Meet the Animals

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Have you always wanted to get just a little bit closer to the animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo? Well, you can! Take a look at our many behind-the-scenes experiences, and choose the best option for you and/or your family.

    Backstage Pass

    A fun and interactive way to see the animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo!

    This is your chance to meet our animals the way you’ve always wanted to: up close and personal! As you work alongside an experienced zookeeper, you will enjoy interactive encounters with your favorite animals, most of which can only be seen up close by Backstage Pass holders like you!

    Select from the following Backstage Pass programs:

    • Barnyard – Meet the Guinea hogs, Navajo-Churro sheep, and San Clemente Island goats as you work in the barnyard alongside a keeper. You will learn the ins and outs of caring for all of the Zoo’s barnyard animals while you interact with them in their exhibit. This Backstage Pass is perfect for younger audiences!
    • Feathered Friends – Join the flock! This Backstage Pass will allow you to work with a bird keeper and learn about how we care for our Humboldt penguins, Chilean flamingos, and other feathered friends who reside at the Santa Barbara Zoo.
    • Eeeww! – Meet some of the Zoo’s reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates! This Backstage Pass takes you behind the scenes of the Eeeww! exhibit where a zookeeper will teach you what it takes to care for all of the Zoo’s creepy crawlers!Eeeww! exhibit where a zookeeper will teach you what it takes to care for all of the Zoo’s creepy crawlers!
    • Small Mammals – This Backstage Pass allows you to work with zookeepers and learn how we care for the crested porcupines, capybaras, and anteaters here at the Santa Barbara Zoo.

    Encounters with animals are subject to change without prior notice.

    Program Details

    Location

    Santa Barbara Zoo

    500 Ninos Dr.

    Santa Barbara, CA 93103

    Fee

    Adults: $200 ($150 for SB Zoo Members)

    Children: $75 (ages 5-17)

    Includes cost of admission and parking for non-members

    Registration

    Please contact Hannah Kistner by email or phone (805) 962-5339, ext. 148 at least two weeks in advance.

    Duration

    Each Backstage Pass tour lasts about 1.5 hours.

    Dates

    Offered on weekdays (Mon-Fri)

    All dates are subject to availability.

    Age Requirement

    Adults and children ages 5 and up

    Minors must be accompanied by a paying parent/guardian

    Behind-the-Scenes Tours

    A Behind-the-Scenes Tour is a special way to visit the Zoo and the perfect opportunity to celebrate a birthday or anniversary! An experienced guide will lead your private tour group through the Zoo as you see animal exhibits in a way the general public never sees. You’ll learn how zookeepers care for the animals that reside here, hear about conservation issues, and get a close-up view of some of our animals along the way.

    Program Details

    Location

    Santa Barbara Zoo

    500 Ninos Dr.

    Santa Barbara, CA 93103

    Fee

    Experiences range from $200-$1,000 for groups of up to six people.

    Registration

    Please contact Hannah Kistner by email or phone (805) 962-5339, ext. 148 at least two weeks in advance.

    Duration

    1.5 hours

    Dates

    Offered on weekdays (Mon.-Fri.)

    All dates are subject to availability.

    Age Requirement

    All ages welcome. However, some encounters are only available to guests ages 6 and up. Please call for details.

    Keeper for a Day

    A fun and informative program for those who are interested in animals and conservation!

    Experience a full day working with your favorite animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo as an honorary zookeeper! You will have the unique opportunity to participate in behind-the-scenes activities and assist zookeepers in their daily tasks of caring for the animals which include preparing food and enrichment, training animals, and cleaning.

    The Keeper for a Day program can accommodate up to two people per session on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants must sign a liability waiver and provide proof of a negative tuberculosis test. Participants must register at least two weeks in advance.

    Encounters with animals are subject to change without prior notice.

    Program Details

    Location

    Santa Barbara Zoo

    500 Ninos Dr.

    Santa Barbara, CA 93103

    Fee

    $900 ($800 for SB Zoo Members)

    Includes lunch

    Registration

    To sign up, please contact Hannah Kistner by email or phone (805) 962-5339, ext. 148.

    Duration

    5.5 hours

    10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

    Dates

    Offered on Thursdays.

    Age Requirement

    Ages 18 and older with proof of negative tuberculosis test.