Today's Hours
Thursday 9:30 am - 5 pm

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*

Get a behind-the-scenes look at how we care for our endangered African penguins. Meet members of our colony and ask any penguin question you may have from our Animal Care Team.

A boy feeding lettuce to an Indian Rhino at ZooTampa during an up-close encounter

Signature Encounter

Indian Rhino Feeding*

Get up-close for an unforgettable experience where you get to feed a greater one-horned rhinoceros! Commonly known as an Indian rhino, this rare species is vulnerable to extinction. Plus, learn more about our breeding pair Jamie & Johnny, get exclusive access to the team that cares for these special animals every day.

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

Signature Encounter

African Elephant Backstage*

Weekends & Select Weekdays Only

What's it like to care for the largest land animal on earth? Find out first-hand how our Animal Care Team utilizes learned behaviors to ensure our African elephants are maintaining optimal health and welfare. Plus, watch a real training session and talk to the professionals who interact with these amazing animals every day.

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? Get up-close with these fascinating reptiles and spend time with the team that cares for these gentle giants.

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, you'll go behind-the-scenes with our animal care team to meet Heathcliff, our male Queensland Koala, for a "koala-ty" photo.

A young rhino and her mother at ZooTampa

Signature Encounter

Southern White Rhino Backstage*

Coming Soon

Did you know white rhinos can weigh up to 5,000 pounds? Go behind-the-scenes to the Rhino barn to experience the massive presence of this important animal. You and your family will learn amazing facts from those who care for them at ZooTampa and get to know some of the members of our crash!

A guest feeds a giraffe during an up-close encounter at ZooTampa

Giraffe Meet & Greet

Get eye-to-eye with the world's tallest animal! Find out all about our amazing giraffes during a training session – where you're the assistant! You'll get up-close to these amazing animals, ask questions, and learn about the positive reinforcement techniques we use with all our animals. Then, strike a pose for an epic selfie!

Two colorful lorikeets land on the shoulder of a boy in the lorikeet aviary at ZooTampa

Lorikeet Landing Aviary

Go inside this free-flight aviary with some of the world's most colorful birds! Reservations for this FREE experience are strongly recommended. Feedings may be available at the time of your experience. See a team member at the Lorikeet Aviary at the time of your reservation for more information.

A group of children reach into a pool to pet and feed stingrays as they swim past

Stingray Bay Touch Experience

Get hand-to-fin with a slippery stingray at this FREE up-close animal experience. Feedings may be available for a fee. See a Team Member at the Stingray Bay gift shop for more information.

ZooTampa Animal Encounter Tips & Guidelines

  • Admission is required to participate in Signature Encounters. If you have scheduled a Signature Encounter please make a reservation for that date, and purchase your admission ticket if you don’t already have it.
  • 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.
  • Masks are required to be worn by all guests participating in Signature Encounters or Giraffe Meet & Greet. If you do not have a mask, one will be provided to you.
  • 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

ZooTampa Animal Encounter Tips & Guidelines

  • Admission is required to participate in Signature Encounters. If you have scheduled a Signature Encounter please make a reservation (Members & Pay For A Day ticket holders) or pre-purchase your date-specific ticket (all others) in order to guarantee your entry on that date. Please visit our Tickets, Memberships, & Online Reservations page to make your reservation.
  • 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.
  • Masks are required to be worn by all guests participating in Signature Encounters. If you do not have a mask, one will be provided to you.
  • 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

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.
  • Masks are required to be worn by all guests participating in Signature Encounters. If you do not have a mask, one will be provided to you.
  • 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.
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.

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