A tiger pauses between sips to watch the crowd
  • A tiger pauses between sips to watch the crowd
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One of the tigers, staring me down

Tiger and niece, checking each other out

I got a sneak peek of the new Tiger Trail at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and it is indeed epic. Its official name is Tull Family Tiger Trail, after Thomas and Alba Tull, who donated $9 million of the $19.5 million it took to build out the 5.2-acre section of the park. Unlike most other parts of the park, the Trail has tons of shade (which makes the easily burned Irish gal in me quite happy).

Three separate enclosures house the park's six stunning Sumatran tigers. Walls of glass or netting make tigers easy to see, and there are so many viewing access points, I didn't run into the frustrating experience of trying to get a peek through one tiny window around throngs of animal gawkers.

As with other big cats, the tigers were particularly interested in small children, who look like easy-to-catch tasty snacks. They seemed as interested in getting a closer look at my niece Olivia as she was in petting them. Okay, just kidding, it was me who wanted to pet them. But, as usual, my friends at the Safari Park wouldn't let me. Olivia was content to be right where she was — safe on the other side of the glass.

Between enclosures, there are lovely natural design elements, such as a waterfall. There's also a large play area for kids, and that's where my nieces wanted to spend most of their time. But I was all about the tigers. It was extraordinary to get to see them so up close.

I used my phone to capture some video footage of the experience so you can see for yourself. The exhibit opens to the public this weekend! I highly recommend it.

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