If you haven’t already, check out Day 1 and Day 2 of our Myrtle Beach vacation before continuing on! The Myrtle Beach Safari was my favorite part of our entire trip! Before we headed back to Georgia, we went on a Wild Encounters Tour.

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It is a guided walk through a fifty acre wildlife preserve where you meet tigers, wolves, leopards, chimpanzees, and other endangered species, many of them up-close and un-caged!

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This is not like a trip to the zoo or the circus. The animal ambassadors at TIGERS have dedicated their lives to these animals. They actually live there on the property, care for the animals 24 hours a day, and have built close relationships with these animals so people like us can come and see them! It is a LIFESTYLE not a JOB.

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Everyone is like one big family and these animals are their children. They are so committed to training and bonding with them, some of the animals actually sleep in bed with them. Could you imagine sleeping with a cheetah or a monkey?!

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No cameras or phones are allowed on the tour but they have photographers to take pictures and video of your group during the experience. All of the photos in this post were taken by the tour photographers.

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Holding baby tigers was definitely one of the best parts of the tour. They sit you down inside an enclosed ring and let the baby tigers run wild. They play with each other and jump on your legs. They act goofy just like kittens… really, really big kittens!

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Hercules the Liger, a crossbreed of a lion father and tiger mama, was the first animal we got to meet and he’s a beast! Hercules is a Guinness Book of World Records three-time-winner!

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He was Declared the Largest Living Cat in the World; weighing 922 pounds. There are only a handful of ligers worldwide. He eats about 20 pounds of beef or chicken each day.

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It was funny watching him drink milk out of a tiny baby bottle. We did not actually touch the liger, but we were very close to it – no cage, no glass!

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“Doc” Antle (pictured above with his son Kody) is the founder and director of The Institute for Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (TIGERS). When we first met Doc he was riding an elephant named Bubbles (or bub bub). Right before he started TIGERS, Doc rescued her 34 years ago after her wild herd was killed for their ivory.

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Each ambassador at TIGERS is partnered with an animal that they will care for the entirety of the animals life. It’s very obvious that Bubbles is Doc’s baby girl. We got to feed her carrots and watch how she uses her trunk to eat watermelon and drink her favorite treat.

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We held monkeys and lemurs before meeting two chimpanzees. The monkeys were so soft and lightweight. They were having fun eating snacks and running across our backs!

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By visiting the Myrtle Beach Safari, not only will you have a once in a lifetime wildlife experience, you will be helping to conserve tigers, lions, elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees and many more species in their natural habitats.

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Proceeds from your tour help support the Rare Species Fund (RSF), which provides support to international conservation programs around the globe.

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Chimpanzees once inhabited 25 countries throughout Africa, they are now extinct in five of those countries and endangered in five others for a total global population of 170,000, which makes them an endangered species.

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The chimpanzees were hilarious; like happy, immature little kids. They bounced beach balls to us and painted custom t-shirts. We bought two of the shirts for the girls. The chimps sign their artwork with a footprint on each shirt.

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We also had a chance to see tigers swimming, an usual sight for cats. And we watched a tiger hunt and kill his prey! They let a full grown tiger loose after a “mop-elope” which is just a mop head attached to a zipline type of thing. It’s very rare to see such an amazing animal run free and hunt like it would in the wild.

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Wild Encounters Tours range from $299 to $499, per person, depending on availability and the season, so book your tour as far in advance as possible. Children under the age of 6 are not allowed on this tour. Tours run from March 4, 2017 to November 25, 2017.

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If you’re ever in Myrtle Beach, also check out the Preservation Station at Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach. It is your chance to see the World’s Rarest Tigers, up-close and for FREE in the exhibit. You’ll see Bengal tigers, Royal White Bengal tigers, and the rarest tiger in the world, the Golden Tabby tiger.

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And if you’re looking for some extra one-on-one time, check out the VIP experience where you can get in the water and swim with Bubbles the Elephant! TIGERS is the only place in the USA that has free open river access for an elephant where she has been swimming for decades. She’s incredibly smart and LOVES meeting new people!

In exchange for my time and efforts reporting my opinion, my family and I were provided complimentary accommodations, and other exciting benefits, such as food and entertainment by the company or agency representing the company.