never left. Married with three children, she's always on the lookout for fun and affordable things to do in Indiana. Elsewhere on the web, you can find Amy at The Fourth Frog Blog and All Things Aging. Amy receives compensation from the Indiana Office of Tourism Development for blogging. For more information, see our FTC Disclosure page.