Visitor books evoke laughter, tears

childs writing

Many many people have stayed overnight at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in our lodging facilities over the years, enjoying the night sounds of the big cats and extending their visit beyond a simple tour.

Each room here has a guest book, in which visitors write where they’re from and what they thought of their visit. The messages are generally positive and heartwarming, showing people understand and appreciate TCWR’s mission of caring for neglected and abused exotic big cats.

Sometimes, though, they’re just plain funny, especially the comments by the kids.

“I’ve always wanted to go to Africa to be up close and personal with big cats, but this place is better because they can’t come eat me.” ~ Bailey Bishop

“We have had a great time. The goat is pregnant.” ~ Elise & Audrey, Dallas (In fact, Jello the goat is male.)

“Very nice room. The animals were very active at night. My mom got peed on by a tiger (ha, ha).” ~ Max & Jarrett

The grown-ups have their moments as well.

“This is such an amazing place. Sorry about the midnight ‘mouse in the house call.’ They scare me more than tigers!”    ~ Kari Fischer

Not everyone who visits is simply on holiday.

“We came here from San Lorenzo, Calif., to visit our son Kyle who has interned here for three sessions. It rained and thundered all night, which was great. To sleep and hear the lions roaring and the coyote howling and the lightning and thunder was great. Now we understand why Kyle loves it here so much.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       ~ Nils & Kathy Jorgensen

For some people it’s a reunion.

“Our cats are Shelby and Sasha. We had to give them up after 14 years of ownership due to insurance. This is our first visit to see them since they left us in November. We are truly happy they are in the great hands of Turpentine Creek. The owners have a special place in our hearts since they have taken them in when we had no way to afford the insurance it took to keep them. Thank you.”     ~ Guy, Heather, Zack, Zoey and Darby Robertson, Stephenville, Tx.

For most people, of course, staying overnight at Turpentine Creek is simply a great vacation, a chance to enjoy the natural surroundings and the beautiful animals.

“Only an overnight stay on this, our third trip to Turpentine Creek in a year. As I write this, the sun has set and the stars are twinkling. The crickets and cicadas add to the symphony of lions roaring and tigers chuffing, and Bam Bam the bear keeping time banging on his blue plastic barrel.

“We couldn’t believe the millions of start in the sky out here, with the Milky Way streaking northeast to southwest. We thought we’d seen start before…but God certainly packs the sky when you escape the city!”       ~ Roy & Lori Wilson, Independence, Mo.

“We came to celebrate our honeymoon, first anniversary, and Valentine’s Day all at the same time. We didn’t even to want to leave to go to town to eat. Now we don’t want to go home.”   ~ Nancy & Victor Allioine, Ozark, Mo.

And finally this one:

“The past year and a half I have gone through cancer surgery, chemo, and a broken leg! This was my trip to celebrate getting through it all and I chose the PERFECT getaway!”   ~ Patsy Baltz, Melbourne, Ark.

Throughout all these entries runs one thread: A love of Turpentine Creek and what we do. Poignant or whimsical, the words of our visitors reflect not only their appreciation of our mission, rescuing exotic big cats, but that Turpentine Creek is a refuge for them as well, a place to relax and enjoy nature and the very special environment we have created here.

For information on lodging at TCWR, please go to or call (479) 253-5841.