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Animal Park at the Conservators Center

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal-Related, Animals, Education, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Zoos & Aquariums

Mission: The Animal Park is a nonprofit zoological organization that operates under three core tenets: educating people, caring for animals, and advocating for species. The Park's animal residents serve as ambassadors for their wild counterparts: You are more likely to become invested in these species after you meet them and learn about their inherent value. Looking a tiger in the eye, hearing lions call to one another, howling with wolves, and meeting a binturong for the first time will forever change your perspective. You protect what you know.

Results: We provide permanent homes to dozens of exotic animals; we also provide an exotic animal husbandry internship for students around the country and the world; we reach thousands of visitors and program recipients each year; we've critically supported overseas conservation programs in Chile and Vietnam.

Target demographics: Wildlife and wildlife professionals

Direct beneficiaries per year: About 80 animals on site, about 16,000 visitors and program recipients, local and national government agencies who need assistance with emergency placements

Geographic areas served: United States

Programs: Educational tours and events for the general public. Internships for college students. Workshops and activities for wildlife professionals and educators. Collaboration with North Carolina State University Center for Veterinary Medicine's Carnivore Team to provide students with real-world learning experiences. Home for wild animals who need to move from their current situation—this includes retirement/rehoming from zoos and other facilities; owner surrender of a wild animal for which they cannot provide care; and assistance to authorities who have confiscated wild animals from inappropriate homes.

Community Stories

191 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I would rate the Center even higher if I could. Positively MAGICAL! I go every year at least once a year (for my birthday) and shoot for more visits throughout the year. Go for the Twilight Tour-the nocturnal tours provide the opportunity to view most, if not all, of the animals alert and reactive. No tour is the same, the guides are SO knowledgeable (LOVE Kevin and Frank) and just take my word for it...when there's a dusting of stars in the sky, the lions are chuffing, and the wolves begin to howl...there's no place quite like it anywhere on Earth.

Lori Yates H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started as an animal enthusiast on a twilight tour falling head-over-heels in love with a white tiger and a white wolf. Then I booked another tour... and another one.... and another one... now, my family 'adopts' (sponsors) multiple animals. We get to visit regularly and build a relationship with our animals. I have also joined the organization as a volunteer to help with events. The Animal Park is an amazing opportunity to meet a variety of animals that one wouldn't often be able to encounter. A tour is typically 1-1.5 hours where you learn about the general species as well as the stories of the individual residents. Every visit has been unique and I am always looking forward to my next one whether it is as a volunteer, adoptor, or animal enthusiast head-over-heels in love with a lot more animals than when I started.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Animal Park at the Conservators Center is a magical place! I signed up for a photo safari tour and the staff was extremely knowledgable and caring towards their animals! The photographs I was able to take were national geographic level and I cannot wait to go back to see what else I can capture! Highly recommend to anyone especially those looking to get outside.

Pat D.7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I’ve gone to this Animal Park / Conservators Center every time I visit in North Carolina. The animals are well kept, obviously loved and cared for by folks that understand how to care for these animals. I appreciate the activities this center hosts to include their surrounding community, it raises awareness about these animals! And not just for adults, but they also have many activities for the kids to come in, have fun, and learn about their animals at The Park.
On a personal note - I’ve always loved bobcats, but since visiting here I have added a new love - the caracals

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A beautiful park filled with people who care about the animals and are passionate about their welfare and safety. I'm a lifelong cat lover and had never been to a conservatory like this before, it gives you a different view of big cats than you would see anywhere else since and you really get to see their personalities. My most memorable trip was in August 2018 when my fiance secretly planned our engagement in the park, they staged about half a tour before he asked me in front of the lions, and our guide had them roar for us afterwards! Ill never forget how kind everyone was and how welcome they made us feel! I wish we didnt live so far (we are from PA), we would be there all the time if we could :)

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is truly a wonderful place. So close to the animals yet very safe.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been a long time fan of the Animal Park and I am a lifetime adopter. From the first time I stepped foot on the property, I could sense the passion and care that the staff and volunteers here have for their animals. Visiting Animal Park is like being welcomed into family every time. They are professionals, yet you feel their warmth and eagerness to share their knowledge and provide a stellar experience which I think is an unusual combination to find in business. I visited recently and they are definitely on top of safety measures during the pandemic. It felt wonderful to be outside and be safely within a few feet of lions, tigers, leopards, binturongs and many many other species. The Park is a hidden gem and they provide so many fun and educational experiences for all ages. HIGHLY recommend Animal Park! It is a must do in the Triangle area and Triad area!!

Donor

Rating: 5

I love the Animal Park at the Conservator's Center. My husband and I started coming out on tours practically every month - we eventually became Lifetime Adopters and haven't been able to pull ourselves away. Everyone at this park loves what they do - which is caring for these amazing animals. I am so glad I found this place - truly my happy place!

Olivia R.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I heard about the Animal Park at a Holiday party 2 years ago and I am so glad I did! I have since been on multiple tours - on each tour I have learned additional information as every tour guide has a wealth of knowledge. I am so glad I am now a volunteer. The passion for the mission and the animals are on the forefront of everything that is done!

Elise G.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I first came to visit The Animal Park when I was a first year in college. I absolutely loved every moment of my visit and have learned so much from their educational experiences and mission. In fact, I enjoyed it so much for the past four years I have been checking to see if they have employment opportunities. This summer I finally found a match! I am so thankful for everything this organization has done for the community as well as myself.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer at this organization for about three years now and I am seriously obsessed! On my first tour, I was moved to tears not only by the incredible experience of hearing wolves howl and lions "oof," but by the love and dedication of staff and volunteers and their touching relationships with the animals. It's pretty rare that you can go to a zoo and hear about every individual animal's favorite treats and unique personality quirks. By forming a personal connection with the animals and becoming educated about their species and wild counterparts, vistors (myself included!!) are empowered to love and conserve the world around them and protect endangered species and ecosystems. You can't leave this powerful place without feeling deeply enlightened and moved! The Conservators Center is wonderful organization that does amazing work and I cannot say enough good things about them

2

Donor

Rating: 5

This IS my happy place! ������������������

I’ve been involved with the Center for over 15 years. All of the staff and volunteers are truly incredible!

I cannot express what a privilege it has been to have watched these tigers and lion cubs grow into the amazing adult they are today! All of these animals mean the world to me and many others as well.

If you have never visited the Conservators Center, I highly recommend scheduling a tour. Trust me....you don’t want to miss out on this opportunity!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I fell in love with the Center and its residents during our first visit as part of a tour. Came back for a special event, realized we wanted to be a bigger part of this place, and became a lifetime adopter to a gorgeous caracal. Then fell in love with the human "residents" (the amazing staff and volunteers), signed on to volunteer, and added a handsome lion to our lifetime adopter circle. All the animals are so loved and well cared for (many, if not most, are geriatric, so their care can be complex); it's an honor and a pleasure to spend time in their company. We learn something new about the animals, and each species' important role in our wider world, on every visit.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Conservators Center is home to a plethora of exotic animals. The staff truly cares about each and every one of those residents and does an amazing job of sharing their passion for these critters and their wild counterparts with the public during their guided tours. If you want to learn about some amazing animals and have a renewed connection to wildlife, this is the place for you.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been going to the Conservators Center for years and it is a truly special organization. It is clear that the staff is knowledgeable and dedicated to helping these animals, and they are passionate about teaching visitors about the animals and conservation. I originally started going for the tours, but have come to love the special events like the pumpkin prowl and tree toss even more. This year, my husband and I are participating in a special program for the new wolf pups and it has been such a great experience to visit and learn about their growth every month. Overall, this is just a special place and I can’t say enough good things about the people who make it possible.

2 Annie M.5

Donor

Rating: 5

I was a lifetime adopter at The Conservative Center for many years. I so admire the dedication, love and care this facility and its staff have for these animals. I was able to develop a special bond with my tiger friend., Freya . She is no longer with us, but I am looking forward to many more years of continued engagement with the center.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been involved with the Conservators Center for 20 years. This is one of the best non-profits of their kind. They take excellent care of the animals and go above and beyond to ensure the safely of the employees, visitors and the animals. They provide various enrichment items for the animals to keep them active and entertained. I have always been very pleased at how clean the animal enclosures are kept.

They offer a variety of tours and other programs that are suitable to all age groups. They also provide for individuals that have mobility issues.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've been several times to the Conservators Center, and plan on many more! I've been on the a regular tour and a photo tour, both experiences were awesome! The staff is incredible, and make you feel appreciated and very welcome. The guides know the animals well, from where the animals came from to things they really like. Those details make a world of difference when going around and meeting these animals. There aren't many workplaces of any kind with staff that seem to mesh together and look out for each other like they do here. Not only do they care about having visitors and tours, but it is very evident they care just as much or even more for the animals.

Get on their site and book a tour, you will it regret it!

1 Nancye Hernsmith B.

Donor

Rating: 5

We adopt 3 animals at the center and it’s truly been an enriching experience in our lives. We tell all of our friends and family members about the center and as a result, several people have visited and made donations. We are thrilled to be part of the family!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

To be so close to a Lion or Tiger that you can almost feel its breath. To look down and see paws twice the size of your hands. To be standing so near that when the Lions are "oophing" ( not quite a roar) you can feel it in your chest. To learn that each of these animals have a name, have quirky habits, and an interesting story. All this while being accompanied through the park by a knowledgeable tour guide who can answer all your questions. One trip will not be enough, and each subsequent visit will be unique. For me these visits turned into a decade long adventure as a volunteer. It has changed my life and I have seen others affected likewise.

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2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have visited this place often. First time was life changing. Now I just need to go back to see old friends and maybe a couple of new ones. To see large cats so close and to hear them "oof" is something you will not experience anywhere else.

2 Alanna C.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I worked for a short while in a small capacity for the Center. To say that the staff is passionate about their work would be a serious understatement. Everyone works so hard, and so many people donate their time simply because they LOVE it there. It is an amazing place to visit, and touring the site is a very unique experience compared to the average zoo! I will always recommend this place!!

1 Jordan M.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I fell in love with the Conservators Center on my first tour in 2013 and it’s only gotten better since then! Lions oofs are amazing each and every time! The animals are loved and cared for and the community of volunteers, donors, adopters, and visitors is unmatched. Truly a special place!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

The staff and volunteers at the Conservators Center have genuine compassion for the animals in their care. The tour guides are well versed in each species that resides there and the animals seem truly happy, there's no pacing/panting/behaviors that indicate they are stressed out. We take every out of town guest who visits us to the animal park and each has expressed how much they enjoy it, so much more than your state run zoo. Bonus is the binturongs which I had never heard of before visiting!

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2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Every visit to Conservators Center has been an amazing experience. My husband and I have taken every tour offered there, and each has it's own special charm with new and interesting information from each tour guide we've had. I like that there is not a scripted tour speech they follow so you can take the same tour multiple times with different guides and learn new things each time. The animals are calm and seem well adjusted to captive life, in fact most seem downright spoiled here! The love and care put into each animal and it's well being is definitely obvious. Kudos to all at Conservators Center for keeping these animals healthy, safe and most of all happy!

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have only made it to one event Lions, Tigers, and Beer. Timing only allowed for a short tour, but it was enough for us to want to adopt a couple animals and will be returning soon to get the entire experience. Thank you for taking such good care of our furry friends!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Best place in central NC. People are great, animals are great and it is a great educational experience.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A truly unique place and experience. I am honored to be a small part of this wonderful place!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first visited The Conservators Center back in 2004 and was immediately hooked. Ever since that day, I've volunteered there every weekend I am able to. Everyone at the Conservators Center - owners, staff, volunteers - puts the welfare and happiness of the animals 1st. I have "adopted" 2 animals and it makes me happy that I am contributing to their well-being and that they know me when I am there. It is so wonderful to get to know the animals - and to hear the lions "oooph" (that's conversational roaring) and the wolves howling is incredible. All these years later I stop what I'm doing to listen. It's still a thrill that brings a smile to my face each time. Every time my family visits from out of town they ask to come out to the Conservators Center and each of them has a different favorite animal. My nephew's 5-yr old daughter is currently in love with Muraco bobcat; she sponsors him (thanks to mom and dad) and sends him (appropriate) gifts from California.

1 thewb

Volunteer

Rating: 5

An amazing place with well-cared-for animals that you can get to meet up close and learn so much more about than at a typical zoological facility. A great place to visit for adults, kids and everyone in between, with walking tours from 45 minutes to two hours. Anyone who loves animals should visit!

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3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have learned so much by volunteering at this wonderful place. The entire staff is welcoming, friendly and extremely knowledgeable, with an unparalleled love for the animals in their care. The facilities are well-kept and the animals are obviously happy in their environments. I particularly love the experience of seeing first-time visitors' faces when they hear lions "oof," and their joy and wonder watching binturongs, an animal they most likely have never seen before. This place has changed my life for the better and I'd like to believe it does for almost everyone who visits or volunteers.

1 Terri Fulcher L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter and I came for a tour in 2010. I never left. We became volunteers together. She interned with the Conservators' Center before college. Over the years, I have moved from animal care to tour guide. The animals are such a joy to be around. The people are just an added bonus!

1 gtkach

Donor

Rating: 5

Amazing organization, where the animals truly come first!!

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer and friend of the founders of the Conservators' Center from the beginning days. I have had the unique opportunity to watch them grow from only a couple of rescues to the amazing organization that has given over 100 exotic animals not only shelter (often the only available second chance at life) but a loving environment with proper care and lots of love & enrichment.

Over the years I've helped with direct animal care, feeding the animals & cleaning cages, socializing young & new animals, clearing brush, construction, cage enrichment, tours, training new volunteers & interns, and assisting with fund-raising events! As you can see, the volunteer opportunities at CCI and the rewards of volunteering with these incredible animals AND equally amazing people are endless. You will fall in love with the individual animals and their stories, and you can't help but learn from the knowledgeable, passionate staff.

If you don't have the time to volunteer, I highly recommend at least scheduling a tour to see these majestic creatures in person. We offer several kinds of fun tours- basic, twilight, photography, shadow the keeper and treat enrichment! After visiting, you will see that the animals come first and all donations, every penny, truly does go into the care and happiness of these beautiful animals.

If you fall in love with a specific animal you can even adopt them...while you can't take your animal home, you can learn how to appropriately build a relationship with your animal. There are animals that even recognize the sound of their adoptive parents cars!! It's an amazing opportunity. Make sure to ask about adoption opportunities when you tour!

Although my life is crazy full with juggling a full time job, my own mini-zoo at home, and being a NC Wildlife Rehabilitator, you will find me volunteering most every Saturday out at the Center. I'm truly blessed to be a part of the Conservators' Center.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I heard about the Center from some ladies at work. I was trying to find a place for my family and I to entertain ourselves while they were visiting me. That was about 3 years ago. I was so enamored by the animals, the staff, the place itself that I decided to become a lifetime adopter. I began my weekly visits to see Miss Annika and decided that this was not enough! I am now a volunteer AND lifetime adopter to my beautiful Eurasian Lynx. I found my happy place and plan on spending even more time at the Center when I finally retire. 5 Star's is just not enough to express my gratitude for all that I have learned and love from this place

1 Disa P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Most zoological parks offer a visually entertaining experience. This place is so much more. You don't just see a lion, you meet Ra or Willow or Katrina...or some of the others. You learn about their species AND you learn about that particular animal. You observe the relationship these animals have with those that care for them. It's personal, it's intimate, it's educational, and it's so much more memorable because you don't just remember what you saw - you remember how it made you feel. After attending several times as a guest I knew I wanted to be a volunteer. After becoming a volunteer and developing a relationship with a special animal, I became a Lifetime Adopter. I

Previous Stories
2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I first visited the Conservator's center over a year ago. I fell in love! I love the animals, their stories, and the way the animal's care comes first! Many of these animals have some sad stories. Most are geriatric. Seeing them being cared for & living out their golden years surrounded by love is a very humbling experience. You get to observe these animals up close. You not only hear the lions oofing or wolves howling or singing dogs singing... You FEEL it. It's something you have to experience. I've brought several people to go on tours & one of them now volunteers there. I find myself trying to find different ways I can help the center because I believe in their mission & that seems to be the effect the center has on people.

1 Whitney Perry P.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Wonderful time with family visiting the animals at this zoo! My kids, age 8, 4, and 2, really enjoyed the Whisker and Tails tour. It was long enough to learn cool facts, but short enough to keep their attention and end before they lost interest. We love this place, and the animals are so awesome to see and interact with.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Conservators Center is a wonderful organization and place. The animals and their welfare are top priority, and the leadership and staff understand that education is a vital part of ensuring animal welfare and species preservation. Whether you're visiting, volunteering, or donating, you know you are a valued member of the community and have a role to play in their mission of caring for animals, educating people, and advocating for species.

1 Jordyn W.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The conservators center is a beautiful place that really cares for their animals and their community.

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The conservators center is where my heart is at. Between the animals, and the people this place is a joy to be at every weekend. The animals are #1 priority and are treated so kindly.

2 Kim_154

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've volunteered with Conservators Center for 13 years. I came to learn and help some beautiful animals. i stayed because I discovered not only happy, well-cared-for animals, but also founders and staff with a genuine dedication to responsibility, ethical decision-making, and educational and industry-level impact. Conservators Center does all of these things -- *and* has beautiful, charismatic animals ... *and* an education and advocacy mission. What's not to love and be proud of?

The Center has regular tours to see and learn about big cats, wolves, and species that may not be as famous but are immensely cool in their own right. They host special events like Tree Toss (animal enrichment and celebration), Lions, Tigers & Beer (animals and local chefs and breweries), a Halloween storytelling experience in the dark, as well as events for scout groups, school field trips, and partnerships with our nearby University. This place has something for everyone -- and is still looking to grow and improve in ways that benefit both animals and visitors. I can't recommend it enough!

Previous Stories
4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've spent thousands of hours over the last 7 years volunteering in all areas at this amazing Center, working behind the scenes in animal care, building secure habitats, raising young animals, and leading public tours. My husband and I began volunteering because we love animals, but we stayed because we saw how incredibly HAPPY the animals are in their lives here, how KNOWLEDGEABLE the founders and staff are about all aspects of captive management and larger conservation issues, and how ETHICAL the business and care practices are at all levels. This is a truly special place. So many reviews mention the passion, the respect and care, and the beautiful relationships that they see when on tour. Speaking from the inside, all of this is very real -- a reflection of the heart of the Center. I'm so happy it's visible to visitors; I'm even more honored to have been a part of it for such a long time.

1 Van Greer W.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Fantastic organization! This staff has nothing but care and devotion to their animal residents. Fun and educational environment!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Conservators Center is a truly remarkable place. The staff and volunteers clearly devote their all to the care of the animals who live there. The tours are informative and entertaining, and the events are always a blast!

1 Jo Page S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've never visited anywhere quite like the Conservators Center. Of course, that animals are the main attraction, but the people are the heart & soul of the organization. In spite of devastating losses they have suffered in the past 6 months, they remain dedicated to the care & well-being of the animals, and the safety, education & enjoyment of every visitor who walks the tour path. I've never taken a tour that I didn't learn something new, & thrill to the "oofs" of the lions calling each other. If you've never witnessed that in person, you haven't lived! The animals there are mostly refugees from closed facilities & failed adoptions (why do people think they can actually keep a serval in their home?) & I'm thankful the Conservators Center staff spend their lives caring for animals that would otherwise have no future.

2 Alain M.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This animal center is absolutely wonderful ! Visitors can see all the animals up close, while staying very safe and without disturbing those awesome animals. The lions and tigers can run, climb, relax and behave as they see fit in a natural environment.

This is not easy to accomplish and the center did a masterful job at it

Keep up the good work, I shall return

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am not sure where to begin. My family and I made the trip to the Conservators Center and we of course were excited to see animals. Seeing animals is only a small portion of the experience provided by the center. The knowledge and kindness of all of those who work and or volunteer there can be felt as you visit. The animals care and safety are clearly number one for everyone there. The bond with the animals is a joy to see. Visiting the center made me want to move closer to it to be a part of the family. We are already planning our next visit.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband and I first visited the Conservators Center shortly after we moved to the area. Friends had recommended it so highly, we were excited to check it out. The experience did not let us down! It was nothing short of incredible to be so close and personal with such magnificent animals. We enjoyed all parts of the tour, from the animals to the stories the staff told. It was such a wonderful experience, we now share it with our family and friends whenever they come to visit. Everyone always leaves thoroughly impressed! We can't wait for our next visits.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great experience with the animals and staff! I highly recommend for anyone who loves big cats or wants to get involved in animal husbandry!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

After several visits to the Center and taking many, many great photographs, I highly recommend a visit there ! You won't regret it.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My husband and I were taken to this center by some friends who are adopters/volunteers. We loved the experience! We saw some species that we had never seen before in person--a couple we had never even heard of. So cool! I was amazed how close we were to the animals which helps to truly get to know them through observation. The grounds were very well taken care of, the pens felt appropriately sized and thoughtfully created and located, and the animals seemed relaxed. I would recommend a stop to this center to anyone!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first visited the Center for a tour back in 2014 and immediately knew I was "home". Being interested in zoology, the Center became my place to learn and grow. I was surrounded by positive people who wanted nothing more than to create a safe environment for these animals to thrive and a place for the public to connect with creatures they would otherwise not know about. I volunteered in animal care and eventually became a member of the gift shop staff (though, I have sense left to pursue my animal science degree).

The Center has a fabulous tour program that is catered to all ages, a spectacular internship program for those in the animal science field, and is always accepting volunteers for all sorts of projects.

If you love animals, this is the place to go! It's kind of out in the boonies, but it is worth the drive. Whether you come for a tour, a special event such as Girl Scout Day, or you are a volunteer, this place will immediately hold a special place in your heart.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I first took a tour back in February living five minutes away I had heard about the conservators center but had never been. All my life in Caswell county it was about time. I'm going to school for animal care and management and decided after my Amazing tour I had that how awesome it would be to volunteer! So after volunteering a few times a spot in the gift shop opened up so I just went ahead and applied and I got hired on almost immediately. The conservators center is my safe haven. The people here are my family and the animals are my family. Each and every resident human or not on this property is cared for in so many extraordinary ways that makes the world a better place. They time and efforts put into each project big or small is amazing and the efforts put in to push for better things is unbelieveable! This is my home and this place is amazing!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been a life time adopter to one of the center's Lions (going on 2 years) and one of their Dingoes (just over a year) and it is truly a wonderful experience. I've read a review before where the person said there wasn't enough stars and I would have to agree. The animals here are taken care of very well and loved by all the keepers, staff, guides and volunteers. The people that run the place and take care of the animals continually go above and beyond and it shows. I have taken all of the tours and gone to nearly all of their special events as well. I love getting to know the animals and the people there better every time I go. It is my place of zen and helps me put life in perspective in life's difficult times. Thank you conservator's center, for all you do for the animals and for me.

3 Christy4

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been visiting and volunteering at the Conservators' Center for as long as I can remember, the animals and humans are like family to me. Matthai lion and I have a very special relationship. It has been an honor to sponsor him and be a part of his life for the last almost 13 years.

The Conservators' Center has grown by leaps and bounds these last 10 years. I have been apart of every tour offered and they are all unique and fun. Each trained volunteer has their own way to guide the tours, and each are fabulous. I adore how much they love these animals.

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Oh wow! I have been going out to visit and volunteer out at the Conservators' Center for over 7 years! The people and animals are like my family. When you go to visit it isn't like going to the zoo. You are on a tour with a person who knows the center and the story of each of those animals and they ALL have a story to share. Another aspect that I LOVE and other people that I have spoken to LOVE is that you get so much closer to these animals than you ever would in a zoo. You get to see how they interact with the visitors and keepers. It is truly amazing.

Review from Guidestar

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A 20-year old tiger looks at you from five feet away and 'chuffles' to let you know that he approves of you. A lion 'oofs,' after being prompted by a human who loves him, and 15 other lions answer to convey that all is well in their world. An adorable binturong climbs across the top of her cage upside down to remind you that you should bring her a banana. A chubby but adorable leopard stalks you from one end of her large compound to the other end hoping for a treat. A caracal trills and shows you her 'best side' profile as you pass by her with your camera. A serval bonds with his happy human by marking her forever with his scent and a wolf shows one of his human pack members by laying his head in her lap.

Each of these beautiful animals, and the people who care for and support them, are the reason I volunteer my time and talents to the Conservators Center in Burlington, NC.

The center is not a zoo and is not supported by any government funds. It is a privately owned and funded by donations and, quite simply, love. A few dedicated staff members work tirelessly to coordinate animal care, promotion and publicity of the animals and the center, and the day-to-day business of running a center that cares for over 80 animals who have been rescued or retired to their care. Even more volunteers, like myself, give countless hours to prepare food and feed the animals, clean the animal living areas and provide enrichment for the animals to keep them engaged and happy, guide tours of the center's animals for the public and tell their stories, socialize the animals and show them love, and so much more.

I first met the animals and people of the Conservators Center when I took a tour with 100 schoolchildren. I was in awe of the volunteer tour guides who answered every child's question and introduced us to animals I recognized, like tigers and lions, and animals I had never heard of like binturongs, caracals and genets. They told us the backstory of every single animal. We learned that one of their bobcats came to them after being mistaken for an injured domestic cat and that their employees rescued a 'mutt' after driving hundreds of miles to pick up a rare New Guinea Singing Dog and discovering he was only a mutt. We met lions and tigers living in a 'mixed pride' because the founders of the center rescued the animals when another facility was shut down and, while they were unprepared to take on so many animals, they creatively found ways to make it work so that the animals could live happily and with an extraordinary quality of life.

I knew from the first day that I wanted to spend time at the Conservators Center and work with them on their mission to reconnect people with wildlife. In the past year, I've volunteered many hours on nights and weekends to help out in any way that I could. My favorite event was when students from the school for the blind visited the center. Volunteers and staff members made sure that each student learned as much as they could about the animals through their senses other than vision. We shared casts of pawprints to show the students how large the animals were. We took them on a tour and prompted the lions and wolves to rumble the earth with their roars and howls. We shared stories of the animals that brought them to life for these sweet students who could not see them.

The Conservators Center is my 'happy place.' Every chance I get to volunteer my time there is time well spent. Each tour that I drive a golf cart for a disabled person to see the animals and hear their stories brings joy to my heart. I hope to share the amazing animals and their two-legged friends who love them at the Conservators Center with as many people as I can. I hope that you'll visit them in person to learn how amazing they are but the next best thing is their website at www.conservatorscenter.org where you can learn the story of how they came into being and virtually meet some of the most amazing animals on the planet!

Review from #MyGivingStory

Previous Stories
3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first tour to the center was in 2014 with a group of summer camp kids. From the moment I set foot on the property, I knew I had found my "happy place." The experience of meeting the animals up close while hearing personal stories of each animal from tour guides is so refreshing and so different from a zoo. Seeing lions, tigers and leopards from 10 feet away was amazing and I enjoyed meeting and falling in love with binturongs, genets, singing dogs, Geoffrey's cats, jungle cats and others I was seeing for the first time. The staff and volunteers are all so committed to the animals and it shows every moment of every day. I especially love that the health, safety and emotional well-being of the animals always comes first at the Conservators Center. The staff and volunteers are so in-tune with the animals - they know what makes them happy and when something is "off" that they need to watch. I never know WHO is more excited by new items gifted by wish list donors - the animals or the humans who get to see the animals enjoy them.
My love for the center and the animals led me to begin my volunteer journey with this group in August 2014 and I am so thankful that I became involved. Every time I am at the center I learn something new and amazing from the veteran staff. Each staff member makes sure the volunteers feel appreciated and there is always something worthwhile to learn and do.
To be onsite and hear the wolves and coyote howl, the lions "oof" and the singing dogs sing is not something that can fully be explained in words - it's a feeling like no other that simply has to be experienced. The center's mission is to reconnect people with wildlife - they've done that and so much more for me. I highly recommend a visit to the center!!

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Went to the Tree Toss on Jan 9th. What an experience!!! This was my second visit to the Center - the staff are so knowledgeable and helpful! And the animals!!!! What can you say about being that close to such wonderful loving animals!!!! If you haven't been there you MUST go!!! It is an experience that you won't soon forget!!! Visit, donate, volunteer!!! This is an experience like no other!!!!

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The tour was terrific. The animals so well taken care by the staff. The tour guides were extremely informative. We could have spent ALL DAY! Worth my trip from Ohio!

3 Misty L.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Our summer camp program at TRU Teakwondo Center in Winston Salem, NC visited the Conservators Center for a field trip in the summer 2015. The kids and adults loved it! The caretakers of these animals are amazing and the animals have a wonderful environment full of love. Many of the animals here come from situations where they had nowhere else to go and the center took them in and in most cases made special accommodations to make sure the animals had a great home. It is a small environment where the caretakers are very knowledge about the animals and know their habits and personalities at a very intimate level. It was wonderful seeing animals being loved and accessible to the public so there can be knowledge passed along to others so these creatures can continue to receive the utmost care.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The animals here are amazing - a twilight tour is up close and personal. You'll learn their rescue stories and about the species and habitats and conservation. The passion in the staff and volunteers is palpable.

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I cannot say enough about these guys & what an amazing, educational & entertaining job they do on the tightest of shoestrings. Their organization & volunteer coordination is second to none.
Kudos

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Conservators Center is an amazing place. It is clear that the staff all really care about the animals and want to educate visitors about their wonderful animals. The sound of the lions "offing" is primal and moving. I highly recommend a photo tour, but any tour is worthwhile.

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Took our grandkids there and had a great time. Our guide was great, and it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to hear the lions communicating with each other at dusk.
Ev & Bill Wesson, Henrico, NC

7

Donor

Rating: 5

Everytime I go, my pace slows down, my heart fills with joy, and my smile broadens. I never want to leave. My daughter and I went about 5 years ago, just to witness the Xmas tree toss, and went home having adopted Bella, a glorious tiger. She caught my eye, and my heart, when she fell asleep on a tree, legs splayed around it like it was a favorite pillow. Although I don't get there as often as I would like, I am ever grateful that we have Bella. It is a thrill each time we offer her some favorite treats, or listen to the lions oofing, or watch the binturongs play, or look into the eyes of a majestic wolf. The humans who serve these beloved animals are gracious, informed, generous and loving. They wear their hearts on their sleeves and it shows. The Conservator's Center is a magical oasis amidst our sometimes frenetic lives. These four-leggeds are a treasure to behold. Give yourself the gift of spending some time there. You will not regret it!

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My family attended the tree toss after Christmas. I wasn't sure what to expect, and was unprepared for the incredible experience. The staff and volunteers were extremely knowledgeable and truly loved the animals. The habitats were well maintained and the animals looked to be well taken care of. To be so close and be able to watch the joy the trees and presents brought to the animals was unlike any other experience. I highly recommend this center to people to visit and donate to. One visit and you're hooked! We will be attending again this year!

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We visited the Conservatory Center this summer. We did the treats and toys tour which was the best! The animals are well cared for and the care takers work hard to keep all the animals happy. They have an adoption program where you can adopt an animal of your choice and even visit your adopted animal. All employees were very courteous and informative.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We had never heard of the conservators center, but I had a coupon, so I figured why not? I'm so very pleased we went! It was easily one of the most amazing experiences my family has ever had. Being able to interact with the animals and see them in such a natural way was just an absolute blessing. It's really an incredible place.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I visited the center on Sunday, March 29th for probably the 8th time or so. I brought two friends who wanted to know about this place I always talk about. Our tour guide Mandy was great. I had never met her before and really enjoyed her Toys & Treats tour. I love this center. It's definitely my "Happy Place" and now I am a Lifetime Adopter so it's an even happier place for me! It is not problem to drive the 2.5 hours from Fort Mill, SC, and I plan to bring more friends there soon.

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3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been to the center 4 times and I never tire of the tours, the enthusiasm and dedication of the staff and volunteers and the experience of seeing these beautiful animals. I loved it so much that I adopted one of the lions. This is a dream come true for me as I have always loved big cats. I highly recommend this as a lovely day trip for anyone who has a love for animals. You will always remember this experience!

4 Cindi4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've had the opportunity to visit the Conservators' Center twice as a guest - the first time with 100 elementary school children on a field trip and the second time on a photo safari tour. Both times I was treated to a wonderful experience with tour guides who truly cared about the animals they are entrusted with and the guests to the center. Our tour guide for the elementary students was able to answer every single question the students posed - and anyone with young children knows they come up with questions that can be quite challenging! Our field trip tour was one our students still talk about months afterwards. My photo tour almost can't be described (by me anyway) because it was so amazing. My tour guide knew exactly when and where to take me to get the most wonderful photos of the animals. He was able to get wolves to howl and Lions to call to each other - giving me amazing photo memories that I treasure.

2 Linda66

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It is a wonderful place!! All of the animals are so loved and the staff are caring and loving individuals who really love the animals. I tell everyone I know about this wonderful place. It is not every day you can up close to a lion or tiger. Here they are right in front of you and are so beautiful. The most interesting animals to me are the Binturongs ( or bear cats). They are so cool. They smell like corn chips and take other animals as pets. :)

Linda Cohen :)

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2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband and I have visited there several times over the years and find it a remarkable place. I teach at a junior college and every new class I show my students the Converservator Center website. The animals are genuinely loved and it shows. I highly recommend going there for a wonderful experience. I love the zoo but to see a lion you have to use your binoculors. Here they are a few feet away. But not to worry. The staff are very professional and know how to handle the animals and things there are very safe. -- Linda Cohen :)