Elmwood Encounters

Gain unprecedented access to animals and experiences in our brand new series of exclusive interactions! For a limited time, guests can purchase highly-sought feeding sessions with our adorable river otters, take part in a training session with the giraffes, and much more!

ENCOUNTERS

Otter Feeding

Rocky and Piper are ready to meet you and they heard you have snacks! Enjoy this awesome opporunity to get up to close to our otters (through mesh) and feed them some of their favorite treats. These charismatic members of the zoo family will also demonstrate their terrific training skills and be sure to make you smile. Keepers will be on hand to answer all your questions and tell you about their favorite otter antics.

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This experience will last 15 minutes.
Admission for up to 2 people; for ages 8 and up
Only available 2:00pm from Wednesday-Sunday.

Giraffe VIP experience

Looking for a TALL adventure? It’s time to get face-to-neck with our VIP giraffe experience! This incredible up-close experience includes a private giraffe feeding with Gerald, Dhourba and Mokolo, a chance to meet our amazing giraffe keepers, and a unique opportunity to observe a training demonstration. Last but not least, before you leave you will have the chance to have a custom giraffe kiss painting made for you by our boys!

This experience will last 30 minutes.
Admission for up to 6 people; for ages 6 and up, but can accommodate younger children. 
Only available April – October, 2:00pm-4:00pm on Monday & Tuesdays.

OWL Obsession

Do you love owls? Enjoy an up-close interactive experience with a few owl ambassadors from our Education Department! During this experience, you will learn about cool owl adaptations and learn the best ways to find owls in their natural habitat. Take as many pictures as you want during this once in a lifetime opportunity!

This experience will last 45 minutes.

Admission for up to 4 people recommended for ages 5 and up.

REPTILE Rendezvous

Are you one of those people that adore all things reptile? During this experience you will meet different reptiles from our ambassador collection. Love turtles? We can focus on them! Prefer snakes or lizards? No problem, you can meet them too! No matter which reptiles you love, you will get to learn about their different habitats and the conservation efforts that protect them.

This experience will last 45 minutes.

Admission for up to 4 people; recommended for ages 5 and up.

Chinchilla Treatment

Ever heard of puppy treatment when you have a bad day and just want to cuddle a group of puppies? Try Chinchilla Treatment and come have play time with our ambassador chinchillas from the Education Department! You will get to feed, play, and possibly even train the chinchillas that you might have seen us use during programs here at the zoo.

This experience will last 30 minutes.

Admission for up to 4 people; recommended for ages 5 and up.

Snacks with Pokey

Who has 30,000 quills and love snacks? Pokey, our North American Porcupine. Join us to feed Pokey his daily snacks and get an opportunity to meet a porcupine up close and personal. Educators will be on hand to answer all your questions and snap plenty of photos. If you would like an extra dose of prickly pals you can add on a hedgehog painting session for an additional $35 for non-members and $25 for yearly members.

This experience will last 30 minutes.

Admission for up to 4 people; recommended for ages 6 and up.

Painting with a Hedgehog

Do you love hedgehogs? What better way to show your love of hedgehogs then to have a custom painting done by one of our hedgehog. Join us for a fun session to meet our positively precious prickly pals. Our educators will answer all your questions about hedgehogs while they romp around. At the end of your session, you will have the chance to watch our hedgehog create a painting just for you to bring home!

This experience will last 30 minutes.
Admission for up to 4 people; for ages 4 and up.

Tour the Zoo with our Donkeys

Do you like to take slow walks to enjoy the scenary and maybe nibble on some grass? Then taking our donkeys on a short tour of the Zoo is for you! Pickles and Jenny love to take slow walks around the Zoo to visit their friends and would love to have you along for the journey. During your adventure you will get to walk and brush our donkeys as well as learn all about them from their terrific keepers.

This experience will last 30 minutes.
Admission for up to 4 people; for ages 4 and up.

Program Booking

Guests can purchase an experience above and then email our Education Department Manager at education@elmwoodparkzoo.org to schedule a date (the dates for Otter Feedings and Giraffe VIP Experiences are chosen at time of purchase). In your email, please, provide a list of three dates that you would prefer for the experience so the education department may choose the best day for your group! Programs will need to be schedule at least two weeks in advance.

Payment

Cost of experiences will vary and can be found above.  All experiences are limited to a certain amount per group and we do not accommodate under the age of 3 years.

Cancellation

Cancellations must be emailed to education@elmwoodparkzoo.org 48 hours in advance to program date.  We do not offer refunds, but will try to reschedule if necessary.

Experience

We cannot guarantee you will get to touch the animals or guarantee any specific activities due to the needs of our animals and the variability of their behavior. 

At this time, we ask for information ahead of time to accommodate service animals during Encounters as it may affect our animals’ behavior.  If you or a group member have a special need or mobility need, please inform us in advance during booking.