Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my!
No - we're not talking about the land of Oz. Instead, a place right here in North Alabama.
WAAY 31 News Reporter Luke Hajdasz with some tortoises and capybaras at Tigers for Tomorrow in Attalla.
At Tigers for Tomorrow, everyone has a name. The refuge is a place where big cats, other predators and animals of all kinds live.
"We saw the camel, we saw the zebra and the emu," said Patrick and Genevive Tomeny of Huntsville.
Sue Steffens is the founder of Tigers for Tomorrow. She re-homes big cats and other species and brings them to the refuge where they'll be for life.
"They really need somebody that can really care for them, give them a place to go for life and understand that there are more components to caring for big animals than just the basic husbandry of veterinarian care and feed and shelter," said Steffens.
Steffens says families and field trips visit Tigers for Tomorrow the most. They come from all over - Huntsville, Birmingham - even Nashville!
"Education is the core of what we do. If we can't educate people, if they don't come here, we can't educate them."
There are about 160 animals at Tigers for Tomorrow - half of which are big cats.
There are so many different kinds of animals at the refuge, too. Bears, wolves, foxes, tigers of course and - even a liger! Right now, there are only about 100 ligers on earth. Of that 100, only 19 are in the United States. Aja is the only liger in Alabama.
"So her dad was a lion and her mom was a tiger," said Steffens.
There is so much to do at Tigers for Tomorrow.
The refuge is open Friday through Sunday, 9am-5pm. Admission is $15 for adults and $7.50 for children.
Sometimes there are encounters, meaning you can pet certain animals. These are usually on the second Saturday of each month.
Sometimes, you may just get to see a tiger eat lunch.
Tigers for Tomorrow is a non-profit organization. Everything they do is funded by donations.
If you want to donate, click HERE.