NEW: Pre-Season Behind-the-Scenes Tours 2014

Are you restless for summer to get here?  We are too, and in anticipation of yet another exciting summer at the Toledo Zoo, we have some special, pre-season animal encounters that will make it worth the wait!  There’s only a couple left!

Giraffe Feeding Tour at 2:30 p.m.
—Saturday, April 26th & Sunday, April 27th

$15 per person, 6 person maximum, must be 5+ years old to participate
The giraffe feeding opportunity allows you to get up close to these magnificent animals, as well as hand feed them.  Tour guests will learn from the area keepers about the Zoo’s giraffe herd, as well as their status in the wild.  Come with your giraffe questions and meet these tall beauties!

These last couple pre-season tours will book fast, so see below to reserve your spot! We do not take day-of registrations and Zoo admission is not included in tour price.


2014 SUMMER Tour Descriptions & Prices

Summer tours run from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend


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

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 will start by taking 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.  The group will walk to their outdoor enclosure for the grand finale of 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 10:45 a.m.
    $15 per person
    Maximum of 10 people

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 unique 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
    Maximum of 6 people

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 that is inaccessible 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. 

Elephant Excellence Tour:
    Tuesdays and Sundays at 1:15 p.m.
    $15 per person (must be 5+ to participate)
    Maximum of 12 people

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 tour is subject to cancellation based on animal needs if necessary.

Flight – Nature Takes Wing Tour:
    Daily at 1:15 p.m.
    $15 per person (must be 5+ to participate)
    Maximum of 10 people

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 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.  The group will walk through the new Penguin Beach before heading on to meet some of our pink and leggy friends (psst – flamingoes).  We’ll add a short stop to our renovated cassowary exhibit before 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.  This walking tour lasts approximately 55 minutes.

Polar Bear Close-up Tour:
    Sundays at 11 a.m.
    $50 per person (must be 5+ to participate)
    Maximum of 6 people

Synopsis:  The polar bear behind-the-scenes tour takes you back into the polar bear holding facility, where you will 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 too.  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

Synopsis: Join this rare opportunity to be 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

Synopsis:  For this special treat, keepers take you right into the seal exhibit where you’ll see a staff-led training demonstration.  You’ll join in by feeding the seals some fish too!  Keepers will 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 will occur within the indoor holding area.  This walking tour lasts approximately 35 minutes.

V.I.P.enguins Tour:
    Daily except Tuesdays at 2 p.m.
    $50 per person (must be 5+ to participate)
    Maximum of 6 people

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 brand new African penguin exhibit, Penguin Beach, and watch these critters waddle and swim around their new home.  We’ll meet up with a penguin keeper and take a look behind-the-scenes in penguin holding 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 40 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

Synopsis:  Did you know that when you come to the Zoo, you’re in the presence of royalty?  Well, royal cattle that is.  We’ll bring you to our off-exhibit Plains-Antelope building to have a meet-and-greet with our new Watusi cattle, which are an ancient breed of impressive longhorns that historically are called “cattle of kings.”  While you’re behind-the-scenes, we’ll also stop to meet Australia’s historic wild dog, our pair of energetic dingoes.  These are two special species that 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

Synopsis:  For all you feline fanatics, this tour is just for you.  We’ll first meet up with a big cat keeper and stop to watch the fastest land animal in the world – the cheetah – chow down on some meaty treats.  Then we’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 goes into keeping these cats happy and healthy.  We’ll also walk you around the Zoo to learn more about some of 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:

•  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) with your request.
•  We do not take day-of registrations at this time; you must pre-registerIf calling to book a tour for the upcoming weekend, it must be reserved by noon the Friday before.
•  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.
•  Payment policy: Payment is preferred at the time of reservation in order to finalize your booking.  We can hold spots for 2 business days, but beyond that, we will release these spots to the next party on the waiting list.
•  *Please bring your CONFIRMATION (email/printout) to your tour.*

Tour Guidelines and Limitations:

•  Tour experiences may vary based on animal 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.
•  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.


Want even MORE behind-the-scenes opportunities? 

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