Animal Encounters at the Houston Zoo

Get ready to go behind the scenes at the Houston Zoo!

Animal Encounters are one-of-a-kind opportunities to meet zookeepers and get up close to your favorite animals. Each encounter is an interactive experience designed with the animals’ welfare in mind. Get a tour of the space, meet the animals, and spend some time with a keeper to learn how the animals are cared for, the challenges they might face in the wild, and what you can do at home to help save them in the wild. With so many options to choose from, there is something for everyone at the Houston Zoo.

Orangutan Houston Zoo

Orangutans Encounter
Tuesdays, 11:00 – 11:45 a.m.
Join the orangutan troop and their zookeepers for a special training session. Learn more about these Great Apes, including their favorite activities, and help deliver a tasty treat.

Sea Lion Training Experience
Wednesdays, 9:30 – 10:15 a.m.
Join the sea lion training team for a rare opportunity to participate in an interactive training session complete with a little play time, which might include ball tosses, frisbee catches, and more. You’ll also get a photo opportunity with one of the sea lions!

Asian Elephants Houston Zoo

Elephant Bath Experience
Thursdays, 10:00 – 10:45 a.m.
Head behind the scenes to experience first-hand what it’s like to bathe an elephant! You will get to feed and touch one of these amazing creatures with a photo opportunity you can share with friends and family.

Okapi Encounter
Thursdays, 9:00 – 9:45 a.m.
Get eye-to-eye with one of Africa’s rarest species as you visit the Okapi’s habitat and learn about this closest living relative to the giraffe. You will have the opportunity to feed them their favorite treats during this one-of-a-kind experience.

Alligator Experience
Thursdays, 1:00 – 1:45 p.m.
Accompany zookeepers into a staff-only area to learn more about these amazing reptiles. During this experience you will participate in a training demonstration and even feed the alligators some of their favorite food.

Night at the Zoo Experience
Thursdays, 8:00 – 8:45 p.m.
Learn what happens at night after the zookeepers go home. Accompany staff on a guided flashlight tour during their evening rounds as some animals are settling down for the night and some are just waking up.


Giant River Otters Houston Zoo

Giant River Otter Experience
Fridays, 10:00 – 10:45 a.m.
Meet Max, Marley, Rijo, and Dru in the brand-new exhibit, South America’s Pantanal. Get to know each otters’ personality and discover how zookeepers care for these playful (and vocal) giants.

Silver Back Gorilla’s Houston Zoo

Gorilla Encounter
Fridays, 10:45 – 11:30 a.m.
Step into the tree house and get a up close view into the gorilla’s world. Spend time feeding and interacting with one of the greatest apes while learning about how the Zoo’s global partners are protecting gorillas in the wild.

Goat Experience
Fridays – Sundays 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Get to know the Zoo’s goat herd while interacting with them and learning from the Children’s Zoo keepers. While you’re there make sure to get a selfie with your new goat friends.

Elephant Encounter
Fridays & Sundays, 12:45 – 1:30 p.m.
Get up close to one of the Zoo’s Asian elephants and see first-hand how keepers build relationships with these amazing animals! You will have an opportunity to feed, hear stories about the herd and touch one of these breathtaking creatures.

Galápagos Tortoise Encounter Houston Zoo

Galápagos Tortoise Encounter
Sundays & Tuesdays, 10:00 – 10:45 a.m.
Get up close with some of the Zoo’s longest-lived residents, the Galápagos tortoises. During this experience, you’ll have access into the Galápagos tortoise habitat to learn all about these giant, slow-motion reptiles while offering them their favorite snack.

Giraffe Feeding Houston Zoo

Giraffe Feedings
Daily, 11:00 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.
Interact with the Masai giraffe family at the Giraffe feeding platform, a shaded feeding area with a great view of the giraffes and ostriches. While you’re there, offer a lettuce leaf snack to your new long-necked friends.

Animal experiences are offered daily, and each has its own age requirements and group size limits. These experiences fill up fast. A portion of every purchase helps the Houston Zoo save animals in the wild. For all the details and to book an Animal Encounter, visit