Animal Encounters

Are you curious about what it’s like to feed a penguin or get eye-to-eye with giraffes? Check out the Santa Barbara Zoo’s animal encounters, where you’ll meet and greet the animals for a 30-minute educational experience and Q & A session.

If you can’t make it to the Zoo in person, we offer virtual animal encounters that can be enjoyed from anywhere with an internet connection! Virtual encounters take place on Zoom. Fill out the form below to sign up for a virtual encounter.

Are you a Santa Barbara Zoo Member at the Donor Circle level or VIP Foster Feeder ($500 levels or above)? Contact the advancement department to schedule your complimentary animal encounter. Due to safety restrictions, there is limited availability on dates, group size, and animal options.

SAFETY MEASURES

  • All guests 3 years and older must properly wear a face mask during the entire animal experience for the safety of our other guests, staff, and animals.
  • All guests must disinfect their hands and let them dry prior to feeding animals.
  • Zoo staff will wear appropriate personal protective equipment (face masks, gloves, etc.) for each encounter.
Masai Giraffe Encounter
Step onto the giraffe deck where you’ll learn all about the care and training the Zoo’s Masai giraffe herd receives. Also offered as a virtual encounter.
Max Guests: 6
Ages: All ages
Cost: $350
Duration: 30 minutes
Availability: Offered Mondays at 12:30 PM
California Condor Feeding
Learn about their conservation success story and what makes these big birds so special. Watch as the keepers feed these carnivores, but be warned that they love uncooked meat items (aka carcasses).
Max Guests: 6
Ages: All ages
Cost: $250
Duration: 30 minutes
Availability: Offered Tuesdays at 10:30 AM
African Spurred Tortoise Feeding Opportunity
Experience these giants up close and learn about the care and training of the world’s third-largest tortoise species. Also offered as a virtual encounter.
Max Guests: 6
Ages: 5+
Cost: $350
Duration: 30 minutes
Availability: Offered Wednesdays at 2 PM
Eeeww! Animal Encounter
Have an up-close experience with slithery, slimy, and crawly reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates.  Also offered as a virtual encounter.
Max Guests: 6
Ages: All ages
Cost: $350
Duration: 30 minutes
Availability: Offered Fridays at 1 PM
Humboldt Penguin Fish Toss
Join a penguin keeper to learn about the Zoo’s active Humboldt penguin colony, and toss the penguins a tasty fishy snack.
Max Guests: 6
Ages: All ages
Cost: $400
Duration: 30 minutes
Availability: Offered Thursdays at 1:30 PM
Walking Tour
This experience covers the Zoo’s history and details about the animals who call the Zoo home.  With a focus on conservation and animal care, your guide will lead you through the Zoo and spend time at specific exhibits per your group’s request.
Max Guests: 6
Ages: All ages
Cost: $200
Duration: 60 minutes
Availability: Offered Saturdays at 1 PM
Animal Encounter Gift Certificates
Give the gift of an in-person animal encounter to your friends or family! Available in $250, $350, $400, or $500 amounts. Purchase a gift certificate to cover part of an encounter or the whole thing!
Max Guests:
Ages: All ages
Cost: $250-$500
Duration:
Availability:

Virtual Encounter Inquiry Form

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