What to Do in Myrtle Beach: TIGERS Preserve

Myrtle Beach, Tours & Attractions — By on August 27, 2010 at 12:00 pm

By Kristen Putch
LG North American Travel Editor

One great thing about the beach is that there is so much more to do than simply than lie in the sand. While there isn’t anything wrong with lounging on the beach for a week, if you look away from the ocean for a moment, you might find something completely unique that doesn’t involve the sand, sun, or the ocean.

Such was my discovery in Myrtle Beach when I visited the Rare Species Fund T.I.G.E.R.S. preserve, located about 15 minutes from central Myrtle Beach. Very well-hidden in a fairly residential area, the 50-acre preserve houses a serious jungle of animals… from tigers to orangutans …even a liger (yes, that is a cross between a lion and a tiger, and it weighs over 900 lbs!).

T.I.G.E.R.S. was founded by Dr. Bhagavan Antle, one of the World’s foremost trainers of big cats and other exotic animals. “Doc” Antle’s animal actors have appeared in over 500 films, television shows, commercials and advertisements worldwide including Ace Ventura and Dr. Dolittle. They’ve even made an appearance on Jay Leno!

Don’t be fooled, T.I.G.E.R.S. is not a zoo. It is an up-close and personal interaction with some of the world’s most exotic, maginificent, and endangered animals. Similar to swimming with dolphins, but much more personalized, visitors get to play with baby tigers, sit with apes, and feed an elephant. I made quick friends with one of  the most famous orangutans at T.I.G.E.R.S., Surya, who decided to lift up my shirt in front of everyone in search of my belly button!

On the tour, visitors also get to see tigers stalking and pursuing, exhibiting their speed and agility. This type of footage is sought out by outlets like National Geographic over weeks and months, but here, you get to see it first-hand.

A visit to T.I.G.E.R.S. does come at a cost.  Wild Encounter Tours normally cost $199.00 per person, for about 3 hours and does include some light snacks. The tours are five days a week from March through October on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, beginning at 10:00am. But keep heart, the money spent on the tour goes right back to Rare Species Fund to help protect these endangered animals, work on ongoing conservation projects and breeding.

If you would still like a one-on-one with one of the adorable cats without the hefty price tag, the T.I.G.E.R.S. Preservation Station at Barefoot Landing in Myrtle Beach, a free living tiger exhibit, is the fund raising effort for the world’s rarest tiger, the Golden Tabby. It is your chance to see the world’s rarest tigers, up-close and uncaged for free. It is open daily from March through October.

A visit to T.I.G.E.R.S. is completely unique experience, and makes a day at the beach pale in comparison.

Photos courtesy of R.S.F. T.I.G.E.R.S.

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