Penguin Encounter

Experience Penguin & Puffin Coast from a zookeeper's point of view. During this one-hour tour, you will learn about our conservation center for threatened Humboldt penguins, see the kitchen/food prep area and have an "up close and personal" visit with two Magellanic penguins! You'll wrap up your tour with a walk through the exhibit.

Tours are offered Monday through Friday, minimum of two guests required and a maximum of 10. 

One Saturday tour is available per month, minimum of four guests and maximum of 10. (Less than four guests are permitted; however, full payment of $240 is required.)

Meeting times may vary.
Duration: ~1 hour
Fee: $60 per person

Gentle Giants

Take a stroll to Red Rocks and experience a rare opportunity to feed the Zoo's "gentle giants," the reticulated giraffes. See their long eyelashes up close and watch their tongues as they grasp a leafy branch or a piece of bread from your hand. Learn about their behavior, feeding ecology and why their necks are so long!

Minimum of two guests and maximum of 10.
Meeting time: 10:15 a.m.
Duration: ~45 minutes
Fee: $60 per person.

Reptile Rendezvous

This behind-the-scenes tour of the Charles H. Hoessle Herpetarium offers an up-close-and-personal look at one of the largest and diverse collections of snakes, lizards, turtles and tortoises, as well as amphibians and crocodilians! Take a look at safety protocols, snake anti-venin, keeper tools and the difference between snakes and lizards, turtles and tortoises. Test your inner strength and challenge yourself to take a touching opportunity.

Minimum of two guests and maximum of 10.
Meeting times: 10:15 a.m. or 1:15 p.m.
Duration: ~45 minutes
Fee: $45 per person

Tour de Tortoise

This visit to the Charles H. Hoessle Herpetarium takes you into the heart of tortoise territory! Your visit to the giant tortoises, some of which weigh up to 600 pounds, includes hand-feeding carrots to these colossal ancient reptiles. Bring your camera for great photo opportunities!

*Guests must be able to walk well downhill on uneven terrain in the tortoise yard.

Minimum of two guests and maximum of six.
Must be at least 6 years of age. Closed-toed shoes are required.
Meeting times: 10:15 a.m. or 1:15 p.m.
Duration: ~45 minutes
Fee: $45 per person

Leaping Lemurs

Meet a group of small primates from Madagascar, our ring-tailed and black lemurs. Learn about their unique behaviors and detailed family histories! Watch the lemurs interact with each other and feed them healthy treats with a zookeeper. This tour is offered only during the warmer months, when the lemurs live in their outdoor habitats.

Minimum of two guests and a maximum of 10.
Must be at least 8 years of age.
Meeting time: 1:15 p.m.
Duration: ~45 minutes
Fee: $50 per person

Playful Primates

Keepers in the Primate House take extra care to create new and interesting animal enrichment activities for some of the Zoo's most playful animals: the monkeys and lemurs. These activities help keep the primates mentally active and physically fit. Help zookeepers make special primate enrichment, treats or puzzles, and then watch what happens as your homemade goodies are given, or hidden, for the primates to discover.

*Note: This program does not include a behind-the-scenes component.

Minimum of four guests and a maximum of 10. (Less than four guests are allowed; however, full payment is required.)
Meeting time: 1:15 p.m.
Duration: ~45 minutes
Fee: $25 per person

Chirping Cheetahs

Visit the off-display cheetah habitats with a zookeeper. Meet these fast cats and learn about their unique behavior and chirping vocalizations, and why they don't live near the other big cats at the Zoo. You will also discuss how the keepers use enrichment items to keep the cheetahs on their toes!

Minimum of two guests and a maximum of 10.
Meeting times: 10:45 a.m. or 1:15 p.m.
Duration: ~45 minutes
Fee: $60 per person

Big Cat Tales

Visit the world's largest big cats, the noble African lions or the majestic Amur tigers "up close and personal" at Big Cat Country with a zookeeper. Learn about their training, enrichment, animal husbandry and conservation in the wild.

Minimum of two guests and a maximum of 10.
Meeting times: 10:45 a.m. or 1:15 p.m.
Duration: ~45 minutes
Fee: $60 per person

Sea Lion Encounter

Go behind the scenes of the Sea Lion Show to meet a California sea lion superstar! Watch the zookeepers train these magnificent animals to do amazing behaviors using positive reinforcement. You will learn the ins and outs of the main stage attraction and may even have the opportunity for a photo with one of the show's stars!

Tours not available on weekends during show season, April through September.

Minimum of two guests and a maximum of six.
Meeting times: 10:15 or 11:15 a.m.
Duration: ~45 minutes
Fee: $100 per person

Ears, Paws & Claws

Come join us on an adventure that showcases endangered species from three continents! Witness key social interactions of African painted dogs, as well as the shy and solitary Andean bears and Malayan sun bears. Take a closer look at these magnificent animals and learn about the importance of their new habitats. Learn firsthand from keepers about their training, enrichment, husbandry and conservation in the wild.

Minimum of two guests and a maximum of eight.
Meeting times: 10:45 a.m. or 1:15 p.m.
Duration: ~45 minutes
Fee: $60 per person

Family Safari

Gather your family members or friends and head to the Emerson Children's Zoo for a fun and informative behind-the-scenes tour. Guests are invited to meet, touch and take photos of some of our contact animals "up close and personal." Explore the back rooms and kitchen area. Hear interesting stories about the Children's Zoo residents, and learn educational conservation messages about them.

Includes Children's Zoo admission.
Ages one year and up.
Minimum of two guests and maximum of six.
Meeting times: 10:30 a.m. or 3 p.m.
Duration: ~45 minutes
Fee: $55 per person

Sloth Slowdown

Go behind the scenes of the Emerson Children's Zoo to see the elusive South American creature that sleeps over half the day away! Learn about sloths and their remarkable and strange behaviors from the keepers who care for them. Create a fun enrichment activity for the sloths and take a special peek into their habitat. Be sure to bring a camera along to capture this one-of-a-kind experience!

Includes Children's Zoo admission.
Ages 5 years and up.
Minimum of two guests and maximum of four.
Offered seasonally, Labor Day through May 1: 10:30 a.m. or 3 p.m.
Duration: ~30 minutes
Fee: $75 per person

Creepy Crawlies

Come to the Monsanto Insectarium and see rare and amazing invertebrates from all over the planet. What do these animals have in common? No backbone! Go behind the scenes in the containment room where endangered American Burying Beetles live. Get up close and personal with a giant spiny stick! This is the perfect opportunity to learn about a variety of spineless wonders firsthand from the keepers that take care of them.

Minimum of two guests and a maximum of 10.
Meeting times may vary.
Duration: ~45 minutes
Fee: $25 per person

Rhino Ramble

This tour takes you behind River's Edge to the hidden rhino barn. There you will be introduced to one of our stately black rhinos, hear stories about him from a zookeeper, learn about his species' plight in the wild and feed this dinosaur-like vegetarian. You might even get to touch his armor-like skin!

Minimum of two guests and maximum of six.
Must be at least 8 years of age.
Meeting time: 1:45 p.m.
Duration: ~45 minutes
Fee: $60 per person

Birds of a Feather

Go behind the scenes of the historical 1920s Bird House. See the kitchen where hundreds of diets are prepared daily for our diverse bird collection. Visit the incubator/propagation room and off-display birds on the lower level.

Minimum of two guests and maximum of 10.
Meeting times: 10:15 a.m. or 1:15 p.m.
Duration: ~45 minutes
Fee: $35 per person

Botanical Wonders

Have you ever seen an elephant ear? How about a bengal tiger canna? Let the experts, zoo horticulture manager Tony Range, guide you on a fascinating and educational one-hour walking tour. Experience the flora in the immersion exhibit River's Edge, plus the beauty of colorful annuals and trees at the Zoo.

Minimum of four guests and maximum of 20.
Offered Monday-Friday, June through October at 8:30 a.m.
Fee: $15 per person