If you find yourself wishing to be transported to the tropical rain forests of Sumatra (and after a day of chasing a kid around, who hasn’t?!), then your next weekend day trip should be to Tiger Trail at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Opening Memorial Day weekend, Tiger Trail is the newest exhibit that allows visitors to see six Sumatran tigers up close and personal like never before.
The Lay of the Land
This unique exhibit is 5.2 acres and includes three separate yards with rocks for climbing, ponds for swimming, deadwood trees to use as scratching posts, and long grasses for the tigers to take a rest. Visitors can see the tigers swimming in water or resting by a beautiful waterfall. Tiger Trail will also have a birthing den with an outdoor space.
What’s incredible about the exhibit is how close visitors can be to the tigers without the fear of being eaten as a snack. Families can check out the cats behind clear glass viewing walls and fences. There is also a training wall where Zoo experts will demonstrate feline training right in front of guests throughout the day.
Fun for Kids
Tiger Trail features an interactive kids play area where little ones can climb a rope wall, walk across logs, and sit on a tiger sculpture. The ground is soft cork, so parents don’t have to worry about too much dirt. There is also lots of bench seating around the play space perimeter for mom and dad to sit while the kiddos practice their inner-tiger climbing.
Kids can get ready for Tiger Trail by playing the Zoo’s interactive online game. Players can save animated tigers roaming throughout Sumatra in this 3-D isometric game. Gamers are also challenged to collect food and help give the tigers strength. The game can be played on the Safari Park website, or downloaded from the App store.
Saving the Tigers
Tiger Trail is helping keep Sumatran tigers alive. There are fewer than 350 Sumatran tigers in the wild. Scientists estimate that this species could be extinct in its native Sumatra by 2020 unless measures are taken to protect and preserve it. The Zoo’s conservation efforts go directly toward saving these feline friends.
Tips for Visiting Tiger Trail
Tiger Trails is a about a 3-minute walk from the park entrance. Plan to wear comfortable shoes for the short trek or bring a stroller for toddlers that need help.
The Safari Park can get pretty hot during the summer months. Be sure to bring a hat and slather on the sunscreen before you visit. Luckily Tiger Trail has lots of shady spots if you need some relief from the heat.
If a potty break is needed, there are new restrooms located at the end of the Trail.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park
15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd.
Escondido, Ca 92027
Will you visit the new Tiger Trail at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park? Tell us in the comments!
Written and photographed by Leah R. Singer