Tigers & Wildlife in Captivity

Roadside Zoos

Small, unaccredited zoos where wild and exotic animals suffer in captivity. We fight for stronger laws, and better enforcement of existing laws

Animaland in Pennsylvania. Roadside zoos speckle the American terrain. They are typically modest collections where wild creatures such as lions, tigers, monkeys, wolves, and various others are confined, enduring considerable suffering.

Sep 2011Texas4Failed SanctuaryCarolina Tiger Rescue – NCBuild Enclosures
Sep 2011Texas3Failed SanctuaryBig Cat Rescue – FLBuild Enclosures
Jan 2012Mississippi3Roadside ZooBlack Beauty Ranch – TXTransportation
Jun 2012Ohio2 + 2 LionsPrivate OwnerCarolina Tiger Rescue – NCTransportation
Nov 2012–Feb 2013Arkansas28BreederTurpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge – ARBuild Enclosures
Apr 2013Wisconsin9Roadside ZooExotic Feline Rescue Center – INBuild Enclosures
May 2013Kansas1Drug DealerBlack Beauty Ranch – TXTransportation
May 2013Kansas2 CougarsDrug DealerIn-Sync Exotics – TXTransportation
Oct 2013Missouri2Private OwnerSafe Haven Wildlife Sanctuary – NVTransportation
Oct 2013Missouri2 LionsPrivate OwnerCedarhill Animal Sanctuary – MSTransportation
Jan 2014Texas10 + 3 CougarsBreederIn-Sync Exotics – TXTransport & Vet
Feb 2014Arkansas1Private OwnerIn-Sync Exotics – TXTransportation
May 2014New York3Roadside ZooBig Cat Rescue – FLTransportation
May 2014New York6Roadside ZooExotic Feline Rescue Center – INTransportation
May 2014New York2Roadside ZooSafe Haven Wildlife Sanctuary – NVTransportation
May 2014New York3 LionsRoadside ZooIn-Sync Exotics – TXTransportation
Jun 2014Texas1BreederCedarhill Animal Sanctuary – MSTransportation
Jul 2014Texas3Private OwnerCarolina Tiger Rescue – NCTransport & Vet
Aug 2014Alabama2BreederCarolina Tiger Rescue – NCTransportation
Sep 2014California1ExhibitorWildcat Sanctuary – MNTransportation
Sep 2014North Carolina2Private OwnerExotic Feline Rescue Center – INBuild Enclosures
Oct 2014Alabama2BreederCarolina Tiger Rescue – NCTransportation
Nov 2014Indiana2Roadside ZooWildcat Sanctuary – MNTransportation
Dec 2014Wisconsin6BreederIn-Sync Exotics – TXTransport & Vet
Feb 2015Ohio3Roadside ZooThe Wild Animal Sanctuary/Rescue – COBuild Enclosures
Aug 2015Ohio3 + 1 LeopardsRoadside ZooBig Cat Rescue – FLTransport & Vet
Aug 2015Ohio3Roadside ZooSpirit of the Hills – NDTransportation
Aug 2015Ohio1 Ligers + 1 CougarsRoadside ZooKeepers of the Wild – AZTransportation
Sep 2015California1AbandonedLions Tigers & Bears – CATransportation
Sep 2015New York3 + 1 LeopardsPrivate OwnerWildcat Sanctuary – MNVet Care
Sep 2015Indiana5Roadside ZooExotic Feline Rescue Center – INTransport, Vet & Enclosures
Jan 2016Ohio3Roadside ZooShambala/Roar – CATransportation
Feb 2016Virginia3Traveling MenagerieExotic Feline Rescue Center – INVet Care
Mar 2016Ohio1Roadside ZooSafe Haven Wildlife Sanctuary – NVTransportation
Mar 2016Mexico6 + 1 Cougars + 2 JaguarsVariousThe Wild Animal Sanctuary/Rescue – COBuild Enclosures
Apr 2016Peru1CircusBig Cat Rescue – FLBuild Enclosures
May 2016Texas1Private OwnerInternational Exotic Animal Sanctuary – TXBuild Enclosures
Jul 2016Iowa2Roadside ZooExotic Feline Rescue Center – INVet Care
Sep 2016Colorado7 + 1 Lions + 1 Ti-Ligers + 2 CougarsBreederTurpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge – ARBuild Enclosures
Sep 2016Colorado3 LeopardsBreederIn-Sync Exotics – TXTransportation
Sep 2016Colorado2 LemursCub PetterWildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation – TXTransportation
Oct 2016Colorado11 + 3 Lions + 2 Ligers + 1 LeopardsBreederTurpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge – ARTransportation
Oct 2016Colorado5BreederIn-Sync Exotics – TXTransportation
Oct 2016Colorado3 CougarsBreederWildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation – TXTransportation
Oct 2016Colorado5 + 2 Caracals + 2 CoatimundisBreeder/Cub PetterCarolina Tiger Rescue – NCTransportation
Oct 2016Colorado4BreederWildcat Sanctuary – MNTransportation
Nov 2016Colorado5BreederExotic Feline Rescue Center – INTransportation
Nov 2016Colorado1BreederWildcat Sanctuary – MNTransportation
Nov 2016Colorado5BreederBig Cat Rescue – FLTransportation
Nov 2016Colorado2BreederWildcat Ridge Sanctuary – ORTransport & Enclosure
Nov 2016Colorado1 LionsBreederSafe Haven Wildlife Sanctuary – NVTransportation
Dec 2016Colorado3 + 1 Leopards + 2 BobcatsBreederCarolina Tiger Rescue – NCTransportation
Dec 2016Colorado2BreederPopcorn Park Animal Refuge – NJTransportation
Dec 2016Colorado1BreederBlack Beauty Ranch – TXTransportation
Dec 2016Colorado5BreederIn-Sync Exotics – TXTransport & Enclosure
Dec 2016Colorado3BreederBlack Pine Animal Sanctuary – INTransportation
Dec 2016Colorado2BreederExotic Feline Rescue Center – INTransportation
Dec 2016Colorado4 + 2 BearsBreederForest Animal Rescue – FLTransport & Enclosure
Dec 2016Colorado4BreederPerforming Animal Welfare Society Paws Ark 2000 – CATransportation
Jan 2017Colorado2BreederWildcat Ridge Sanctuary – ORTransport & Enclosure
Jan 2017Colorado2 BearsBreederRocky Mountain Wildlife Park – COTransportation
Jan 2017Colorado5 BearsBreederTurpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge – ARTransportation
Feb 2017Colorado4BreederPerforming Animal Welfare Society Paws Ark 2000 – CATransportation
Mar 2017Michigan2Roadside ZooExotic Feline Rescue Center – INTransportation
Apr 2017South Carolina1 + 1 LeopardsEntertainerExotic Feline Rescue Center – INTransportation
May 2017Texas1Private OwnerIn-Sync Exotics – TXTransportation
May 2017Michigan2Roadside ZooWildcat Sanctuary – MNVet Care
Jun 2017Michigan2Roadside ZooExotic Feline Rescue Center – INTransportation
Sep 2017Indiana3 + 1 Lions + 1 Leopards + 1 BobcatsRoadside ZooExotic Feline Rescue Center – INTransportation
Nov 2017Indiana2Roadside ZooExotic Feline Rescue Center – INTransportation
Dec 2017Texas4Roadside ZooCedarhill Animal Sanctuary – MSTransportation
Jan 2018Texas2 + 2 BearsBreeder/SmugglerTigers to In-Sync Exotics – TX; Bears to small local zooTransportation
Feb 2018Indiana1Private OwnerExotic Feline Rescue Center – INTransportation
Mar 2018Texas1Breeder/SmugglerIn-Sync Exotics – TXTransportation
Mar 2018Texas1Private OwnerIn-Sync Exotics – TXTransportation
Apr 2018Texas4Roadside ZooCarolina Tiger Rescue – NCTransportation
May–Jul 2018Texas1Breeder/Smuggler Duffel Bag CubIn-Sync Exotics – TXTransportation & SSP
Oct 2018Kansas1Roadside ZooTurpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge – ARTransportation
Nov 2018Texas1BreederIn-Sync Exotics – TXTransportation
Dec 2018Saipan1 + 1 LionsRoadside ZooThe Wild Animal Sanctuary/Rescue – COFood, Vet
Dec 2018Oregon2 CheetahsAZA SSP ProgramIn-Sync Exotics – TXTransportation
Dec 2018Illinois2Roadside ZooExotic Feline Rescue Center – INTransportation
Jan 2019Oklahoma6Private OwnerTurpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge – ARTransportation
Feb 2019Texas3Private OwnerExotic Feline Rescue Center – INTransportation
Jul 2019California2 Lions + 1 HybridsFailed SanctuaryWildcat Ridge Sanctuary – ORTransportation
Jul 2019California1 + 1 LionsFailed SanctuarySafe Haven Wildlife Sanctuary – NVTransportation
Aug 2019California4 Servals + 1 HybridsFailed SanctuaryWildcat Ridge Sanctuary – ORTransportation
Sep 2019California2 + 1 Cougars + 10 Bears + 3 HyenasFailed SanctuaryThe Wild Animal Sanctuary/Rescue – COLogistics
Sep 2019California3 + 3 Lions + 4 CougarsFailed SanctuaryExotic Feline Rescue Center – INTransportation
Sep 2019California2 Cougars + 2 LeopardsFailed SanctuaryIn-Sync Exotics – TXTransportation
Sep 2019California3 BobcatsFailed SanctuaryBig Cat Rescue – FLLogistics
Sep 2019California3 LionsFailed SanctuaryCedarhill Animal Sanctuary – MSTransportation
Oct 2019California3Failed SanctuaryPerforming Animal Welfare Society Paws Ark 2000 – CATransportation
Oct 2019California3 + 2 LionsFailed SanctuaryExotic Feline Rescue Center – INTransportation
Nov 2019Texas3BreederIn-Sync Exotics – TXTransportation
Nov 2019California3 ChimpsFailed SanctuaryPrimarily Primates Inc. – TXTransportation
Dec 2019Texas2 BearsPrivate ZooThe Wild Animal Sanctuary/Rescue – COTransportation
Dec 2019Texas1 CougarsBreederCedarhill Animal Sanctuary – MSTransportation
Jan 2020Texas1BreederThe Wild Animal Sanctuary/Rescue – COTransportation
Jan 2020Various2 CheetahsRetired from AZA SSPWildcat Ridge Sanctuary – ORConstruction & Transportation
Feb 2020Texas2BreederConservation Center – FLVet Care & Transportation
Mar 2020Pennsylvania1Private OwnerPopcorn Park Animal Refuge – NJTransportation
Sep 2020Indiana14BreederIndianaTransportation
Oct 2020Oregon5 + 2 Lions + 5 Cougars + 2 CheetahsWildcat RidgeWildcat Ridge Sanctuary – ORFire Relocation
Oct 2020Oklahoma3 + 2 BearsBreederThe Wild Animal Sanctuary/Rescue – COTransportation
Oct 2020Oklahoma8 PigsBreederPrivate Ranch – OKTransportation
Oct 2020Oklahoma11 WolvesBreederThe Wild Animal Sanctuary/Rescue – COTransportation
Nov 2020California4Paws – CAPerforming Animal Welfare Society Paws Ark 2000 – CAVet Care
Nov 2020California1Paws – CAPerforming Animal Welfare Society Paws Ark 2000 – CAVet Care
Dec 2020North Carolina2Carolina Tiger Rescue – NCCarolina Tiger Rescue – NCMedical
Dec 2020Europe1 + 3 LionsRoadsides – EuropeFelidae – DenmarkMedical
Jan 2021Oklahoma14BreederThe Wild Animal Sanctuary/Rescue – COResearch & Logistics
Feb 2021MississippiLionsOn-siteCedarhill Animal Sanctuary – MSVet Care
Mar 2021CaliforniaTigersOn-sitePerforming Animal Welfare Society Paws Ark 2000 – CAVet Care
Apr 2021Guam1 Lions + 1 ServalsHotelThe Wild Animal Sanctuary/Rescue – COTransport
May 2021Canada2 + 2 LionsZooGranby ZooTransport
Jun 2021North CarolinaTigersOn-siteCarolina Tiger Rescue – NCVet Care
Sep 2021TexasCougarsOn-siteIn-Sync Exotics – TXVet Care
Oct 2021Romania7 LionsPrivate OwnerFelida – NetherlandsTransport
Oct 2021TexasTigersOn-siteIn-Sync Exotics – TXRehab
Nov 2021Ukraine1Private OwnerFelida – NetherlandsTransport
Jan 2022CaliforniaTigers + LionsOn-siteShambala/Roar – CAVet Care
Feb 2022Nevada2 CougarsAbandonedSafe Haven Wildlife Sanctuary – NVBuild Enclosures
Mar 2022Thailand1Phuket ZooWildlife Friends – ThailandTransport
Mar 2022Missouri1 CheetahsZooSafe Haven Wildlife Sanctuary – NVTransport
Mar 2022Texas9CircusIn-Sync Exotics – TXTransport
Mar 2022Argentina4CircusLionsrock Sanctuary – South AfricaTransport
Apr 2022IndianaTigers + LionsOn-siteExotic Feline Rescue Center – INDentistry
May 2022Texas1Private OwnerIn-Sync Exotics – TXTransport
Jun 2022Ukraine9 LionsZooTargu Mures – RomaniaTransport
Jul 2022Guam6NightclubThe Wild Animal Sanctuary/Rescue – COTransport
Jul 2022Montenegro1 LionsPrivate OwnerFelida – NetherlandsTransport
Jul 2022CanadaTigers + LionsZooPopcorn Park Animal Refuge – NJTransport
Oct 2022RomaniaLionsZooThe Wild Animal Sanctuary/Rescue – COTransport & Vet Care
Oct 2022Romania2 LionsZooSimbonga Game Reserve & Sanctuary – South AfricaTransport & Vet Care
Dec 2022California1Private OwnerSafe Haven Wildlife Sanctuary – NVTransport & Vet Care
Dec 2022Kansas1 CougarsWildExotic Feline Rescue Center – INBuild Enclosures
May 2023Argentina2Private OwnerAl Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife – JordanTransport
May 2023Illinois2 CougarsPrivate OwnerExotic Feline Rescue Center – INTransport
Jun 2023Ukraine1 LionsPrivate OwnerFelida – NetherlandsTransport
Jul 2023Nevada2 Lions + 3 LeopardsHotelIn-Sync Exotics – TXTransport
Jul 2023Nevada6HotelWildcat Ridge Sanctuary – ORTransport
Jul 2023Montana1 + 1 Cougars + 1 LeopardsRoadside ZooExotic Feline Rescue Center – INTransport
Jul 2023Czech Republic1Private OwnerTIERART – GermanyTransport
Oct 2023Nevada6Private OwnerExotic Feline Rescue Center – INTransport
Nov 2023Sudan15 Lions + 1 Servals + 1 Sand cats + 5 HyenasSanctuarySafe zoneTransport & Vet Care
Dec 2023Montana2 WolvesRoadside ZooExotic Feline Rescue Center – INTransport & Enclosure
Dec 2023Illinois2 FoxesWildlife CenterExotic Feline Rescue Center – INTransport & Enclosure
Dec 2023Czech Republic1Private OwnerTIERART – GermanyTransport
Dec 2023Pennsylvania1 LionsHotelPopcorn Park Animal Refuge – NJTransport
Dec 2023Oregon1 CheetahsZooSafe Haven Wildlife Sanctuary – NVTransport
Dec 2023Thailand12 + 3 LeopardsBreederWildlife Friends Foundation ThailandTransport & Vet Care
Feb 2024JordanLionsAl Ma’wa for Nature and WildlifeLionsrock Sanctuary – South AfricaTransport & Vet Care
Mar 2024Indiana2 ServalsPrivate OwnerExotic Feline Rescue Center – INTransport & Vet Care




71 Lions
3 Ligers
1 Ti-Ligers
31 Cougars
18 Leopards
8 Cheetahs
2 Jaguars
2 Caracals
8 Servals
6 Bobcats
1 Sand cats
2 Hybrids
2 Lemurs
2 Coatimundis
25 Bears
13 Wolves
2 Foxes
8 Pigs
8 Hyenas
3 Chimps




  • In operation more than 5 years
  • Has 5 or more rescued tigers
  • Has 20 acres or more
  • No buying, selling, trading
  • No breeding, no cub handling
  • No public interaction with animals
  • Large enclosures
  • Proper veterinary care
  • No taking animals off site
  • Willing to take more tigers
  • Permanent staff
  • Volunteer program
  • Education program
  • Awareness program
  • 501(c)(3) tax exempt status
  • Revenue greater than $500,000/yr
  • Administration cost less than 20%
  • Fundraising efficiency above 80%
  • Forever home
  • Long term viability
Roadside Zoo’s

Here are a few of the grimmest spots for animals:

Don’t fall prey to the misleading facade of so-called “sanctuaries” or “rescues” appended to their names—a cunning tactic employed by many roadside zoos to deceive unsuspecting visitors.

Be sure not to spend any of your vacation time at places where animals will still languish in misery long after you’re back home

If you’ve tuned into the Netflix series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness, you may have caught wind of some of the roadside zoos spotlighted below. These exploitative attractions capitalize on tigers, lions, and other wildlife for financial gain, subjecting them to enduring misery that Tiger King only scratches the surface of. By patronizing these outdated showcases, vacationers perpetuate their existence, perpetuating the cycle of animal suffering. Resist the allure of highway billboards and roadside attractions.

Alligator Adventure – North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Reptiles aren’t regulated under the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), so hundreds of alligators, crocodiles, snakes, and other reptiles at Alligator Adventure are afforded no protection. Alligators live in crowded enclosures, where they have to fight for food and “death roll”—the term for what the animals often do to kill prey—each other. Many alligators are missing limbs. Employees attempt to break up fights by hitting the animals with large sticks. Workers also tear baby alligators away from their mothers and tape their mouths shut for shows and public encounters. Also at Alligator Adventure, visitors have observed a cougar pacing, which is a sign of psychological distress. The owners confine many other animals––such as a bobcat, kookaburras, and scarlet macaws––to small, barren cages.

Barry R. Kirshner Wildlife Foundation – Oroville, California
The Kirshner Wildlife Foundation has a long history of acquiring infant animals torn away from their mothers. Since 1995, it has acquired over 100 baby wild animals from breeders and other roadside zoo operators. The facility also has a history of abuse, attacks, escapes, and fines for violating state and federal laws as well as evidence of an inability to meet the country’s minimum standards for animal care.

bear in a desolate concrete pit at a North Carolina roadside zoo

Cherokee Bear Zoo and Santa’s Land – Cherokee, North Carolina

Cherokee Bear Zoo and Santa’s Land—two roadside zoos located on tribal land in western North Carolina—keep bears and other animals in grossly inhumane conditions. As if they were stuck in the 1950s, these facilities display often neurotic bears in desolate concrete pits or cramped cages.

Clark’s Trading Post – Lincoln, New Hampshire

Clark’s Trading Post confines North American black bears to grossly undersized and barren concrete pits and forces them to ride scooters, be pushed on a swing, and eat ice cream from a spoon.

Hovatter’s Wildlife Zoo – Kingwood, West Virginia

Hovatter’s allowed an alpaca’s teeth to become so overgrown that the animal’s ability to eat was impaired, and it failed to provide young lion cubs with adequate nutrition. The feds cited the roadside zoo for failing to provide chimpanzees with adequate enrichment after PETA filed a complaint, which presented evidence that the chimpanzees had experienced hair loss—possibly as a result of over-grooming caused by a lack of stimulation—and that one chimpanzee repeatedly sucked on his hand for over 30 minutes.

Lagoon Amusement Park – Farmington, Utah

The feds have slapped Lagoon Amusement Park with various citations for violating the AWA, including repeated ones for inadequate veterinary care, filthy enclosures, and inadequately trained staff. The owners confine a solitary lion to a tiny, barren concrete cage next to a screeching steam train and surrounded by roller coasters packed with screaming crowds. They also keep numerous other species—such as a camel with drooping humps, which can be a sign of weight loss or dehydration—in small, bleak pens.

MarineLand – Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

MarineLand displays beluga whales, dolphins, sea lions, and walruses in cramped tanks. The infamous marine park has imported beluga whales and dolphins abducted by humans from their ocean homes, and visitors are allowed to feed and touch the belugas throughout the day. The park also keeps bears, deer, bison, and elk confined to cages, surrounded by noisy roller coasters and other theme park rides. An investigation conducted by the Toronto Star detailed widespread reports of negligence, cruelty, and mass animal graves.

Natural Bridge Zoo and Virginia Safari Park – Natural Bridge, Virginia

The Natural Bridge Zoo keeps a lone elephant named Asha, who has spent years without the company of another elephant. During the winter, she’s locked inside a cold, damp barn, and in the summer heat, she’s forced to walk in endless circles while giving rides. The roadside zoo has been cited for nearly 150 violations of the AWA, including for denying dozens of animals adequate veterinary care, withholding food from bears, confining animals to mud-filled enclosures, and using cubs who were too young to be handled and others who were too big and strong for photo ops. The U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA has ordered Natural Bridge Zoo to pay more than $20,000 in federal animal welfare penalties and suspended its license on two separate occasions, and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has also suspended its permit because of unsanitary and inhumane conditions.

Nearby, at the Virginia Safari Park, workers subject animals to a pattern of mistreatment. In 2018, CEO Eric Mogensen was assessed a $99,999 civil penalty to settle an administrative lawsuit brought under the AWA alleging that animals at Virginia Safari Park and Mogensen’s other facilities were denied veterinary care for diseases and injuries. This included a spider monkey named Jethro, who was euthanized after being left out for several days in frigid temperatures and not given timely veterinary care for frostbite he sustained as a result. The lawsuit also alleged that Mogensen had falsified records to cover up the intentional drowning of a wallaby by his daughter, who was convicted of cruelty to animals for the crime.

Oswald’s Bear Ranch – Newberry, Michigan

At Oswald’s Bear Ranch, the public handles bear cubs and uses the animals for photo ops. These highly disruptive practices often result in long-term psychological and physical issues. Breeders tear cubs away from their mothers and ship them to Oswald’s. Observers have seen cubs pacing and crying out—signs of severe distress. Bears at the facility have died after being trapped in a collapsed den, following a drug overdose, and from other undisclosed causes. Workers have also slaughtered at least six bears at Oswald’s and told a state inspector that “mean” bears should be “harvested” and “made into jerky.”

The Preserve – Fredericksburg, Texas

The Preserve is the grandiose rebranding of Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT), an “entertainment” company that rented out elephants for movies, photo shoots, elephant rides, parades, and cheesy reality television shows. HTWT is on record endorsing the use of painful electrical shock devices called “hot shots” to discipline and control elephants. And HTWT trainers were caught on video beating endangered elephants, including a baby, with bullhooks and shocking them with electric prods. Not a lot has changed for the elephants under the exhibitor’s new name—trainers still wield painful bullhooks to intimidate the animals and force them to participate in photo ops as well as gimmicky “tricks” such as playing a harmonica, kicking a soccer ball, and painting with their trunks. No true preserve would ever force animals to perform for visitors.

Pymatuning Deer Park – Jamestown, Pennsylvania

The feds hit this notorious roadside zoo with an official warning for more than a dozen AWA violations—including for confining visibly ailing bears to concrete pits, with no opportunities to swim, climb, dig, den, or engage in other types of natural behavior. Other violations included repeatedly failing to clean up animals’ waste, failing to maintain a current veterinary program, and failing to have a sufficient number of adequately trained employees—among many other issues.

SeaQuest Aquariums – Multiple Locations

Nationwide, SeaQuest aquariums have popped up inside shopping malls, and in just a few years, the shady company has amassed dozens of reports of animal neglect, animal deaths, legal violations, and injuries to the public. Owners of SeaQuest imprison animals indoors, confining them to cramped and crowded enclosures. A steady stream of human visitors harasses the living, feeling beings—all so the exploitative business can make a profit.

stingway at seaquest aquarium

At SeaQuest’s Las Vegas location—cited and fined $2,000 for illegally possessing four baby otters—former employees reported seeing birds stepped on and killed, turtles crushed by children, and an octopus boiled alive when the tank’s water temperature changed. Officials suspended the state permit of the SeaQuest in Littleton, Colorado, after a series of state law and permit violations, including an incident in which a sloth sustained serious burns to his face from a heat lamp. And within a month after a SeaQuest opened in Folsom, California, a visitor reportedly found a dead stingray in a tank. Children were still touching the animal’s lifeless body. Are there any SeaQuest aquariums on your road trip itinerary? Click on the link below to view our interactive Google Earth presentation with Chrome to find out

Bird imprisoned at SeaQuest

Suncoast Primate Sanctuary – Palm Harbor, Florida

PETA has campaigned against this decrepit hellhole for many years—dating back to when it went by Noell’s Ark and then Mae Noell’s Chimp Farm. This facility is by no means a “sanctuary”—rather, it’s a roadside menagerie with a long history of AWA violations. Although license revocations are extremely rare, the USDA yanked the facility’s exhibitor’s license in 1999—yet the same roadside zoo, operated by the granddaughter of the original owners, opened a few years later under a misleadingly grandiose name. Repeatedly cited, the owners of the facility keep primates in rusty, dilapidated cages with jagged edges.

Pongo in a cage at Suncoast Primate Sanctuary, a Florida roadside zoo

Three Bears General Store – Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Three Bears General Store has a lengthy history of animal welfare violations, including failing to provide animals with adequate veterinary care and clean drinking water. The USDA has repeatedly cited Three Bears for failing to allow the animals to enter their dens during the day in order to escape public view or take shelter from inclement weather. The owners confine two Asiatic black bears to a virtually barren concrete pit, where they have nothing to do but pace back and forth and beg tourists for food. The two bears reportedly can’t live together, so they each only have access to the deplorable outdoor pit by themselves for short periods each day and are otherwise confined to small spaces indoors. In nearby Gatlinburg, there are yet more bear pits. Gatlinburg Wildlife Encounters keeps bears in similarly appalling conditions.

Tregembo Animal Park – Wilmington, North Carolina
PETA has been monitoring this roadside zoo—one of the worst in the country—for over 20 years. Visitors have documented the horrible living conditions for animals, including algae-filled water receptacles and cramped, filthy cages, and have even found bodies of dead and decaying animals on the property. An eyewitness documented that the owners keep animals—in apparent need of veterinary attention—inside small cages. Video footage shows a limping guenon monkey, a fox and a donkey with hair loss, and a bobcat who appeared to have difficulty navigating up a structure. Many animals at this facility exhibit neurotic repetitive behavior patterns. In 2017, after two North Carolina residents filed a lawsuit against Tregembo alleging that the roadside zoo’s treatment of the bears Ben and Booger violates the state’s anti-cruelty statute, officials moved both bears to a reputable animal sanctuary

Jambo the giraffe at Tregembo Animal Park, a North Carolina roadside zoo

West Coast Game Park Safari – Bandon, Oregon

The owners relegated a teenage chimpanzee named George to a small enclosure at this highway roadside zoo after the entertainment industry cast him aside when he became too large to control. He shares the already cramped space with another chimpanzee named Daphne, who has spent nearly half a century trapped in inadequate conditions. West Coast Game Park also forces baby wild animals into photo ops, tearing sensitive bear and big cat cubs away from their nurturing mothers in order to make a profit. After PETA alerted the USDA to a suffering leopard named Ninja—found sucking on a raw, untreated wound on his tail—the agency cited the roadside zoo for failing to provide the animal with adequate veterinary care. On a follow-up visit, inspectors documented additional animals suffering, including a bear with extensive hair loss. A solitary peccary was also languishing at the facility with an inflamed eye and overgrown hooves. The USDA concluded that the safari park has a “pattern of personnel not performing adequate daily assessment of animal health.”

Delightful Destinations – You won’t be taking home anything but souvenirs and great memories from these stops:

  • The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) is an organization that has rigorous standards of sanctuary management and animal care. GFAS-accredited sanctuaries never breed animals or use them in commercial activities. These refuges provide animals with excellent lifelong care. Some of the member sanctuaries provide educational tours, but not all do, so if you’re interested in visiting one with tours, please check before you go.
  • Established in 1963, the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park was the first undersea park created in the United States. The park, combined with the adjacent Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, encompasses 178 nautical square miles of coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangrove swamps. Park workers established these areas to protect and preserve the only living coral reef in the continental United States. You can swim with the animals—in their home, on their terms.
  • Another stop in the Keys could be The Turtle Hospital, which rescues and rehabilitates turtles in trouble and releases all those it responsibly can back into the wild.
  • Nashville Shores’ Treetop Adventure Park is a thrilling obstacle course with suspended bridges, scramble nets, swinging logs, Tarzan jumps, and more, all set in the woods. There are also a water park, camping facilities, and a dog park.
  • The Adventuredome is America’s largest indoor theme park. It features thrill rides, traditional carnival rides, laser tag, miniature golf, bumper cars, midway booths, an arcade, clown shows, and more—all located under a huge glass dome. Only in Las Vegas!
  • Magic Springs Theme and Water Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, has top concert acts and tons of rides in addition to its water park.