Monarto Zoo’s Lions 360 ‘cage dive’ experience will let visitors feed jungle kings | PHOTOS

Monarto Zoo's latest attraction will give visitors a close-up display of roar power.

The Lions 360 exhibit is a domed cage not for lions, but for people who can immerse themselves in their natural environment and feed them by hand.

It will open to the public on Saturday.

Shark dives have turned Port Lincoln into an international tourist destination; Zoos SA hopes the lion experience will do the same for Monarto.

Chief executive Elaine Bensted said the first exhibit of its kind in Australia would bring an extra 3000 visitors to the Murraylands each year.

"Lions 360 ... is a truly hair-raising experience with visitors able to enter the cage and get closer than ever before to our amazing lions," she said.

"With a number of tickets sold already, Lions 360 is set to be incredibly popular so we're encouraging people to get in early and book their experience."

It would also help fund Zoos SA's conservation work, which aided with and raised awareness of the plight of the 20,000 remaining wild lions.

Tourism Minister Leon Bignell said Lions 360 would add to the state's pantheon of nature-based attractions.

"We have amazing wildlife experiences in South Australia, from holding a koala to diving with great white sharks, and now, being able to get up close to lions and actually hand them food," he said.

"Lions 360 is another example of the great work being done across the state to encourage visitors to South Australia, and for locals to explore their own backyard."

He said the state government had spent an extra $70 million marketing South Australia's tourism sector and that the visitor economy was on track to reach a value of $8 billion by 2020.

Regional Development Minister Geoff Brock said the state government was proud to have supported the project via its economic sustainability program.

"The attraction of this unique experience, the only 360-degree lion encounter in Australia, will ensure that Monarto Zoo remains one of the state’s most popular destinations for locals, interstate and international visitors," he said.

"The increase in visitors drawn to Monarto Zoo by the Lions 360 experience will also provide a boost to local businesses and tour operators, with the attraction offering an opportunity for visitors to extend their stay and explore the region."

Member for Barker Tony Pasin said Lions 360 was a fantastic example of a project eligible for the federal government's Tourism Demand-Driver Infrastructure program.

"Not only is it increasing tourism opportunities for South Australia as a whole but it’s fantastic for the local Murraylands region that will see an increase in visitors and a boost to the local economy," he said.

"It’s an excellent example of state and federal government coming together to support organisations like Zoos SA to deliver exciting new projects."

Electranet chief executive Steve Masters said his company was excited about supporting Zoos SA's important conservation work.

The experience was originally announced as part of Zoos SA's 20-year master plan and gained between $350,000 and $360,000 worth of support from both the state and federal governments, as well as sponsorship from Electranet.

Zoos SA contributed $720,000 to the project.