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Monday, Apr 6 - Closed

Up-Close Animal Encounters and Feeding Experiences

Upgrade Your Day

Up-Close Animal Encounters & Feeding Experiences

Add amazing moments to your day at ZooTampa with our unforgettable signature animal encounters.

Reserve your spot today — spaces are limited.

A young girl pets an African Penguin at ZooTampa

Signature Encounter

African Penguin Backstage*

Waddle on over to meet some fine-feathered friends and get a behind-the-scenes look at how we care for our African penguins. Meet the newest chicks in town and ask any penguin question you may have from our Animal Care Team.

A photo of a boy feeding lettuce to an Indian Rhino

Signature Encounter

Indian Rhino Feeding*

Get an up-close, unforgettable experience with a Greater one-horned rhino, commonly known as an Indian Rhino – a rare species vulnerable to extinction. During this once-in-a-lifetime experience, guests will feed and learn about this incredible species.

A zookeeper reaches up and touches the trunk of an African Elephant

Signature Encounter

African Elephant Backstage

Weekends & Select Weekdays Only

Experience first-hand how our Animal Care Team utilizes learned behaviors to ensure our African elephants are maintaining optimal health and welfare. Watch a training session, see our state-of-the-art elephant barn, and talk to the professionals about how we care for the largest land animal on earth.

A young boy pets the neck of a big wrinkly Aldabra Tortoise at ZooTampa

Signature Encounter

Aldabra Tortoise Encounter

Did you know the Aldabra tortoise is second only to the Galapagos as the biggest land tortoise in the world? The Zoo gives you the chance to get up-close with these fascinating reptiles and spend time with the team that cares for these gentle giants.

Two people pet a White Rhino at ZooTampa

Signature Encounter

Southern White Rhino Backstage*

Did you know white rhinos can weigh up to 5,000 lbs.? Come experience the massive presence of this animal by getting up-close, and learn amazing facts from those who care for them at ZooTampa!

A young girl poses next to a koala as it sits on a tree branch at ZooTampa

Signature Encounter

Koala Photo Encounter Presented by Yob Family Foundation*

Weekends & Select Weekdays Only

On this encounter with an adorable marsupial, get up-close to an adorable koala for a koala-ty photo!

A person feeds a leaf of lettuce to a giraffe, who wraps his extra long tongue around it

Giraffe Meet & Greet

Get eye-to-eye with the world’s tallest animal! Learn about our amazing giraffes during a training session with an Animal Care Professional—where you’re the assistant! Get hands-on experience while you get to know our giraffe’s quirky personalities, ask questions, and learn about the positive reinforcement techniques we use with all our animals.

A young girl feeds a group of colorful Lorikeet birds out of the palm of her hand, and a group of children reach into a pool to pet and feed stingrays as they swim past

Animal Feeding Experiences

At ZooTampa you can experience feeding our colorful lorikeets and our gentle stingrays right from your hand! Only $5 per feeding; times vary each day. For more information, or to purchase your feeding, visit the Lorikeet Aviary gift shop located in Asia, or the Stingray Bay gift shop located in Florida.

ZooTampa Animal Encounter Tips & Guidelines

  • Please arrive no later than 10 minutes prior to the start time of your experience. Guests who are late may forfeit their spot and will not be eligible for a refund.
  • To ensure safety, participants agree to abide by Zoo safety protocols.
  • Guests may bring a camera; however, there are areas behind-the-scenes which you may be asked not to photograph. Video recording is not permitted behind-the-scenes.
  • Tour components are subject to change without notice due to animal, weather, or staff needs.
  • Service animals are restricted from entering the Koala photo encounter area.

* Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a paying adult in order to participate in any Up-Close Signature Encounter

Secrets of the Zoo Tampa featuring a Komodo Dragon

NEW!

Secrets of the Zoo Backstage Tour*

Go on an unprecedented behind-the-scenes tour with one of our "stars" from Nat Geo WILD's series Secrets of the Zoo:Tampa and get exclusive updates on the animals you fell in love with. From Jamie the rhino to majestic rescued manatees, find out ALL the secrets and spend your morning on an adventure you will never forget!

A young girl pets an African Penguin at ZooTampa

Signature Encounter

African Penguin Backstage*

Waddle on over to meet some fine-feathered friends and get a behind-the-scenes look at how we care for our African penguins. Meet the newest chicks in town and ask any penguin question you may have from our Animal Care Team.

A photo of a boy feeding lettuce to an Indian Rhino

Signature Encounter

Indian Rhino Feeding*

Get an up-close, unforgettable experience with a Greater one-horned rhino, commonly known as an Indian Rhino – a rare species vulnerable to extinction. During this once-in-a-lifetime experience, guests will feed and learn about this incredible species.