Today's Hours
Tuesday 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.

Manatee Critical Care Center Backstage Encounter

NEW! Signature Encounter

Manatee Critical Care Center Backstage Encounter

For Guests Ages 5 & Up

Did you know that ZooTampa is home to the first non-profit manatee critical care facility in the US? At our state-of-the-art David A. Straz, Jr. Critical Care Center, we take in sick, injured, and orphaned manatees and provide them with the specialized care they need so they can be re-introduced back to their native waters. On this backstage tour, you'll go behind the scenes to learn more about what it takes to care for and rehabilitate this treasured Florida species. Plus, meet a member of the dedicated team who cares for them each and every day.

A young girl pets an African Penguin at ZooTampa

Signature Encounter

African Penguin Backstage

For Guests Ages 5 & Up

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

For Guests Ages 5 & Up

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

Signature Encounter

Aldabra Tortoise Encounter

All Ages
3 & Up Require a Ticket

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

All Ages
3 & Up Require a Ticket

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 zookeeper reaches up and touches the trunk of an African Elephant

Signature Encounter

African Elephant Backstage

Weekends & Select Weekdays Only

For Guests Ages 5 & Up

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 rhino and her mother at ZooTampa

Signature Encounter

Southern White Rhino Backstage

Coming Soon

For Guests Ages 5 & Up

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

All Ages
3 & Up Require a Ticket

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!

A komodo dragon with its mouth wide open

Breakfast with Animals

Special Event Series

All Ages

What better way to spend your morning than sipping a Starbucks beverage and enjoying breakfast pastries in the presence of a dragon, orangutan, or manatee? This special event series includes breakfast, Q&A with our Animal Care Team, photos with the animals, and more. Don’t miss these unique opportunities!

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

Lorikeet Landing Aviary

All Ages

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

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

Stingray Bay Touch Experience

All Ages

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.
  • 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.
  • Encounters are only refundable up to 48 hours in advance of your scheduled Encounter. For refund inquiries please contact our Guest Services team via email or call us at (813) 935-8552 ext 0.

IMPORTANT: Children under the age of 5 may participate in the Aldabra Tortoise Encounter, Koala Photo Encounter Presented by Yob Family Foundation, Giraffe Meet & Greet, Lorikeet, and Stingray experiences. All other encounters and experiences require guests to be 5 years or older.

For all animal experiences, children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a paying adult.

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.
  • 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.
  • Encounters are only refundable up to 48 hours in advance of your scheduled Encounter. For refund inquiries please contact our Guest Services team via email or call us at (813) 935-8552 ext 0.

IMPORTANT: Children under the age of 5 may participate in the Aldabra Tortoise Encounter, Koala Photo Encounter Presented by Yob Family Foundation, Giraffe Meet & Greet, Lorikeet, and Stingray experiences. All other encounters and experiences require guests to be 5 years or older.

For all animal experiences, children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a paying adult.

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!

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