If you’ve already read up on my trip to Turpentine Creek in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, you already know I’m a big cat lover. That’s why I’m thrilled that Cedar Cove is another big cat conservatory located close to my hometown of Kansas City.
The park opened in 1999 about four miles east of Louisburg, Kansas. If you’re in the Kansas City area in the autumn, Cedar Cove, the Louisburg Cider Mill and the Overland Park Arboretum make a great day trip together.
Cedar Cove is home to dozens of animals, including tigers, lions, wolves, a leopard, coatis, caracals, cougars, bobcats. The leopard – named Voodoo – is just about the most fierce animal I’ve ever encountered. Be sure to go for a feeding time, because that animal makes some incredible noises.
The park is currently working on a new lion enclosure for its two lions, Tonka and Shasta. The first time I visited, a couple of the volunteers were
stupid brave enough to get into the cage to interact with the lions. That made me a bit nervous, and I sure hope they know what they’re doing.
If you plan a trip, be sure to check with the park to see when the next available public feeding is. The cats know when it’s coming, and they are alert and eager to stalk children along their fences as they wait for the wheelbarrows of meat to be delivered.
Normally calm and even lazy, the big cats become active and alert as they pick up on the feeding routine, and as the keepers begin tossing hunks of meat and bone into the enclosures, the animals roar, growl and attack their food in a way that makes you realize how special it is that you can see these glorious beasts so close to home – so close in person – with the security of the park’s gates.
Cedar Cove website: saveoursiberians.org