This past weekend, we were driving up to Mentone, Alabama (Mentone has a ski resort!) but on the way we stopped in Gadsden for a little while and decided to take Shug to Noccalula Falls. Well, on the way to the Falls, we saw a little sign for something called "Tigers for Tomorrow".
Neither of us had ever heard of it, and nothing on the sign said what it was about, but it was one of those brown state-supplied roadway signs like other attractions and parks use - so we decided to drive out and see what it was, just for fun.
It turns out that Tigers for Tomorrow is a rescue shelter for exotic (and some not-so-exotic) animals. They have a no-breeding policy and simply allow the animals to live out their lives in comfort.
To be honest, zoos aren't one of my favorite places. I mean, we belong to our local zoo, and I like taking Shug to it each week, but we mostly stay in the petting zoo / domesticated animals section because it just feels wrong that the wild animals aren't wherever they really should be - in the wild, not living in cages or some other such enclosure.
The thing is, the people that run TFT are doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, and they really seem to be doing a very good job. Of course, if people didn't take in exotic animals that they ultimately would have to give up, this kind of place wouldn't have to exist to begin with!
(...so really I should get over the whole zoo thing since this is a rescue shelter!...)
Y'all, everyone there was *so* nice. One of the ladies brought out a baby goat from the petting zoo section (they had a zebra, camel, emu, turkey, goats, alpacas, and a lot more) for Shug to see. The sweet little goat was just a week-and-a-half old! So sweet!!
This alpaca came up to us. He sure does need braces!
One of the caretakers was in a pen with one of the cats, and they were getting along very well. I guess this one was probably someone's pet previously. The lion was licking the man's arm and playing with his legs. They were both having a really good time:
guardian angel program where people can 'adopt' the care of an animal for one year - nice!
If you'd like to go, make sure you wear some good tennis shoes, because it's not paved and a little bit rough. Av carried Shug in his Baby Bjorn - his stroller could have made it, but it would have been pretty bumpy. Also, TFT lists their address as being in Attalla, but they're in Dekalb County, less than 10 miles or so from Collinsville.
If you're coming from Attalla, though, you pass right by Wills Creek Vineyards, where they sell muscadine wines (and they even have a variety that goes to help support TFT).