2014 Summer Tour Descriptions & Prices

Summer tours run from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend

Want to book a tour?  See the links under each tour for availability/registration and view the bottom of the page for our policies.


Africa! Exhibit and Giraffe Feeding tour:
    Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.
    $15 per person (must be 5+ to participate)
    Maximum of 10 people
    Check for availability and make a reservation!

Synopsis:  What’s a better way to enjoy your day at the Toledo Zoo than having a close encounter with a giraffe?  Your guided tour starts with a little journey on our Safari Railway, where you’ll get dropped off at the back of the Africa! exhibit.  You’ll walk through the train barn, hay/feed storage building, and then peek into an animal stall in our hoofstock barn.  To wrap up our adventure, you’ll meet up with a giraffe keeper, who will show off our great holding areas and give insight into the hard work that goes into taking care of these tall creatures.  Then you’ll walk outside for the grand finale:a giraffe eating right out of your hand!  This walking tour lasts approximately 45 minutes.

Backstage Pass - Animal Show tour:
    Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 11:00 a.m.
    $15 per person
    Maximum of 10 people
    Check for availability and make a reservation!

Synopsis:  Have you ever been backstage…at an animal show?  Why not hang out with some of our program animal staff and meet the stars of the show before they go on stage?  You’ll get a sneak peek at the “load-in” process behind the curtains and have the chance to ask questions about show training, animal care and more.  Then to wrap up, you’ll get front row, VIP seating for the performance at 11:30 a.m.  Start your Zoo visit with this remarkable backstage pass!  The tour experience lasts approximately 45 minutes, and then there is a 20 minute show performance afterwards.

Education Animal Center “EAC” tour:
    Daily at 11:30 a.m.
    $15 per person (we recommend 5+)
    Maximum of 6 people
    Check for availability and make a reservation!

Synopsis:  An important part of the Zoo’s mission is to inspire others to care for animals, and one way we do that is through education!  The Education Animal Center, a building off-limits to the general public, is filled with small animal ambassadors that we use in our educational programs and shows, and they are waiting to meet YOU!  Touch and take pictures with these critters, and add this special encounter that the whole family can enjoy to your Zoo day!  This walking tour lasts approximately 35 minutes.  Please note, children under 5 are not permitted to touch any reptiles due to animal protocols.

Elephant Excellence tour:
    Tuesdays and Sundays at 1:15 p.m.
    $15 per person (must be 5+ to participate)
    Maximum of 12 people
    Check for availability and make a reservation!

Synopsis:  Ever wonder what it takes to care for the largest land mammal on Earth?  Between our state-of-the art elephant facility and excellent keeper care practices, our Toledo Zoo elephants enjoy a healthy and active life.  Walk through the bull barn built in 2011, see just what an “ERD” is, learn what and how much elephants eat (hint – it is A LOT), how we train them, what enrichment looks like for these creatures, and other exciting elephant factoids.  This walking tour lasts approximately 45 minutes.  Please note – there will be no elephants in the building during the tour, and the tour is subject to cancellation based on the animals’ needs if necessary.

Flight – Nature Takes Wing tour:
    Daily at 1:15 p.m.  (*begins Monday, May 26)
    $15 per person (must be 5+ to participate)
    Maximum of 10 people
    Check for availability and make a reservation!

Synopsis:  The theme of “flight” has overtaken the Toledo Zoo this year and we are excited to show you some of our animal highlights.  We’ll start off our tour by meeting up with a keeper and heading behind the scenes to check out our award-winning Aviary’s commissary (i.e. kitchen) to see what’s for dinner…for the birds.  Next, we’ll make a stop at our new Cassowary Crossing exhibit, then move on to see some of our pink and leggy friends (psst - flamingos).  We’ll walk through the new Penguin Beach as well and then end our tour by jumping the line and heading into the new ‘Keet Retreat free-flight exhibit, where you’ll get to help us feed these beautiful birds.  This walking tour lasts approximately 50 minutes.

Polar Bear Close-up tour:
    Sundays at 11 a.m.
    $50 per person (must be 5+ to participate)
    Maximum of 6 people
    Check for availability and make a reservation!

Synopsis:  The polar bear behind-the-scenes tour takes you back into the polar bear holding facility, where you come face-to-face with a polar bear…with a barrier in between, of course!  Chat with a keeper and hear what it takes to care for these animals – even watch them do a training demonstration.  You’ll discover the history of our bears, as well as how issues like climate change are impacting their species.  This walking tour lasts approximately 40 minutes.

Rhino Mornings tour:
    Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. (early entrance into Zoo)
    $50 + Zoo admission* per person (must be 5+ to participate)
    Maximum of 6 people
    Check for availability and make a reservation!

Synopsis: Join this rare opportunity to get up close and personal with our white rhinos, Sam and Lulu.  You’ll have the chance to stand next to the largest species of rhino in the world, as well as touch and feed them while learning about our remarkable duo.  You will also tour the rhino holding facility and learn how we care for these giants, keeping them occupied and content.  You’ll also hear how rhinos all over the world are faring in their native habitats.  This walking tour lasts approximately 40 minutes.

*Zoo admission fees are not included in tour ticket prices; admission tickets must be purchased online to accompany your early tour entrance.

Seal Encounter tour:
    Tuesdays at 2 p.m.
    $50 per person (must be 5+ to participate)
    Maximum of 6 people
    Check for availability and make a reservation!

Synopsis:  For this special treat, keepers take you right into the Arctic Encounter®‘s seal exhibit, where you’ll see a staff-led training demonstration.  You’ll join in by feeding the seals some fish too!  Keepers talk about our seals at the Zoo, show you the indoor holding areas for these animals, and also introduce the issues seals face in the wild.  *If inclement weather, tour & training session occur within the indoor holding area.  This walking tour lasts approximately 35 minutes.

V.I.P.enguins tour:
    Daily at 2 p.m., except Tuesdays (*begins Monday, May 26)
    $50 per person (must be 5+ to participate)
    Maximum of 6 people
    Check for availability and make a reservation!

Synopsis:  Here at the Zoo we have all sorts of amazing animals to check out, so why not have a special encounter with some “Very Important Penguins” while you’re here?  During this tour, you’ll walk through our all-new exhibit, Penguin Beach, and watch these critters waddle and swim around their new home.  Then you’ll meet up with a penguin keeper and take a look behind the scenes to explore what they eat, how they are trained and cared for, and just what makes these little VIPs tick.  This walking tour lasts approximately 30 minutes.

Watusi Cattle and Australian Dingoes tour:
    Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:30 a.m. (early entrance into Zoo)
    $15 + Zoo admission* per person (must be 5+ to participate)
    Maximum of 6 people
    Check for availability and make a reservation!

Synopsis:  Did you know that when you come to the Zoo, you’re in the presence of royalty?  Royal cattle, that is.  We’ll bring you off-exhibit to have a meet-and-greet with our new Watusi cattle, an ancient breed of impressive longhorns historically called “cattle of kings.”  While you’re behind the scenes, you’ll also meet Australia’s historic wild dog, our pair of energetic dingoes.  These are two special species you won’t want to miss during your day at the Zoo!  This walking tour lasts approximately 35 minutes.

*Zoo admission fees are not included in tour ticket prices; admission tickets must be purchased online to accompany your early tour entrance.

Zoo Cats tour:
    Fridays and Sundays at 2 p.m.
    $50 per person (must be 5+ to participate)
    Maximum of 6 people
    Check for availability and make a reservation!

Synopsis:  For all you feline fanatics, this tour is just for you.  First, you’ll meet up with a big cat keeper and watch the fastest land animal in the world – the cheetah – chow down on some meaty treats.  Then you’ll go behind the scenes to check out the indoor space where our two majestic white lion brothers sleep at night.  Learn about the hard work and great animal care that go into keeping these cats happy and healthy.  You’ll also get a guided walk around the Zoo to learn more about our other cat species, like endangered snow leopards and Amur tigers.  So join us for this special visit; it’s the cat’s meow – or should we say, roar?  This walking tour lasts approximately 45 minutes.

How to Reserve Your Behind-the-Scenes Tour:

•  BTS Tours run from Memorial Day weekend (May 24th) through Labor Day (September 1).
•  Under each tour description, see the corresponding weblink that will help you check tour availability and allow you to book your tour online.  Payment will be due at the time of booking.
•  We do not take day-of registrations; you must pre-register.  You must book your tour online by 2 pm the day before your requested tour date.
•  Zoo admission is not included in tour price.  If you have an “early entrance” tour, you will be required to purchase Zoo tickets online to accompany your tour.
•  *Please bring your confirmation (email/printout) to your tour.*
•  If you have questions, please call the Education Department at 419.385.5721, ext. 2042 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday) or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Tour Guidelines and Limitations:

•  Tour experiences may vary based on animals’ behavior that day.
•  For the majority of tours, all participants must be 5 years old or older.  The only exceptions are the Education Animal Center tour and the Backstage Pass – Animal Show tour, which can accommodate any age.
•  Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an individual in their party who is at least 16 years old.
•  When you are on a tour, please follow all staff directions and remain with the group for your personal safety, as well as the welfare of the animals.  Please do not touch and/or feed any of the animals you may see unless instructed by Zoo staff.
•  All tours are walking tours and you will be on your feet the entire time.
•  Wagons and strollers are permitted in public areas during tours, but you will be asked to park them during behind-the-scenes portions due to space.  Wheelchairs and scooters are accommodated, and we appreciate advance notification so we can be better prepared to meet your needs.
•  Tours are subject to cancellation based on animal needs if necessary.

Cancellations & Refund Policy:
Please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) if you need to cancel a pre-booked tour.
•  If a tour is cancelled 2 days or more before the tour is scheduled to run, you can receive 100% refund or it can be rescheduled.
•  If a tour is cancelled the day before a tour is booked, you receive 50% refund or it can be rescheduled.
•  If a tour is cancelled the day of a tour or is a “no show,” no refund will be issued.

Want even more behind-the-scenes opportunities? 

Check out our Picnic on Safari lunch program, which provides the option of adding a special ostrich feed opportunity to your lunch experience here.