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Behind the Scenes Tours

Behind the Scenes Tours are completed for 2022. Thank you for joining us!

Go behind the scenes at Henry Vilas Zoo!

Come get a closer look at how we care for the animals at your Henry Vilas Zoo! Sign up for one of our Behind the Scenes tours and get to see an area of the zoo normally only seen by the animals and keepers. Gain some insider knowledge about our zoo, our animals, and our conservation work around the world.

Behind the Scenes Gift Certificates Now Available!

Give the wildest gift this year with a Behind the Scenes tour at the Henry Vilas Zoo! Gift certificates are available for individual registrants or private tours for our popular African Adventure or Be a Zookeeper tours for the 2023 season!

Purchase Gift Certificate

Please allow 3-5 days to process your gift certificate. A staff person will email you with your unique code and instructions on how to use the gift certificate. Please ensure your email is entered correctly. 


Tours are offered seasonally March through November.

Due to animal schedules and staff capacity, tours open on a month-by-month basis and are limited to the dates and times listed for each month.

We offer public and private tours

Public tours are priced per participant. There may be other guests joining your small group up to a maximum of 7 people total. Public tours are offered more frequently.
Private tours are just for your group up to 5 people! The price is per tour, and does not change based on the number of guests in your party.

We have different tour topics to choose from. Pick your favorite, or sign up to do them all!


Be a Zookeeper

Ever wanted to step into the boots of one of our amazing animal care staff at your Henry Vilas Zoo? Well now is your chance! In this tour we will go behind the scenes and learn about how we take care of the many animals here at the zoo and our conservation efforts to help animals across the globe. You will take a tour of our animal health center, then make some special treats for the bears and see them enjoy it! 

Be a Zookeeper Behind the Scenes Tour Details:

  • Fee:
    • Public Tour: $25 per person
    • Private Tour: $125 for up to 5 people
  • Age: All ages
    • Children must be accompanied by a registered adult
  • Tour Highlights:
    • Behind the scenes tour at the Animal Health Center
    • Make enrichment and deliver it to bears

African Adventure

Learn about some of the largest animals at the zoo and go behind the scenes to see how we take care of them. We will be able to adventure into our giraffe barn and present food to our amazing giraffe Eddie. After that we will get o meet our incredible white rhino, Harmon, and learn what you can do to help protect rhinos and giraffes in the wild.

African Adventure Behind the Scenes Tour Details:

  • Fee:
    • Public Tour: $80 per person
    • Private Tour: $350 for up to 5 people
  • Age: 5 and up
    • Children must be accompanied by a registered adult
  • Tour Highlights:
    • Behind the scenes tour at giraffe barn
    • Behind the scenes at rhino barn
    • Opportunities to get up close with giraffe and rhino

NOTE: These are currently the only Behind the Scenes tours available at Henry Vilas Zoo. We do not have the capacity to provide for individual or specialized requests.

Cancellation Policy

We believe in giving our animals choices, and cannot guarantee animals will present themselves to be touched or fed. If an animal chooses not to participate, or does not present itself to be fed or touched, you will not receive a refund.

If a tour needs to be cancelled due to extreme weather or unforeseen circumstances you will be credited the amount paid to use on any other zoo tour or educational program.

If, on the other hand, you choose to cancel you may receive a credit to use on any other zoo tour or educational program. The amount of the credit will depend on when a cancellation is made:

  • Cancellations up to 72 hours before the tour will be credited the full amount paid.
  • Cancellations up to 48 hours before the tour will be credited half of the amount paid.
  • Cancellations less than 24 hours prior to the tour, or if participants do not show up for the tour, will not receive a refund or credit.

All cancellations must be made via email to education@henryvilaszoo.gov.


10% of the proceeds of all Behind the Scenes Tours are donated to Henry Vilas Zoo’s conservation partners, and 15% goes directly to purchasing fresh browse for our animals.