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Busch Gardens Tampa – Jungala: Tiger Enclosure

Rating: * * * * *
Type: Animal habitat
Time: Unlimited
Short Take: Ingenuous and enchanting

This sprawling habitat has been cleverly designed to provide the tigers plenty of variety while allowing the visitor many options for viewing. The space is divided in two separate enclosures, with a rocky tunnel, punctuated with windows, running between them.

Tiger Lodge is an indoor, air-conditioned viewing area with floor to ceiling windows that allows for comfortable long-term viewing of one of the enclosures. Outside, Tiger Trail runs through the tunnel separating the enclosures allowing you to peer into both. Overhead is a glass paneled walkway that lets the keepers move tigers from one enclosure to the other. Usually it is closed off, but sometimes you will see tigers lolling in this passageway, apparently drawn by the warmth of the small enclosure (hey, they're cats).

The trail then curves around the outside of the second enclosure offering a number of views, including an underwater view of one of the tigers' pools. (Alone among the big cats, tigers tolerate, even enjoy, water.) There's also a great view from a wooden bridge into a sort of canyon, with waterfalls and large dead trees that let the tigers climb from one level to another.

Best of all is the Tiger Pop-Up Viewing hole. Reached via a cramped tunnel, it allows you to stick your head up inside the tiger enclosure offering a chance for a truly up close and personal view. When a tiger is lying near this observation post, lines form quickly.

There are more Meet the Keepers sessions here than at the orangutan habitat and Tiger Lodge provides much the same sort of signage found at Orangutan Outpost. Of course, tigers are cats, so most of the time they are napping. As with the orangs, repeat visits will eventually be rewarded.

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