Florida, the land of completely fucked up happenings and, just to even things out, Key Lime Pie, is now not only home to the you-only-live-once-so-stop-being-such-a-coward gator pool party, but also, thanks to some enterprising animal handlers at Dade City's private zoo Wild Things, the tiger cub pool, featuring a real Siberian tiger cub named Tony. For the low, low price of $200 and your signature on a release form absolving Tony's handlers from responsibility should Tony high-five your child in the jugular, your kid can spend an awkward 30 minutes in a pool trying to hug an adorably confounded eight pound tiger. For an extra $400 and a vow of silence, I've heard that the trainers will fill up a pool with milk and let Tony swim around in it, and, yes, that may be a baseless rumor, but would it really surprise you if it turned out to be true?
It wouldn't surprise you, of course, because Florida is a stalactite of weirdness dripping off the continental United States. Asked whether or not swimming with a squeaky mini-predator is dangerous or not, Wild Things' truth-teller Randy Stearns said, in so many words, pretty much, yeah, but it's strictly no big deal in the land where people have bug eating deathmatches:
Well, with any animal there's always a risk. It's not like we're going to just throw you in the pool and say, here's the tiger. You're in there with at least one of the trainers actually in the water with you.
Hear that, kids? Strap on your brave faces and hold your breath because you're taking a plunge in the tiger tank. Though the federal government and certain state governments are becoming increasingly wary of big cats spending too much recreation time around people, Florida State law says it's, like, fine or whatever for big cats like tigers to frolick with the public until they reach 40 pounds (at 25 pounds, they need a harness or some other manner of humiliating restraint). A similar attraction in Madeira Beach offers kids the chance to swim with a four-foot gator named Ally, who would say (if her mouth wasn't taped shut and she wasn't actually an inarticulate prehistoric monster) that her favorite pool parties are the ones with cake. Cake made of helpless, fleshy children.
First gators, now swimming with tigers? [My Fox Tampa Bay]