Denver Zoo Map

EXPLORE DENVER ZOO LIKE NEVER BEFORE!

If you’ve ever dreamed of getting nose to beak with a penguin, smelling the fish on a sea lion’s breath or getting the insider's scoop on elephants, then Up-Close Animal Encounters at Denver Zoo are for you. 

Up-Close Animal Encounters provides guests with a one of a kind experience by combining exclusive animal encounters, intimate keeper interactions and guided tours. 

LOOKING FOR A WILD AND UNIQUE GIFT?

A gift certificate for a Denver Zoo Up-Close Animal Encounter lets your special someone choose their unforgettable animal experience.

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ELEPHANT ENCOUNTER

A TRUNK-FUL OF FUN!

60 Minutes

Guests 12 years of age and older

$75/Guest

Get to know more about Denver Zoo’s beloved elephants while discovering a different side of Denver Zoo’s Toyota Elephant Passage. Go behind the scenes and gain some insider knowledge from the animal keepers who care for these unique, charismatic creatures every day. Please note that because of safety regulations, guests will not receive direct contact with the elephants, but rather will get a closer look than public perspective allows with exclusive behind-the-scenes access and interactions.

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Up-Close Look: Lemurs

40 minutes

Guests of all ages

$35/Guest

Join us for a chance to get an in-depth look at one of the most popular animals at the zoo, lemurs! Begin by watching our resident ring-tailed and red-ruffed lemurs leap and jump in their habitat, while learning from your host about the way that Denver Zoo cares these playful primates. Then, meet up with some of the animal care staff that work with lemurs every day. During this time, you’ll get the exclusive opportunity to watch one of our resident aye-aye receive a special treat. Please note that because of safety regulations, guests will not receive direct contact or behind-the-scenes access to the animals, but rather will get the opportunity to learn more about lemurs from exclusive interactions with zoo experts.

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TROPICAL DISCOVERY ENCOUNTER

SEE WHAT CRAWLS, SLITHERS AND HOPS BENEATH THE JUNGLE CANOPY

45 minutes 

Guests 5 years of age and older

$50/Guest

This encounter is for lovers of reptiles, frogs, and fish! Take an exclusive visit to Tropical Discovery, home to all things slithery, slimy, and scaly. You will be transported into an exotic rainforest habitat that is home to more than 300 species of animals. Keepers will escort you to two different behind the scenes areas—outside the Komodo dragon exhibit for a face-to-face visit with one of the large lizards, and a second area that is the keeper's choice! You may get a bird’s eye view into our 16,000 gallon Pacific Reef habitat, have the opportunity to meet a frog thought to be extinct in the wild, or get a sneak peek into the venomous snake room. Each experience is different, so an adventurous attitude is recommended! 

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PENGUIN ENCOUNTER

NO TUXEDO REQUIRED

60 Minutes

Guests 8 years of age and older

$75/Guest

Are you passionate about penguins? Start your encounter with a guided tour through Bird World and get a behind-the-scenes peek at how Denver Zoo cares for hundreds of birds. Spend some time in the kitchen as animal care staff prepare diets and help feed a variety of the Zoo’s fine feathered friends. For the grand finale waddle your way into the world of penguins to interact with one of these loveable creatures and hear from one of our animal care experts about what it takes to care for these unique birds.

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Predator Ridge Encounter

We’re Going to Hear You Roar!

45 minutes

Guests 10 years of age and older

$75/Guest

Take an African safari right here in Denver by joining us on this exclusive tour.  Go behind the scenes at the award winning Benson’s Predator Ridge to meet some of our social carnivores.  During this behind the scenes tour you will have a chance to get to know majestic African lions, playful African wild dogs, or super smart spotted hyenas.  You’ll learn more about these inspiring animals from the animal experts who care for them every day.  Seats are limited, so sign up for this amazing opportunity today. Please note that because of safety regulations, guests will not receive direct contact with the animals, but rather will get a closer look than public perspective allows with exclusive access and interactions. Due to animal care needs we cannot guarantee which species participants will meet ahead of time.

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BACKSTAGE EXPERIENCE JUNIOR ENCOUNTER

A HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE FOR ANIMAL ENTHUSIASTS OF ALL AGES

1.5 Hours

Are you looking for a more exclusive and in-depth look at Denver Zoo? If so, the Backstage Experience Junior is for you! 

Your private tour guide will escort you through our Animal Ambassador collection where you might touch a turtle, spend time with snakes, laugh with a kookaburra or be tickled by a tamandua’s tongue! Lots of up-close encounters wrap up with a fun feeding or training demonstration. Then it’s off to meet the stars of the Wildlife Show, where you’ll go behind the scenes to see how we care for these charismatic animals. Prepare to be dazzled by the talents of the exotic parrots, majestic birds of prey, and mammals both prickly and cuddly. When the entertainment wraps up there, you are free to enjoy the zoo at your leisure. These amazing experiences book quickly, so call to learn more and book your tour today.

 

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Tiger Encounter

EXPERIENCE THE EDGE THROUGH THE EYES OF A TIGER!

60 minutes

Guests 12 years of age and older

$75/Guest

This tour will take you behind the scenes at The Edge, Denver Zoo’s Amur tiger exhibit. Participants will get an up close view of a training session with one of The Edge’s resident tigers and learn from animal care experts about what they do every day to ensure that these cats receive the best care. You’ll be in awe of the amazing relationship animal care staff have with these 400 pound furry felines! Please note that because of safety regulations, guests will not receive direct contact with the tigers, but rather will get a closer look than public perspective allows with exclusive access and interactions.

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RHINO ENCOUNTER

COME MINGLE WITH THESE GENTLE GIANTS!

30-45 Minutes

Guests 12 years of age and older

$50/Guest

Ever wondered what it feels like to touch two tons worth of muscle? Experience this and more as you get up close and personal with one of our rhinos. In this adventure, your host will guide you to our rhino exhibit, to meet with a keeper and learn what it takes to care for these thick skinned creatures. You’ll also have a chance to touch and scratch this gentle giant while it enjoys his mid-morning snack. They might look tough as a tank, however their calm and sweet nature will win you over! 

Rhino Encounters will be back in the fall. Please check back, or fill out this form and we'll send you a reminder when it becomes available.

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SEA LION ENCOUNTER

MAKE A SPLASH WITH THESE FLIPPERED FRIENDS

30-45 minutes

Guests 8 years of age and older

$50/Guest

Things are about to get fishy! Have an up-close encounter with Denver Zoo’s fun flippered friends, the sea lions. During up-close encounters with sea lions and intimate conversations with animal care staff, watch as their personalities overshadow their fishy breath and find a way in to your heart. Please note that because of safety regulations, guests will not receive direct contact with the sea lions, but rather will get a closer look than public perspective allows with exclusive access and interactions. 

Sea Lion Encounters will be back soon. Please check back, or fill out this form and we'll send you a reminder when it becomes available.

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Flamingo Encounter

JOIN THE FLOCK

45 minutes

Guests 7 years of age and older

$50/Guest

Meet our resident rock stars, the flamingo flock.  Slip on your VIP pass and our host will guide you to the flamingo quarters.  You’ll get a chance to mingle backstage with a big name flamingo like Slash, Hendrix, Cash, or Lita.  Learn more from animal care experts about what it takes to care for these unique birds and you’ll get a photo snapped with the pink, feathered star. But please no autographs. It’s hard to hold a pen with that beak!

Flamingo Encounters will be back later this year. Please check back then, or fill out this form and we'll send you a reminder when it becomes available.

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HIPPO ENCOUNTER

WE'RE SO HIPPO TO MEET YOU!  

30 minutes

Guests 10 years of age and older

$50/Guest

Meet long time Denver Zoo resident Mahali the hippo during this up-close and personal experience.  Participants will have exclusive access to the outdoor hippo habitat in our new encounter space, opportunities to learn from his keepers how they care for him, and help toss food to Mahali! Do you have what it takes to hit a four foot target from just a few feet away? Start practicing your aim! Please note that because of safety regulations, guests will not receive direct contact with the hippo, but rather will get a closer look than public perspective allows with exclusive access and interactions.

Hippo Encounters will be back in 2018. Please check back then, or fill out this form and we'll send you a reminder when it becomes available.

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AMBASSADOR ANIMAL ENCOUNTER

SMALL CRITTERS WITH A BIG IMPACT!

30 minutes

Guests of all ages

$50/Guest

Come meet our Animal Ambassadors during an Up-Close Animal Encounter! You’ll get face-to-face with some of our animal ambassadors, like an anteater or a tortoise. There are over 90 animals for the keepers to choose from, so you never know who you're going to meet! Spend time with our animal care staff as they show you what it takes to care for some of the animals that call Denver Zoo home. The Animal Ambassador Encounter is an interactive and hands-on tour that’s great for all-ages! 

 

Ambassador Animal Encounters will be back soon. Please check back, or fill out this form and we'll send you a reminder when it becomes available.

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Giraffe Feeding

Want to feel like one of the herd? 

Guests of all ages

$25/Guest

Our new giraffe feeding will give you a chance to hand feed one of our resident giraffes. In addition to the feeding, you will have exclusive access to giraffe experts that will help you get to know each member of the herd. You will be in awe of their long necks, rough tongues and adorable ossicones. Just watch out for the drool!

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LORIKEET ADVENTURE

Step into Lorikeet Adventure and you’ll be greeted by the cheerful chirps of Denver Zoo’s most vibrant residents. Lorikeet Adventure is home to a variety of lorikeets, small, brightly-colored parrots from Australia and the South Pacific.  Stroll through the open aviary as lorikeets fly overhead and learn more about these acrobats of the tropics from zookeepers and volunteers. Looking to get even closer?  Visitors can opt to pay and hand feed the birds from a cup of nectar as they perch right on your arm. This unforgettable experience is great for visitors of all ages.

Exhibit currently only open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Nectar Sales: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Nectar Cup Price: $2

Lorikeet Adventure is open year round, weather permitting, and entrance is included with your Zoo admission.