Animal Experiences

Different Way to Upgrade Your Day

There are several ways you can make your next visit to ZooTampa more WILD!
Select one of the options below to jump to a section on this page for more information.

Behind-the-scenes animal experiences

Add amazing moments to your day at ZooTampa with our unforgettable signature animal encounters. Reserve your spot today — spaces are limited.

ALL NEW! Stingray In-Water Experience

Presented by the Tampa Bay Rays

Manatee Critical Care Center Behind-the-scenes Tour

Be a part of ZooTampa’s manatee rescue team!

Go behind-the-scenes at our David A Straz, Jr. Manatee Critical Care Center to witness the lifesaving work that takes place every day to save sick, injured, and orphaned manatees. Follow the journey of one of our critical patients and learn from our expert animal care team what it takes to rescue, rehabilitate, and eventually release these majestic animals back to Florida waters. From the moment they arrive at ZooTampa through the months, and sometimes years, of treatment and rehabilitation, each manatee has a unique and amazing story of survival.

Encounter Time:
Daily at 1:15 PM

Age Requirements:
Open to ages 5 and up, but recommended for ages 12 and up

Meeting Location:
Meet at the David A. Straz Jr. Manatee Critical Care Center in Florida 10 minutes prior to your encounter time.

Ticket Requirements:

  • Tickets must be purchased in advance.
  • All participants need a Signature Encounter reservation/ticket and Zoo admission.
  • Children ages 5-17 must also be accompanied by a paid, participating adult.

Pricing:
Members: $14.95-$19.95
Non-Members: $19.95-$24.95

Southern White Rhino Encounter

Have you ever wanted to stare into the eye of a southern white rhino?

Now you can on this amazing encounter! Travel into Africa during this one-of-a-kind experience and go behind-the-scenes to meet the dedicated team who care for our “crash” every day while getting nose-to-horn with these critically endangered animals. Afterwards, guests will continue their adventure on a private safari tour and learn more about the animals who call Africa home.

Encounter Time:
Daily at 11:00 AM

Age Requirements:
Open to ages 5 and up

Meeting Location:
White Rhino Encounter will meet at Roaring Springs near the Black Bear viewing window, 10 minutes prior to your encounter time.

Ticket Requirements:

  • Signature Encounter reservations/tickets must be purchased in advance.
  • All participants need a Signature Encounter ticket and Zoo admission.
  • Children ages 5-17 must also be accompanied by a paid, participating adult.

Pricing:
Members: $19.95-$24.95
Non-Members: $24.95-$29.95

This encounter is temporarily not wheelchair accessible. Please contact ZTengagement@ZooTampa.org to discuss available accommodations.

Giant Tortoise Encounter

Additional time slots are available!

Go on habitat and enjoy an up-close interaction with one of our Giant Tortoises!

Encounter Time:
Daily at 10:30 AM
4:00 PM on select days when Zoo is open for extended hours.

Age Requirements:
Open to all ages

Meeting Location:
Meet at the Giant Tortoise habitat in Africa 10 minutes prior to your encounter time

Ticket Requirements:

  • Signature Encounter reservations/tickets must be purchased in advance.
  • Participants 2 and under are free and do not require a ticket.
  • Participants 3 and up require a ticket for the encounter and admission to the Zoo.
  • Participants 17 and under must be accompanied by a paid, participating adult.

Pricing:
Members: $14.95-$19.95
Non-Members: $19.95-$24.95

Indian Rhino Feeding

Enjoy an unforgettable experience offering a tasty treat to one of our Indian Rhinos!