We’ve been seeing lots of news stories about predators with names like Harvey, Louis, and Kevin – but this one’s about the OG predator: with 30 pointy teeth and 20 sharp claws, the king of the jungle is one dangerous animal.
All of your instincts tell you to run in the other direction. But some people are running to a newly-opened attraction in South Australia called Lions 360 Experience. Here's an early teaser concept posted by the zoo (it's now open to the public as of this month).
That’s right. You can pull a ‘Daniel’ and go right into the lion’s den. It’s similar to cage-diving with sharks, but without any special equipment or training needed.
The idea for this was actually inspired by daredevil Rodney Fox, according to the NY Post. He designed the first-ever underwater cage for safer shark diving in Port Lincoln, Australia after he was attacked by a shark in 1963. When told about Lions 360, he said, "They are both predators, both man biters." Which is why people are attracted to seeing animals like sharks and lions up-close.
The all-new “predator experience” is a $1.4-million installation by Monarto Zoo, which puts up to 30 humans behind bars underground while a dozen free-roaming lions look at them through the top-opening.
“It’s a truly hair-raising experience with visitors able to enter the cage and get closer than ever before to our amazing lions,” Zoos SA chief executive Elaine Bensted told ABC News.
As part of the encounter, keepers feed the lions through the cage opening to make sure the animals get up close and personal with visitors. Or, if you pay extra, you can do the feeding.
Check out these videos captured by potentially tasty guests!
“They are all over the cage just watching our every move because they haven’t had the opportunity to be on top of us and be behind us so they are certainly stalking,” Zookeeper Anna Bennett said. Did she say stalking? Yikes!
The opening weekend was a roaring success. Folks reacted with wonder and awe, in most cases. Even when the lions get a little scary: "We have had the same reactions when lions sort of snarl and greet them from up above," Bennett said.
Would you try this? Why or why not?