Tiger Trail is the Sumatran tiger habitat at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and a must-see exhibit when visiting this popular San Diego family attraction. Fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers exist in the wild and more than 25 tiger cubs have been born at the Safari Park who participates in the Species Survival Plan to help save these gorgeous cats. As a member, I am here to tell you what to do when you visit these spectacular residents in this conservation-minded exhibit.A Sumatran tiger looks through the window at The Sambutan Longhouse.
Walk Along the Logging Trail
The exhibit’s Logging Camp is meant to illustrate the greatest threat to Sumatran Tigers in the wild — logging. You can take the Logwalk (a somewhat windy trail of logs) to the main viewing area of the exhibit.
Watch The Tigers Swim
Did you know that Sumatran tigers actually like to swim? They’re pretty good at it, too, because their toes are partially webbed. You can catch them in action in the deep pool where you can see them swimming above and below the water.
Find Shade in the Sambutan Longhouse
The Sumatran tiger habitat as seen from the Sambutan Longhouse
The Sambutan Longhouse is a simulated cultural center in the middle of the Tiger Trail area. The indoor viewing area which has a little bit of seating provides welcome shade on hot days. Plus, it’s where you’ll see the tigers up-close as many do actually walk up to the windows or even sleep near them.A tiger near the window at the Sambutan Longhouse (a zoom lens helps).
Grab a Refreshment and Tiger Swag
The Macan Market inside the Sambutan Longhouse offers everything a tiger enthusiast could ask for from T-shirts to home décor. It’s also a place to refuel with ice cream, light lunch, or even a craft beer or draft beer as you sit in the shaded environment to enjoy the tigers.
Stop at the Pondok Market Stand
Some (faux) creatures on display inside the pondok
A pondok is a basic Indonesian hut or shack that is often made from plant leaves and tin. They can be used as marketplaces for the sale of wildlife products, some from illegal trade.
The Pondok inside Tiger Trail helps demonstrate how poaching and the illegal trade of animal products are impacting the survival of tigers and other animals that share their habitat through displays and docents who stand ready to answer guest questions.
6. Listen to a Tiger Keeper Talk
Head to Tiger Trail for a Tiger Keeper Talk which happens daily at 11:45 a.m. come at the Sambutan Longhouse. You’ll learn about the personalities of the tigers in residence in addition to how the keepers care for them.
7. Plan Time to Play
A tiger-themed play area allows kids to blow off some steam and parents to rest after (or before) checking out Tiger Trail. A number of benches and shady areas line the play structure here.
Overall, the conservation message is very strong throughout Tiger Trail and it’s a great addition to one of San Diego’s best attractions.
Have Breakfast with Tigers
Enjoy a 1-hour breakfast before the San Diego Zoo Safari Park opens to the general public by booking Breakfast with Tigers. Guests will enjoy crowdless views of Tiger Trail (it does get busy otherwise).
Sumatran Tiger Trivia
Each tiger’s stripes are unique that specific tiger and are used to camouflage them from predators.
Speaking of stripes, they are not just fur stripes. The same stripe pattern is on the tiger’s actual skin.
Sumatran tigers are the smallest tiger subspecies but they are still pretty big, weighing about 220-310 lbs.
Tigers pull their claws inside of their paws when they walk which helps to keep them sharp.
If you are visiting San Diego and need tickets for multiple attractions, I suggest you read how to save money on San Diego attractions as there are numerous ways to bundle tickets. We partner with aRes Travel to offer discount San Diego Zoo Safari Park tickets, including a $6 discount on 1-Day adult and child tickets with code lajollamom. You can print them or use them on mobile to go straight to the gate.