Best animal encounter: St. Augustine Wild Reserve

Facebook: St. Augustine Wild Reserve

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Returning for a second year as the JaxBest choice for best animal encounter is the St. Augustine Wild Reserve. (It’s also been your choice for the best group outing!)

Perhaps most notably: The St. Augustine Wild Reserve was founded to provide a home for unwanted and abused exotic animals. Its goal is to provide top-notch care for the animals at the sanctuary, where they will stay for the remainder of their lives.

“The center’s philosophy is that a close and personal interaction with wild animals will create a much deeper respect for and understanding of nature and wildlife than any book or television program ever could,” it writes on its website.

The facility cares for about 90 animals, including African lions, tigers, coyotes, leopards and jaguars, to name a handful. All of the big cats are fed along the tour.

Head to its website for more information about taking a tour of the facility.

Location: 5190 Farm Creek Rd, St. Augustine, FL 32092

Runners up:

2) Celestial Farms 3) Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens