Tiger exhibit re-opens at Peoria Zoo

By Beau Ebenezer

April 27, 2013 Updated Apr 27, 2013 at 8:06 PM CDT

PEORIA Ill -- If you have taken a trip to the Peoria Zoo over the last month, one missing exhibit has had visitors yearning to see their favorite jungle cat and her almost 1-year-old litter of cubs.

"His favorite part, is the the tiger's, giraffes, and the lions," said Peoria resident, Mick Rashid, about his grandson. "This was a good chance to pick the grandson up, make a day of it going to the zoo."

On Saturday afternoon, visitors did not have to wait any longer.

"For the last month they have been off exhibit," said Peoria Zoo Curator of Education, Jill Roderick. "We have been doing some renovations to the fence and different things. Today is the first day they have been able to come back out. We were really excited and so were they. They were really rambunctious all morning chasing each other around."

The tigers had been staying in their night house while the exhibit and fence were remodeled.

Alison Daley made sure to bring along her niece and nephew, who were visiting from Chicago, to see the four tiger cubs and their mother.

"I have not been here in about a year or so, and before, it was just the one or two tigers, so it definitely attracted us to come out here," said Daley.

The cubs were born last June, and some of them now weigh close to 200 pounds.

"They are big but they are so beautiful," said Daley. "It's just great being that close. I just love what Peoria has done with the plexiglass and being able to just sit right there. They are right next to you. It's really cool."

The cubs and their mother will be around all year long, except for certain days when the father tiger is out.

Zoo officials said to call ahead of time to make sure you will get a glimpse of the tigers roaming.