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Behind the Scenes Tours

Registration now open for limited Behind the Scenes Tours!

Click Here to Register

Go behind the scenes at Henry Vilas Zoo!

Come get a closer look at how we care for our 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.

Want to schedule for a group and don’t see a day/topic combination that works? Contact us at education@henryvilaszoo.gov.

Tours are limited to 5 people maximum and must be from the same household.

We have three different tours 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 get the take a tour of our animal health center, have the opportunity to offer food to some of our underwater friends, make some special treats for the bears and see them enjoy it! 

Be a Zookeeper Behind the Scenes Tour Details:

  • Fee: $25 per person
  • Age: 1 to 100 (no fee for children under 1)
  • Max People 5 from same household
  • Tour Highlights:
    • Behind the scenes tour at the Animal Health Center
    • Make enrichment for bears
    • Deliver enrichment to polar bear

Children’s Zoo Tour

Although we made some modifications due to COVID-19, you still have a chance to check out the children’s zoo! In this tour you will get to see all the green barn animals that are not currently  visible to the public, including the red panda, white-handed gibbon, Indian crested porcupine, meerkats, and aardvark. You will also have an opportunity to participate in a keeper chore. At the end of the tour you will get to meet our hilarious herd of goats and spend some time brushing and hand-feeding them.

Be a Zookeeper Behind the Scenes Tour Details:

  • Fee: $25 per person
  • Age: 1 to 100 (no fee for children under 1)
  • Max 5 people from same household
  • Tour Highlights:
    • Goat feeding and brushing
    • Guided tour of green barn animals from the public viewing spaces
    • An opportunity to participate in a keeper chore

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 to meet our incredible white rhino, Harmon, and learn what you can do to help protect rhinos in the wild.  

African Adventure Behind the Scenes Tour Details:

  • Fee: $70 per person
  • Age: 5 to 100
  • Max 5 people from same household
  • Tour Highlights:
    • Behind the scenes tour at giraffe barn
    • Offer food to giraffe
    • Photo opportunity in front of giraffe
    • Behind the scenes tour at rhino
    • Opportunity to touch the rhino

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 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.

If you need to cancel due to COVID-related illness, we will provide a partial or prorated credit, or work with you to reschedule your tour.

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

Click Here to Register

10% of the proceeds of all Behind the Scenes Tours are donated to Henry Vilas Zoo’s conservation partners.