What to Do in Myrtle Beach: TIGERS PreserveMyrtle Beach, Tours & Attractions — By Kristen P on August 27, 2010 at 12:00 pm
By Kristen Putch
LG Acquisitions Editor
The one thing that always seems to surprise me about beach towns is that there is so much more to do than simply go to the beach. I know that seems naive, but to be honest, when someone says, “I’m going to XYZ Beach,” my first thoughts are: ocean, sand, and sun. Not there is anything wrong with simply lounging on the beach for a week, but if you look away from the ocean for a moment, you might find something completely amazing that doesn’t involve a beach at all.
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 a light fare. The tours are 5 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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