By Guest Blogger Amanda Dover

Just an hour’s drive from Winston is a hidden gem that is the perfect summer day trip destination. Unassumingly nestled in the back of a neighborhood, Tiger World is a hidden oasis full of exotic and endangered animals.

Founded in 2007, Tiger World is a non profit natural conservation center, dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of exotic animals. While the primary focus of Tiger World is big cats, there are many other animals to be found in the park. Bears, wolves, monkeys, lemurs and a large variety of birds, are just a few of the species that call Tiger World home.

On our recent visit to Tiger World, we were lucky enough to catch a show and watch some tigers interact with their handlers. It was amazing to watch these wild animals play, preform on command, and even cuddle with trainers that they were clearly enamored with. At the end of the show, one of the tigers dove in the water and started playing with a ball. This was one of the highlights of our trip!

Our favorite animals were the majestic white tigers and reclusive Artic Wolves. We also got up close and personal with a napping lion, whose foot was resting on the glass. My kids were amazed with how huge its paw was. It was quite the unique experience!

The park has plenty of covered picnic shelters, but don’t be surprised if a friendly fowl joins you. In fact, be sure to pack a table cloth, as the birds seem to frequent the picnic shelter looking for remnants of lunch. There is no concession area, but the gift shop sells a few snacks and there are several vending machines on the grounds.

The terrain is a little rough as it is primarily rock and grass pathways, so strollers can be a little tricky, but not impossible. Be sure to pack lots of water and sunscreen as a big portion of the park is not shaded. Tennis shoes are definitely recommended, and there is a small playground for the kids to enjoy if you need a break!

One of guides told me the best time to visit Tiger World is in the morning, especially during the summer. The big cats sleep 16 hours a day, so many of the animals sleep in their dens during the hottest parts of the day. Keep this in mind if you plan to visit Tiger World this summer!

Tickets for Tiger World start at $12 for children and group rates are available, making it a great trip for play groups, youth groups and large families! Tiger World is closed on Wednesdays but open from 9 – 5 the remainder of the week. Educational guided tours are available by appointment. For more information on hours and admission, click HERE.

Every Saturday and Sunday from 9 a to 5 pm, you are allowed to feed some of the animals, including monkeys, bears and birds, with just $5 feed cups as part of the park’s Keeper Talks.

Also, every Thursday from May through September, Tiger World hosts “Carnivore Feeding Safari Tours.” These are appointment-only led tours where you get to witness tigers and lions feeding up close. The guides take you around the park as they feed the carnivores raw meet, and teach you about their natural feeding behaviors.

Tiger World
4400 Cook Road
Rockwell, NC 28138
(704) 279-6363
*Just 15 minutes north of the Charlotte Motor Speedway

View our Travel Section with more trip ideas here!

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