USA Wildlife Sanctuary in Florida

4-8 weeks

from £1,146

Trip Highlights

  • Get up close to a range of fascinating animals from leopards to native American wolves
  • Help support the wildlife sanctuary provide injured, orphaned and abused animals with a safe and secure refuge
  • Lend a much needed hand and carry out a variety of duties wherever needed at the centre
  • Soak up the sunshine in North America’s sunshine state!
  • Explore Florida in your free time; Orlando, Daytona Beach and some amazing state parks are all within reach!

Trip Summary

On this worthwhile volunteer programme, you’ll help care for exotic animals such as leopards, tigers, bears, cougars and wolves!  These animals have been abused, neglected or orphaned. The Wildlife Sanctuary is dependent on volunteers to support the centre.

During your time at the sanctuary, you will be involved with a variety of activities from animal care  (such as food preparation and feeding)  to grounds maintenance. If you have a certain skill such as mechanics, landscaping, carpentry or maintenance you will have the opportunity to work using these skills during your time at the sanctuary. Whatever you do, you’ll be helping to maintain a safe haven for these neglected animals, and in addition making a positive difference towards preserving Florida wildlife.

Interested and want to find out more? Download more trip information and detailed itinerary HERE!

Trip Info

There are a wide variety of volunteer duties that you may get involved with at the sanctuary.
 
Duties include but are not limited to:
  • Feeding 
  • Food Preparation 
  • Cleaning enclosures 
  • Animal Enrichment 
  • Gardening/landscaping 
  • Performing maintenance tasks 
  • Sorting fresh produce and rotating food supplies 
  • Maintaining proper animal husbandry notes in the journal 
  • Assisting with veterinary care as needed 
  • Administrative duties
  • Habitat construction
  • Fence construction
Animal enrichment is an important part of the daily schedule as lack of enrichment causes stereotypical and harmful behaviour in animals. Volunteering at the sanctuary is hard work but yields enormous rewards.
 
If you have a certain skill such as mechanics, landscaping, carpentry or maintenance you will have the opportunity to work using these skills during your time at the sanctuary.
 
Occasionally you may have the chance to assist with tour groups to help educate the public about why wild animals are not good pets, animal endangerment and extinction.

You're in Florida so make the most of it! There's so much to see and do in your free time. The sanctuary is located in the Ocala National Forest and along its edge is the Silver Springs State Park about 10 minutes away. This is definitely worth a visit and there are loads of activities on offer such as horse riding, canoeing, kayaking and hiking. For any adrenaline junkies out there, you can also go zip lining nearby!

There are plenty of local beaches at the lakes and springs, all on the doorstep, but of course if these aren't enough the sanctuary is only an hour away from the ocean, with Ormond and Daytona Beaches to the east. The same distance in the opposite direction there are lots of places to see Manatees as well as other springs and parks to visit. 

If you want to venture further afield then Orlando is only 90 minutes away and a trip to Florida would not be complete without visiting Disneyworld!

Accommodation & Meals

During your time at the Florida Wildlife Sanctuary you will be staying in a basic but comfortable volunteer accommodation. 

There is a washing machine and dryer at the volunteer accommodation for you to use. 

Food for meals is provided and volunteers share the responsibility of cooking and preparing their meals together. 

Eligibility & FAQ's

Minimum 21 years, maximum decided on potential participants’ health.

There are no minimum numbers on the trip.

Please note: you may be the only volunteer at your chosen project at any one time. If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact us

Do I Need To Have Worked With Animals Before?

No. As long as you are enthusiastic, fit and happy to get work hard and get involved, you will really enjoy the experience!

What Is The Accommodation Like?

The accommodation is basic but comfortable with air conditioning and TV with DVD.

How Hard Is The Work?

You do need to be fit & healthy as you will be working 9-10 hours per day.

What Animals Will I Be Working With?

The resident animals range from big cats, such as cougars, leopards and tigers to wolves, primates, bears and native American animals.

Do I Have To Have The Vaccinations You Suggest?

To be accepted onto the programme, you will require proof of a TB vaccine or a current negative TB test within the past 12 months. If you wish to work with bats you will also require rabies vaccinations.

Whats Included

  • Volunteer Project
  • Meals
  • Airport transfers
  • Accommodation
  • Full support from the co-ordinator
  • Buddy list
  • Telephone and Internet facilities onsite
  • 24 hour support number

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • E-mail or phone charges

Flights

Your flight should arrive at Orlando International Airport on your programme start date (before 9pm), and your return flight should be arranged for your programme end date (between 12pm and 9pm). The start and end date must always be on a Saturday as the included airport transfers will not be made on any other day.

To book your flights, please contact our flights team on 01892 277037 who will do their best to get you the best deal on the day. Please provide them with your full name as it is stated in your passport. Before you make the call please make sure you have your required departure dates, return dates and other details you may require.

It is important that once you have booked your flights you add these details to your Online account, or alternatively you can contact us with your departure date, the flight number and arrival time at your destination.

Visa Information

The USA does not offer a specific volunteer visa, however as you are on a volunteer programme and have paid for your accommodation and food (as with a normal tour package), you will be eligible to travel on a standard tourist visa at no charge, under the visa waiver programme. For this reason, please state the purpose of your visit as a tourist.

Please note: You need to obtain Travel Authorisation by registering online through the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) no later than 72 hours before departure. This is compulsory. To register, please visit: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/

Make sure you have your passport details, flight details and US address ready.Please use the address of the first hotel you are staying in.

Visa courier service

If you prefer to use a specialist visa courier service to apply for your visa on your behalf, we recommend Visa Central who can offer you assistance and advice, making your visa application straight forward.

To investigate costs for this service click here to select the country or countries that you wish to travel to.

Reviews

I've done this trip

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Overall Rating 9/10

(4 Reviews)

emma hansen

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

How do you rate your arrival overseas and orientation (if applicable)?

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

What were the highlights of your trip?

One of my highlights was actually right after when they from the rescue center came and pick mi up after the airport. Just a few minutes after, we saw an alligator beside the highway, on the grass thats between the roads. So we stop the car, because they who own the rescue center are the people you call when this sort of things happens. They didnt have their equipment whit them so they call the police and two other people that they know for help to move the alligator. The police came and a few minutes after, the other came and then they started to move the alligator. It was really interesting! The others highlights was also that I got to work whit wild animals and they who own the rescue center really invited mi in, I defiantly felt welcome and appreciated!

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

It would have been funny if it had in the program an opportunity to spend 1-3 days in Orlando.

Tips for other travellers?

1, Be prepared to work hard in really hot temperatures in long pants and boots. 2, Bring sunscreen whit you. 3, Bring ha hat whit you.

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

What were the highlights of your trip?

Being close to beautiful animals and able to help them directly. Experienceing living in Florida, so different to UK.

Tips for other travellers?

Insect repelant! Suncream Old/cheap clothing

Vicky Stevens

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

How do you rate your arrival overseas and orientation (if applicable)?

How worthwhile was any volunteering in your trip (only if applicable)?

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

Would you recommend Real Gap Experience?

Yes

What were the highlights of your trip?

Definitely assisting in the neutering veterinary procedure of two tigers! But also working with many animals I hadn't already worked with.

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

No, all is fine.

Tips for other travellers?

Take enough money for snacks as the food you get, whilst good, is whatever is donated by the food stores in the area. Also, if you drive, think about hiring a car for days off so you can explore about a bit.

Any other comments?

It suggests going travelling to Disney etc, although we only had 2 half days off a week as the animals are the priority. I suggest that whilst there is downtime in the evenings and on those days off, you should take time after or before the volunteer to do some tourist stuff. When we were there, we took advantage of the late openings of the adventure parks and went to a couple, we went as a whole group paid our own tickets and food. We got up at the crack of dawn to do our duties and went to the parks until about 9/10pm, stopped for food on the way home and got back for about midnight.

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

What were the highlights of your trip?

Feeding the animals Meeting new people Days off were appreciated & lots of fun

Tips for other travellers?

Bring all medical docs with you (not mentioned on Real Gap details) Be prepared for hours of food prep. Suck it up on the bad days & live for great days

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USA Wildlife Sanctuary in Florida - 4 weeks 3rd Jun 2017 Now £1,146 was £1,349 Book Now
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