The adventures at Tiger SafariBy Brooke Clay
February 12, 2013After a peaceful night in the African Safari Hut, we were well rested for the VIP tour of Tiger Safari.
The VIP tour, $25 per person, was included in our stay in the African Safari Hut. Clearly this deal is a winning combination for a weekend getaway if you’re looking for that last minute Valentine’s Day gift. This adventure destination offers a variety of admission options: feeding tours, sundowner safari tours, private photo sessions with exotic animals, safari slumber parties and fieldtrips.
As the cold front moved through Oklahoma this past Saturday, we met with our tour guide for a special tour of the park. This was an animal encounter I could not have prepared for in my twenty-something years. The intimate tour began with the petting zoo. A warm up, if you will.
From there, we met with a few Bengal tigers. Read as: we were on one side of a very sturdy fence and they were on the other. Like most, my imagination became fascinated with exotic animals as a child. In grade school we read stories of conquering the unknown and watched as Ms. Frizzle explored places and animals of the world. (That’s a Magic School Bus reference if you didn’t catch it.) To be so close to these majestic, powerful animals is surreal in many ways.
Throughout the tour we were able to feed the animals. Using a PVC pipe, we fed the tigers chicken wings. This is exactly how I became BFFs with a tiger. (More on that tomorrow.)
With more than 100 animals, the adventure possibilities are endless. Touring at your own pace, you can stuff your freezing hands in your pockets and speed walk through the fun, or you can spend 30 minutes talking to parrots. Completely your call.
For me, the best part of the morning was the conclusion of the tour.
While seated in the banquet hall, I nearly had to sit on my hands to contain my excitement. I could hardly believe I was about to spend quality time with each animal.
As I held this little guy (known forever in my heard at Franklin) in my hands it was hard to imagine his ability to support more than 200 pounds when he reaches full maturity. Can one have a Sulcata Tortoise as a pet?
The guides are extremely careful with handling instructions often giving advice on how to pet the animals, “don’t touch there – he’s ticklish!” It’s clear these animals are near and dear to their hearts.
Clearly, I was nervous about this. Have you ever been licked by an Argentine Tegus? Not to worry, Godzilla was extremely well mannered.
Athena, the Eurasian Eagle Owl, and I became very close friends. She wasn’t sure about spreading her wings while on my watch and I wasn’t too sure about her perching on my arm.
If forced to pick a favorite, my heart belongs to Ottie the Asian Small Clawed Otter. Put aside his obvious cuteness and you have an otter with attitude. While most of the animals were hiding from the cold front, Ottie saw us coming, exited his hut, climbed up the fence to give us a high five.
He’s got spunk, that Ottie.
Oklahoma's Interactive Zoological Park, Tiger Safari, is a place for adventurers, animal lovers, educational trips and much more. Open every Saturday this is a destination you don’t want to miss.
Don’t forget the Best of Chickasaw Country is still in full swing. The Tiger Safari has been nominated as best kid-friendly attraction! Remember, you can vote once per day until Feb. 28.