Sunday, September 29, 2013

Lujan Zoo and Petting Tigers!

In the United States the most exciting things my weekends usually consisted of was a trip to Half Price Books and a cafe, definitely not the case in Buenos Aires. This Saturday I got to do something that I definitely wouldn't have been able to do at home, or anywhere in the US I'm pretty sure. I got to pet and feed (just milk) real life, full grown tigers. It was definitely one of the coolest experiences of my

It practically poses for the picture.
The zoo in Argentina that allowed us to do this was located in the middle of nowhere about 1.5- 2 hours away from the city center of Buenos Aires. I'll be honest, the bus isn't super fun because you're not guaranteed a seat but it only costs $AR15 which is like less than $2 so I can't complain. If you're wondering what bus, you take either bus 57 or 11 that says Lujan on the front. Just tell the driver to take you to Lujan Zoo and they should know what you're talking about. It also only costs $AR150 ($25) to get into the zoo which gives you access to all the animals and a free camel ride. The only extra things you would pay for is food. It's completely worth it's insanely cheap price.

Giving a tiger a belly rub!
While petting the tigers was beyond amazing, the rest of the zoo wasn't quite so stellar. The animals cages were extremely small and had way to many animals in one pen. It looked more like a persons back yard than a zoo. They didn't look malnourished but the horses, llamas, and the other animals shoved in with them could have definitely used a little help. Their fur was dirty and matted and they were cramped in an over crowed pen.

Can you find the random camel?

People also claim that the animals, the ones you touch at least, were drugged. I'm still not sure if I think that's true or not. They did seem very sleepy and lethargic when we were petting them though. An hour or two later after they were feed and we weren't allowed to pet them anymore, they seemed much more active and playful. The zoo claims the reason the tigers, lions, and bears are so calm is because they are well feed and are raised with dogs. Seeing a tiger and a dog rough house is quite a sight.

Just hanging out in it's cage.

Unfortunately, it rained very heavily before we got to ride camels and touch the elephants. The zoo didn't close because of the rain, but nearly all the workers left. It was completely deserted, just us and the animals which was kind of cool.

This llama was all in my business

Before petting the tigers, something I'll probably never get a chance to do again in my life, I thought I would be really scared. But they were really more like oversized cats that were tolerating your presence. The ones to watch out for were the llamas roaming around wanting food. They would get right in your face!

Managed to get this beautiful shot

While I'm not sure I completely approve of the zoo's conditions it was an absolutely incredible experience. I can add tigers to the list of exotic animals I have petted now, along with dolphin's the summer before last. I hope this isn't the last of my animal adventures (hint, hint Kale Turner).


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