Fla. boy gets a close-up with a queen of the jungle
SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WHDH) -- A trip to Zoo Miami turned into a wild encounter for one family, when a little boy got up close and personal with a lioness.
The Hawker family from Fort Myers paid a visit to Zoo Miami in Southwest Miami-Dade, Wednesday.
The family went to check out the lion exhibit, and 7-year-old Alex saw a lioness lying down behind the glass enclosure.
Alex asked his dad, Sean Hawker, to take a picture of him and the feline. As Hawker snapped the photo, the lioness leaped up and stared down Alex.
"As I get ready to take the picture, the lioness gets up. She's looking at us, so I'm like, 'This is going to be an excellent picture.' No sooner do I get the camera up to my eye, then she takes a quick leap, about six feet, and then she takes another leap, and she's all paws in the air," Hawker said.
The 7-year-old froze. Alex said, "It jumped on the glass, and I said, 'What was that?' Then I looked. It was a lion."
"Without setting it up or being from Hollywood or something, the actual shot is like a one in a billion shot."
Alex is not the only child with a lion tale to tell. Back in January, a 3-year-old girl stood her ground as a lion furiously pawed at the glass at a New Zealand zoo.
In May, a lioness at the Oregon Zoo wanted to make a toddler lunch, and perhaps mistook the child for a zebra because of his black-and-white-striped jacket.
The Hawkers are now among the families with a zoo tale, and Alex left Zoo Miami on Wednesday an instant celebrity. "Everyone was checking on the camera and everyone was like, 'Cool, nice, what?'" he said. "It was awesome."
Alex said he thought the lioness saw him as a snack, and now has an amazing photo to share with his friends.