As it turns out, the newest tenants at John Ball Zoo are very shy. The brand new Crawford Tigers of the Realm exhibit opened earlier this month and Mid City Love was invited to check it out.
Kuza, Nika, and Yuri are all Amur tigers, a species dwindling in numbers with a worldwide total of less than 400. Kuza and Yuri, both males, are brothers while Nika is an unrelated female. I'm cheering for Amur cubs already! But the cats are mighty shy it seems.
"We're thinking something spooked them upon arrival," the zoo keepers explained, "and they've taken to hiding in their den most of the day."
While we didn't actually get to see the tigers during our visit, it was still a very exciting to know our city's zoo is growing with big things in store, thanks to Bill and Marilyn Crawford, long time supporters of the zoo.
The portion of the zoo where the new tigers exhibit is housed was a project that began over three years ago and expanded the zoo by 50 percent. The expansion also included the Funicular (a tram system) that leads to the ever so beautiful Bissell Tree House event space. Jeff and I attended a wedding there last summer for friends Mara and Logan. It was fantastic: A Wedding at the Bissell Tree House.
But even without seeing the tigers, the zoo did not disappoint. The bears were most certainly the stars of the show with their 'hugging' demonstration. Nothing makes me giggle more than two bears going at it and listening to a mom explain this to her son.
John Ball is open daily (during the summer) from 9am to 6pm and prices run $8.50 for adults and $6.50 for children (ages 2 and under are free).