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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Giraffe Feeding

Want to feel like one of the herd? 

Guests of all ages

$25/Guest

Our new exclusive giraffe feeding will give you a chance to hand feed one of our resident giraffes some of their favorite treats. You will be in awe of their long necks, rough tongues and adorable ossicones. 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 on this guided experience.  Just watch out for the giraffe drool!

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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! This Up-Close Look begins with a guided tour of our resident ring-tailed and red-ruffed lemurs in our Emerald Forest. Learn all about the way Denver Zoo cares for these playful primates as you watch them leap and jump in their habitat. Your exclusive experience continues as you meet up with the animal care staff that work with lemurs every day. You’ll get the unique opportunity to immerse yourself in our nighttime exhibit and watch one of our resident aye-ayes receive a special treat. Please note this experience includes exclusive interactions with zoo experts and an up-close look at lemur exhibits and enrichment. Because of safety regulations, guests will not receive direct contact or behind-the-scenes access to the animals.

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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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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.

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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! 

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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. 

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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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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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BACKSTAGE EXPERIENCE ENCOUNTER

HANDS-ON EXPERIENCES FOR ANIMAL ENTHUSIASTS 

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

Backstage Experience Junior

30 minutes

Guests of all ages

Meet some of Denver Zoo’s most charismatic animals during this bite-sized Up-Close Animal Encounter—perfect for our youngest guests!  Your private tour will take you behind the scenes with our animal ambassadors. Animal ambassadors welcome attendees to special events, visit schools and even make media appearances, but zoo guests don’t usually get to visit their home.  This backstage area has over 90 animal residents, so you might get to touch a turtle, be tickled by a tamandua’s tongue or meet even tropical bird. This exclusive tour includes a variety of up-close encounters, followed by an animal feeding or training demonstration. This 30-minute experience is perfect for guests of all ages.

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Backstage Experience

1.5 hours

Guests 5 years of age and older

If you are looking for a more in-depth experience for older kids, a family or even just adults you may be interested in the extended version of this exclusive tour. Denver Zoo’s Backstage Experience gets you behind the scenes with animal ambassadors and includes a visit to the Wildlife Show.  In addition to all of the fun that our Backstage Experience Junior offers, you’ll also head backstage to see how we care for these charismatic animals and be dazzled by colorful parrots, majestic birds of prey, and mammals both prickly and fuzzy.

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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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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.

Elephant Encounters will be back in 2019. 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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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.