I've been coming down to Lake Worth to visit family for over 10 years and had no idea Panther Ridge existed until May 2016 when I read an article in The Grapevine, a community magazine, highlighting the Culture Club's tour of Panther Ridge Conservation Center, a 501 C(3) Not For Profit organization.
I was so impressed by what I read about Panther Ridge that I sent Judy Berens an email requesting an appointment for the Director's tour as soon as possible explaining how I was leaving FL within the week.
Judy called me the next day to schedule my tour which I took the following day. Judy was very pleasant and willing to accommodate my time frame.
I read a lot about Panther Ridge before my tour as I've always been an animal lover with a long history of having had many, many cats over the years and I was interested in seeing and learning more about the exotic and endangered cats at Panther Ridge.
While driving to Panther Ridge I couldn't help but notice that Panther Ridge Conservation Center is in the heart of horse country in Wellington, FL. The beautiful ride to Panther Ridge was surpassed when I drove through the metal gate onto the magnificent grounds of Panther Ridge.
The $100 Director's tour gave me the history of Panther Ridge and an education about each of the resident exotic cats. It's amazing how much Judy knows about each cat, the level of her commitment to taking care of these cats for life and her determination to help save the endangered Cheetahs.
I was so impressed with Judy, her mission and Panther Ridge that I gave a donation in addition to paying for the Director's tour.
First of all I have to say that my Father was a zoo vet back in the 1960s, so I have been visiting zoos for decades wherever I can find them and I have a sense of when animals are well cared for and happy. I have never seen big cats so well-cared for as those at Panther Ridge.
To begin with, although close to several large towns,Panther Ridge is secluded enough that there is peace and quite for the animals. The grounds are immaculately maintained and the animals' enclosures are in great shape and very clean. Each has been built to to provide its inhabitants with opportunities for enrichment - sufficient space to move, explore, play - all done with largely natural materials - there are bushes to hide in, trees to climb, and for some a stream and pool to play in.
The first cat we met was "Charlie" the Cheetah - ok, so the name is a little hokey, but Charlie is a people cat. Stand by his multi-acre enclosure and he comes over to see the tourists and then he starts purring! He is just so happy to have visitors that he purrs and purrs and purrs and sits to be admired.
The care that these animals receive shows in their physical condition - they are sleek and their coats gleam. Amos,the black leopard is a magnificent animal whose coat almost glows! It's almost as if he is wearing a coat of black oil because he is so shiny.
In many zoos and sanctuaries the animals exhibit signs of boredom - rubbing or grooming themselves raw or pacing. Panther Ridge's cats show no sign of these negative or nervous behaviors - while they spend time resting, as do big cats in the wild, they are alert and visible. They seem to be almost as interested in the humans who come to see them as are the humans. They show no signs of being abused or of learned fear of humans. It seems clear that these animals are well-cared for and treated with the respect that they deserve.
The staff is very knowledgeable. Ask a them a question and you get a response that is appropriate to the level of interest. Ask a follow-up question and you get more information. The Executive Director, Judy Berens, is a walking encyclopedia of big cat information all delivered pleasantly.
This place is a jewel and anyone interested in observing the beauty of big cats or interested in helping these animals survive should visit.
Absolutely breathtaking rescue of exotic big cats! My family enjoyed watched each of the cats be fed on the tour. Thank God for Judy who finds a large place in her heart for these beautiful creatures. The facility is spotless and the animals extremely well cared for. Jamie, our tour guide, was very knowledgable and sweet. We will definitely be back. I highly recommend it!
This is a great place be sure to visit on your next trip to Florida! You can tell the animals at this facility are well-cared for and loved. The two staff members that gave us the tour were very informative and you could tell they cared very much for all the cats. The cats are given plenty of room to roam in their spaces. It is really a unique experience to be able to get so close to these beautiful animals. You are much closer than you would ever get at a regular zoo. Not to be missed!
(A tip- you will pull up to a gate where you will see a house and you will need to call/text to get the passcode to enter ..but you are in the right place)
Beautiful facility with lots of landscaping & shade, super clean, with happy cats, each with a well suited enclosure that includes toys, fans, and sometimes a roommate!
Would recommend a tour!
My husband & I toured it today & learned a lot about members of the large cat family. Very educational for all ages!
Panther Ridge Conservation Center is is beautiful facility and the cats are clearly very well cared for. The tours provide you with an up close view of several species along with each individual's story. Visiting Panther Ridge is a great experience for animal lovers!
Amazing private tour! Sadie our tour guide was so knowledgeable and went the extra mile to give us information. All of the cats were well taken care of and it was amazing to see them up close and watch them play. Amazing experience!!
My Wife's fascination with big cats lead us to a tour of Panther Ridge on a recent visit to Florida. I was personally blown away by this place and the staff. This isn't just a place for this incredible animals to exists, it's a staff and environment that I think would well exceed anyones expectations of care and love for this cats. The cats live better than I do. The grounds are immaculate. The cats are not only incredible to see up close but the depth of knowledge and caring from Judy and her staff including interns Alexis and Sadie was impressive. I HIGHLY recommend you visit this place if your in South Florida.
Panther ridge is an amazing facility dedicated to the conservation of big cats. It is a safe haven for animals in need and is a must see for those in the area! The bond Judy and her staff members have with these animals is amazing, and you can truly feel the love these animals receive when you are there. Housing some very endangered species, this is a wonderful facility helping these animals in need. Would highly recommend a visit!