Behind-the-Scenes Tours

Animal Encounters 

Get up close to some of the zoo residents while keepers educate the community about how these animals live and what humans can do to create a better future for them.

The Family Farm Experence

Bring the whole family to the Family Farm to meet some of the zoo’s goats and their feathered friends. Feed, take photos with and touch the zoo’s goats and chickens or ducks while you
learn more about these incredible animals from the keepers who care for them.

Up to six people can attend this 20-minute experience. All ages are welcome. This is an ADA-accessible encounter.

Meet the goats and chickens on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 10:30 p.m.
Meet the goats and ducks on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

$10 per person

Check availability and book your experience today!


Close Encounter of the Bug Kind

Take a closer look at some leaf insects, tarantulas and beetles in the Insect Zoo.

Discover how keepers care for these amazing arthropods, learn how to gently handle them and take some up-close photos of what you encounter. 

Groups of four can reserve this 30-minute experience. All ages are welcome. This is an ADA-accessible encounter.

Available Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m.

$25 per person

Check availability and book your experience today!


All About Owls

Ever wondered why owls are considered wise or if they can turn their heads all the way around? Meet two of the Oregon Zoo’s owl residents and discover some owl tales, folklore and roles in the ecosystem.

Groups of six can reserve this 30-minute experience. All ages are welcome. This is an ADA-accessible encounter.

Available Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

$25 per person

Check availability and book your experience today!


Reptile Encounter

Go behind the scenes with some scaly friends from around the world. Find out more about how these animals can adapt to live in different habitats and how they live here at the zoo, all while getting close enough to touch and take photos.

Groups of six can reserve this 30-minute experience. All ages are welcome. This is an ADA-accessible encounter.

Available Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.

$25 per person

Check availability and book your experience today!


Porcupine Encounter

Everyone who meets prehensile-tailed porcupine Bebeto falls in love with him. You don't know what you're missing if you haven't had a chance to meet, feed, touch and take photos with your new favorite animal.

Groups of 10 can reserve this 30-minute experience. All ages are welcome. This is an ADA-accessible encounter.

Available Sunday, Tuesday and Friday at 11 a.m.

Zoo members: $45 per person
Nonmembers: $50 per person

Check availability and book your experience today!


Amazing Aardvark

Meet the Oregon Zoo's resident aardvark, Kuchimba, and have the chance to feed, take photos with and touch him while learning all about aardvarks from his caretakers.

Groups of eight can reserve this 30-minute experience. Ages 10 and older are welcome.

Available Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 10 a.m.

Zoo members: $70 per person
Nonmembers: $75 per person

Check availability and book your experience today!


Slow Down with a Sloth

Meet Josie, a Linne's two-toed sloth, and her caretakers. Enjoy feeding Josie and taking photos with her, though there won't be any hugging or touching in this case.

Groups of 10 can reserve this 30-minute experience. All ages are welcome. This is an ADA-accessible encounter.

Available Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 10 a.m.

Zoo members: $70 per person
Nonmembers: $75 per person

Check availability and book your experience today!


Penguin Meet and Greet

Enjoy a special visit with a couple of our penguin ambassadors. Go behind the scenes and hear from the penguin caretakers and take photos with and touch penguins.

Groups of six can reserve this 30-minute experience. Ages 5 and older are welcome.

Available Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 12:45 p.m.

Zoo members: $70 per person
Nonmembers: $75 per person

Check availability and book your experience today!

Experience Tropical Birds

Meet Oshi, the Toco toucan, and watch as one of the zoo's macaws creates an artistic masterpiece. Groups of six can reserve this 30-minute experience. All ages are welcome.

This is an ADA-accessible encounter.

Available Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at 11 a.m.

Zoo members: $70 per person
Nonmembers: $75 per person

Check availability and book your experience today!



River Otter Experience

Explore the North American river otter habitat and meet our resident river otters. Take photos of these sleek swimmers and interact with their caretakers for this unique encounter.

Groups of six can reserve a spot for this 30-minute experience. Ages 10 and older are welcome.

Available on Fridays and Saturdays at 11:15 a.m.

Zoo members: $95 per person
Nonmembers: $100 per person.

Check availability and book your experience today!


Sea Otter Experience

It's otterly true that sea otters are otterly adorable! Go behind-the-scenes to learn about how we care for the Oregon Zoo's sea otter residents.

You'll have the opportunity to take photos and hear from the sea otter caretakers. Groups of six can reserve a spot for this 30-minute encounter. Ages five and older are welcome.

Available on Sundays and Thursdays at 11:15 a.m.

Zoo members: $95 per person
Nonmembers: $100 per person

Check availability and book your experience today!


Encounter Elephants

Join the Oregon Zoo's elephant caretakers for an opportunity to feed and take a photo with an elephant. Hear about elephant conservation efforts and learn how you can help.

Groups of six can reserve a spot in this 20-minute encounter. Ages six and older are welcome. Those attending can meet inside Forest Hall. 

Available Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 12:45 p.m.

Zoo members: $145 per person
Nonmembers: $150 per person

Check availability and book your experience today!



Discovery Tours

Looking for a deeper dive into the workings of the zoo? Follow a veteran keeper through the staff-only doors to see what it takes to run a zoo—from providing an enriching environment to re-creating an ocean—on our behind-the-scenes discovery tours. 

Discover Care and Conservation!

Available Thursdays through Sundays from 10-11:30 a.m. and Wednesdays through Sundays from 12:30 p.m.-2 p.m.

Learn more about the zoo’s commitment to conservation with a guided walk at condors and elephants. Go behind the scenes in the zoo’s Veterinary Medical Center and Forest Hall to discover how the zoo cares for animals of all sizes.

Zoo members: $35 per person
Nonmembers: $45 per person
Ages 10 and up. Fee includes zoo admission.

Check availability or book online now.


Discover Zoo After Hours!

Available Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, 5:30 to 7 p.m., January through March

See the zoo in a whole new light on a guided after-hours tour. Learn how the zoo creates an ocean for seals and sea otters, go behind the scenes at the Veterinary Medical Center to learn more about zoo veterinary care and look down on elephants getting an evening treat from the behind the scenes elevated walkway.

Zoo members: $50 per person
Nonmembers: $50 per person
Ages 10 and up. Fee includes zoo admission.

Check availability or book online now.


Discover Northwest!

Available Thursdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. from April through October

The Oregon Zoo has recreated the entire Pacific Northwest – from mountains to coast - in the space of ten acres. Go behind the scenes of the black bear, sea otter and seal exhibits to discover the many moving parts of this complex operation and learn about how keepers care for these native Northwest animals.

Zoo members: $35 per person
Nonmembers: $45 per person
Ages 10 and up. Fee includes zoo admission.

Check availability or book online now.


Discover Africa!

Available Wednesdays through Sundays from 12:30 p.m.-2 p.m. from April through October

Learn about the vital role that training plays in animal welfare. Go behind the scenes at giraffes, cheetahs and lions to discover the importance of exhibit design in both the public and back of house areas.

Zoo members: $35 per person
Nonmembers: $45 per person
Ages 10 and up. Fee includes zoo admission.

Check availability or book online now.


Discovery Tour Registration Information

  • Children ages 10 and up are welcome. Kids under 13 must be accompanied by a paying adult.
  • Space is limited and advance registration is required. Find available dates or make a reservation online or by contacting the Education Office.
  • Programs involving zoo animals are subject to change or cancellation based on animal needs. However, every effort will be made to offer alternate areas or reschedule tours. Please note that Discovery tours do not include animal contact. In addition, because these tours take place during zoo hours, animals will generally be on exhibit and not in the behind-the-scenes areas.
  • All discovery tours require walking in working areas that include stairs and not wheelchair-accessible.