Location (indicated in orange on the map): San Diego Zoo, south of Monkey Trails or west of Ituri Forest Habitat/Region featured: Southeast Asian rain forest
Size: The tiger enclosure is one-quarter-of-an acre; the crocodile pool holds 16,000 gallons of water
Opening date: March 1988
Nearest dining facility: Safari Kitchen
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How to view
Can you spot the tiger?
Tiger River's naturalistic habitat gives the tigers plenty of exercise.
Continue your jungle trek, either from Monkey Trails or Ituri Forest, to Tiger River. Here's you'll stroll along a riverbed pathway that leads to a tiger's lair, a crocodilian pool, a fishing cat's den, and a marsh complete with cattails, fallen trees, and wafting mists. Enjoy the cooling shade from towering palms, coral and orchid trees, ferns, figs, bamboos, and gingers.
Mesmerizing and gorgeous but also endangered, our Malayan tigers are always a pleasure to watch. Their exhibit was designed to closely resemble a natural jungle habitat and was built on a steep slope that gives the tigers plenty of exercise.
A waterfall splashing into a pool and logs to climb on or use as scratching posts give the tigers a variety of things to do. A heated cave near a viewing window encourages the tigers to spend their naptime close to curious tiger admirers.
Take time to visit our other rain forest dwellers. The Marsh Aviary is filled with birds such as storm and milky storks, imperial pigeons, and white-collared kingfishers.Unusual Malayan tapirs, with their trunk-like snouts, like to lounge in their private pool. You may see fishing cats using their webbed paws to catch fish swimming in the stream that runs through their habitat. Nearby are fresh-water crocodiles, easy to see as they float in their special lake or sunbath on their private beach.
Tiger River is the San Diego Zoo's rain forest bioclime, designed to instill you with a sense of wonder, discovery, and appreciation for the fragility of one of the world's most threatened environments.
Our Indochinese tigers are always up to something interesting.
- Fragrant jasmine vines and ginger were planted in Tiger River to help you "smell" the rain forest.
- Use push buttons to listen to the different sounds a tiger makes.
- Check out the encased python skeleton and try to count how many ribs the snake has!
- A "Rain Forest in your Cupboard" display shows products derived from rain forest plants—you'll be surprised at how many of the items we use every day have rain forest origins.
- Dozens of water nozzles hidden among trees and plants along the path create a fine mist that blankets the Tiger River exhibit, lowering the temperature by 10 degrees and providing needed moisture for the tropical plants. The vapor is so fine that only five gallons (22 liters) of water a day are needed to create this humid atmosphere in San Diego's dry climate.
- The pools and waterfalls in Tiger River appear to be part of one continuous water system. Actually, there are five separate computerized systems to filter and recirculate the water.
- Strands of piano wire, mounted and tightened separately to maintain equal tension, provide the see-through barrier between visitors and the birds of the March Aviary.