SOLC:  Day 9-Rex

Last year we celebrated my daughter’s 16th birthday by taking her to Disney World.  We let her choose the activities for each day, so there was the expected array of theme parks with rides to conquer.  The plans and itinerary were set and I even made arrangements to spend our last night having dinner at the Cinderella Castle.   She was happy about the entire trip except she continually searched for the activity on her bucket list she most wanted to do…pet a tiger.  She is obsessed with tigers and always talked about wanting to pet a tiger.

Well, I told her that I didn’t know of a place where that was possible and suddenly it became her mission to find such a place.  After a while, she bounced into my room and was excited to show me a place that would allow visitors to interact with tiger cubs.  She was hooked!  She gave me the information and as luck would have it, they were 90 minutes away from the airport.

I must admit I was skeptical of the whole thing but as soon as we arrived in Orlando we drove to the location and we were given a tour of the zoo, with the final stop, being the Tiger Encounter area.

We sat around a table along with other guests and soon the zookeeper brought out Rex, the 3 month old tiger.  The look on my daughter’s face when she found herself face to face with Rex was all the thank you we needed.  He was adorable!  We were able to pet him from head to tail, he allowed us to rub the bottom of his paws, and he even rolled over for a belly rub (which the zookeeper announced was the first time he had rolled over for anyone).  My husband and I soon found ourselves just as enamored with Rex as much as our daughter.  He purred, sniffed us, and even played tug-of-war with us.  Once our encounter time was over (which seemed much too soon), we were allowed to take turns holding him for a photo.

We enjoyed all the rest of the activities planned for the birthday girl during the week, but our conversations always wandered back to Rex.  The picture of that day stands on her nightstand as a monument of completing an item on her bucket list, and once in a while we wonder what Rex is up to.