Wild Encounters | Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Early Closing - Friday, July 26

The Zoo will close early on Friday, July 26 as we prepare for our Summer Safari fundraising event. Gates will close at 2 p.m. and the park will close at 3 p.m.

Wild Encounters

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Get closer than you ever imagined with Wild Encounters at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

Shadow a Zoo keeper in the PPG Aquarium to see what it’s like to work with sharks. Meet a sea lion and pose for a once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity. Even get up-close-and-personal with the rare and endangered red panda.

Each Wild Encounter group tour experience is 30 minutes long and can accommodate up to 8 guests. Guests must be 8 years of age or older to participate in the encounter. Guests under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Touching the animals without explicit direction from a Zoo staff member is not permitted.

Spots fill up fast, so make sure to book in advance! Tickets are $60 per person and include Zoo admission. Closed-toed shoes are encouraged. At this time, we are unable to accommodate service animals during Wild Encounters. If you or a group member have a special need or mobility need, please contact us in advance.

To book a Wild Encounter, click “Book Now” in each section below. If you have any questions, contact us at wildencounters@pittsburghzoo.org.

Book now!

See below for availability

Get up close with the largest living species of tortoise, the Galapagos tortoise. Meet the experts who care for these 550 pound tortoises and learn all about their natural habitat on the South American volcano known as Volcán Alcedo, their struggles in the wild, and why they nap for 16 hours each day. Plus, participants will get the chance to feed one of these prehistoric reptiles and pose for a photo.

This Wild Encounter takes place every Sunday and Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.

Tickets can be purchased online up to 24 hours in advance.

Closed-toed shoes are encouraged. At this time, we are unable to accommodate service animals during Wild Encounters. If you or a group member have a special need or mobility need, please contact us in advance.

For the safety of our guests and animals, all participants must be 8 years of age or older. Guests under 16 must be accompanied by an adult with a paid Wild Encounter ticket. 

Don’t wait – spots fill up fast!

BOOK GALAPAGOS TORTOISE NOW

Our newly rebranded Giraffe Wild Encounter will provide participants with an in-depth look at what it takes to care for the tallest terrestrial animals in the world. Learn what these 19-foot land mammals eat for 16 to 20 hours each day, how to distinguish between Masai giraffes and Reticulated giraffes, and why they only sleep up to 20 minutes per day. Plus, go hand-to-nose during a truly memorable giraffe feeding experience.

This Wild Encounter takes place every Saturday and Sunday at 12 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online up to 24 hours in advance. Same-day tickets may be purchased at the admission gates, pending availability.

Closed-toed shoes are encouraged. At this time, we are unable to accommodate service animals during Wild Encounters. If you or a group member have a special need or mobility need, please contact us in advance.

For the safety of our guests and animals, all participants must be 8 years of age or older. Guests under 16 must be accompanied by an adult with a paid Wild Encounter ticket. 

Don’t wait – spots fill up fast!

BOOK GIRAFFES NOW

Experience a larger-than-life encounter with a magnificent African elephant. Meet the keeper team and learn what it’s like to care for an all-female elephant herd. Get a peek behind-the-scenes at their expansive African Savanna habitat and then pose with the herd for a selfie of gigantic proportions.

This Wild Encounter takes place every day at 3 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online up to 24 hours in advance. Same-day tickets may be purchased at the admission gates, pending availability.

Closed-toed shoes are encouraged. At this time, we are unable to accommodate service animals during Wild Encounters. If you or a group member have a special need or mobility need, please contact us in advance.

For the safety of our guests and animals, all participants must be 8 years of age or older. Guests under 16 must be accompanied by an adult with a paid Wild Encounter ticket. 

Don't wait - spots fill up fast!

BOOK ELEPHANTS NOW

Discover the unique characteristics that make California sea lions a visitor favorite. Begin your visit admiring the underwater acrobatics of these graceful sea dwellers, then end your visit on the sea lion beach during a live training demonstration.

This Wild Encounter takes place every day at 12:30 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online up to 24 hours in advance. Same-day tickets may be purchased at the admission gates, pending availability.

Closed-toed shoes are encouraged. At this time, we are unable to accommodate service animals during Wild Encounters. If you or a group member have a special need or mobility need, please contact us in advance.

For the safety of our guests and animals, all participants must be 8 years of age or older. Guests under 16 must be accompanied by an adult with a paid Wild Encounter ticket. 

Don’t wait – spots fill up fast!

Book Sea Lions Now

Shadow a Zoo keeper in the PPG Aquarium to see what it’s like to work with marine life from around the world. Aquarium Adventure animals will change daily, and may not be the same each time. You may meet a shark or explore with the stingrays – each encounter will be a different experience!

This Wild Encounter takes place every day at 2 p.m. until October 3.

Tickets can be purchased online up to 24 hours in advance. Same-day tickets may be purchased at the admission gates, pending availability.

Closed-toed shoes are encouraged. At this time, we are unable to accommodate service animals during Wild Encounters. If you or a group member have a special need or mobility need, please contact us in advance.

For the safety of our guests and animals, all participants must be 8 years of age or older. Guests under 16 must be accompanied by an adult with a paid Wild Encounter ticket. 

Don’t wait – spots fill up fast!

Book Aquarium Adventure Now

See what it's like to work with giant anteaters! Learn what they eat, how they spend their days, and what it's like for the Zoo keepers that care for these larger-than-life mammals.

This Wild Encounter takes place every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday at 11 a.m.

Tickets can be purchased online up to 24 hours in advance. Same-day tickets may be purchased at the admission gates at least 30 minutes before the start of the tour, pending availability.

Closed-toed shoes are encouraged. At this time, we are unable to accommodate service animals during Wild Encounters. If you or a group member have a special need or mobility need, please contact us in advance.

For the safety of our guests and animals, all participants must be 8 years of age or older. Guests under 16 must be accompanied by an adult with a paid Wild Encounter ticket. 

Don't wait - spots fill up fast!

Book Giant Anteaters Now

Meet the fastest land mammals in the world - cheetahs. With the Cheetah Wild Encounter, you can get up close to this critical species and see what it's like to care for these big cats.

This Wild Encounter will take place every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 2 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online up to 24 hours in advance. Same-day tickets may be purchased at the admission gates at least 30 minutes before the start of the tour, pending availability.

Closed-toed shoes are encouraged. At this time, we are unable to accommodate service animals during Wild Encounters. If you or a group member have a special need or mobility need, please contact us in advance.

For the safety of our guests and animals, all participants must be 8 years of age or older. Guests under 16 must be accompanied by an adult with a paid Wild Encounter ticket. The Cheetah Wild Encounter can accommodate up to four (4) guests on each tour.

Don't wait - spots fill up fast!

Book Cheetahs Now
 

Experience the thrill of being up close with sharks from the Indo-Pacific. Explore our large ocean exhibit in the PPG Aquarium, discover firsthand what it’s like to care for these iconic animals, and learn about the importance of sharks in our oceans.

This Wild Encounter takes place every Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online up to 24 hours in advance.

Closed-toed shoes are encouraged. At this time, we are unable to accommodate service animals during Wild Encounters. If you or a group member have a special need or mobility need, please contact us in advance.

For the safety of our guests and animals, all participants must be 8 years of age or older. Guests under 16 must be accompanied by an adult with a paid Wild Encounter ticket. 

Book Sharks Now

Meet the Zoo’s most popular animal ambassadors up close. A variety of animals, representing more than 30 different species, are featured in the Zoo’s educational programs. A member of our knowledgeable education staff will guide your experience and provide opportunities to touch the animals and pose for photos. Animals may include owls, kinkajou, fennec foxes, or ball pythons. Specific animals will vary for each encounter.

This Wild Encounter takes place every Saturday at 2 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online up to 24 hours in advance.

Closed-toed shoes are encouraged. At this time, we are unable to accommodate service animals during Wild Encounters. If you or a group member have a special need or mobility need, please contact us in advance.

For the safety of our guests and animals, guests under 16 must be accompanied by an adult with a paid Wild Encounter ticket.

Book Animal Ambassadors Now

The Red Panda Wild Encounters are sold out for the 2019 season. Please check back in Spring 2020 for the next available dates.

Go nose-to-whisker with one of our most charming animals at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium – the red panda. Step into a staff-only area to see what goes into their daily care and learn important conservation information about this unique species.

Closed-toed shoes are encouraged. At this time, we are unable to accommodate service animals during Wild Encounters. If you or a group member have a special need or mobility need, please contact us in advance.

For the safety of our guests and animals, all participants must be 8 years of age or older. Guests under 16 must be accompanied by an adult with a paid Wild Encounter ticket. 

The Red Panda Wild Encounters are sold out for the 2019 season. Please check back in Spring 2020 for the next available dates.