To treat and exhibit as an object of interest. Originally to take visitors to see the lions formerly kept at the Tower of London. [Hence] lion-hunter, one given to lionizing people, popularized by Dickens in Mr. Leo Hunter [in] Pickwick Papers (1836).--Albert Hyamson's Dictionary of English Phrases, 1922
On the third of June, 1605, King James and his family went to the Tower of London to see the lions. From the time of Henry III, who placed in the Tower three leopards which had been sent him from Emperor Frederick in allusion to the three leopards on the royal shield, there had always been some examples of larger carnivora kept in this grim old seat of English royalty. In the fourteenth century, to maintain a lion in the Tower cost sixpence a day, while human prisoners were supported for one penny ... To go and see these Tower lions became an indispensible duty of all country visitors of London, insomuch as to give rise to a proverbial expression, "the lions," passing as equivalent to all kinds of city wonders.--W. & R. Chambers's Book of Days, 1864
On an unrelated note, Kung Fu last night demonstrated to me that my stances have gotten a bit sloppy; I'm going to have to put in some extra practice on those.
On another unrelated note, the cicadas seem to be moving into the "lay eggs and die" phase ... there are fewer active ones, and the ones there are seem to be sluggish ... and there are lots of dried up dead ones lying on their back all over the sidewalk. Alas, poor little idiots. It's a bit sad.