DADE CITY, Fla. (CBS Tampa) - Plenty of people have gotten to swim with dolphins, but an area zoo is taking the idea of mingling with wildlife to the next level by offering patrons a unique chance to swim with tiger cubs.
At Dade City’s Wild Things, people can pay a $200 fee to play in a pool for 30 minutes with a tiger cub. Time for bottle-feeding and romping in the grass will also be included.
“Tigers are known as the best swimmers of all the big cats, with webbing between their toes to make their feet more like flippers,” the zoo’s website states. “When they are young, they love taking baths and then we slowly introduce them to the pool.”
Adults playing with the tigers reportedly serve as training assistants for the cubs, “in teaching them to ignore distractions and abide by their training as they would do in the exhibits when receiving examinations.”
Wild Things’ president and head trainer Randy Stearns told My Fox Tampa Bay that, though participants sign a release, a trainer is always present, and safety is paramount.
“It’s not like we’re going to just throw you in the pool and say, ‘here’s the tiger,’” he told the station. “You’re in there with at least one of the trainers actually in the water with you.”
According to Wild Things’ site, the price for the experience additionally covers photographs of a customer’s time with the tiger cub – both staged and candid – that are burned onto a disc.