Sofia Walker, 3, was dwarfed by Malik, a 7-year-old "stroppy" lion, as she pressed up against the glass that separated her from the enclosure.
The close encounter happened last Wednesday morning, just after Malik had been given his breakfast.
Sofia and Malik looked directly at each other before the lion angrily pawed at the glass - upset someone disturbed his meal - which seemed to surprise the young girl, but not scare her.
Sofia was called away from the glass by her mother, Sharon, but instead the girl stood her ground and asked: "What's he telling me?"
One of the zookeepers said that Sofia had a "lot of spunk." But her father doesn't think she wants to grow up to be a zookeeper herself. "She'd much rather be a fairy."