Tiger Trail and Tiger Loge
By Richard Mullins of The Tampa Tribune
Published: March 6, 2008
TAMPA – Busch Gardens officials gave a sneak preview of the park’s newest attraction, Jungala, a 4-acre, zoo-style attraction with very close encounters with orangutans, Bengal tigers and a kind of Asian crocodile.
At a cost of about $16 million, the development is the most expensive in the history of Busch Gardens in Tampa, and it sits in a tightly packed area of the park formerly called Congo.
In two areas that house 12 tigers, guests can view the animals through glass walls, from bridges above, from under the water (when the tigers swim) and through a very close clutch of what looks like bamboo. Though actually steel poles, the screen lets guests get “close enough to hear the tigers breath.”
“They can smell you. You can smell them,” said Glenn Young, vice president of zoological operations at the park.
Given fatal encounters with escaped tigers at places such as a zoo in San Francisco, Young said Busch Gardens took extra care to design the exhibit so tigers and orangutans can’t escape.
For children’s groups, there is an air-conditioned sleepover building with panoramic glass walls overlooking a tiger exhibit.
An orangutan exhibit features several 30-foot towers connected with cables so the animals can climb from perch to perch.
Three ride and climbing areas for children include:
– The Wild Surge, a four-story pneumatic ride that launches 14 passengers out of a craterlike structure.
– Jungle Flyers, a multilevel zip line ride that crosses part of the exhibit.
– Tree Top Trails, a climbing structure with nets, bridges, crawl tubes and a multilevel maze for older children.
The area is closed for now. It opens officially to the public April 5, with a fundraiser event the day before to support animal conservation efforts.
For more on what Busch Gardens now is revealing to the public, visit
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