Looking for a unique gift? Gift Certificates for future dates are available!
See below for the Gift Certificate form.
Have you ever wondered what it is like to hand-feed an okapi? Or get up close with an alligator? Now is your chance! The Behind-the-Scenes Tour program takes guests one step closer to the animals at the Sacramento Zoo. Get up close to the animals, visit behind-the-scenes areas not accessible to the general public, receive a guided walking tour from one of our educators and see what goes into the incredible care the animals receive every day.
Current Tours Available (see below for details): Okapi, Hooves & Horns, African Spur-thighed Tortoise, Animal Ambassadors Experience
All tours are guided walking tours. Please read the safety information specific to each program on the ticketing purchase page. Prices of tours do not include admission into the zoo. You may purchase zoo tickets online. Members get in free with a current membership, but must reserve their tickets. We recommend arriving at the zoo early to explore before your tour as we will not be visiting all areas of the zoo.
Tour Gift Certificates
Looking for an amazing gift? We now have gift certificates for Behind-the-Scenes Tours! You can purchase a gift certificate for a specific tour to send your lucky recipient on an exclusive zoo adventure. Can’t decide on the perfect tour? Purchase a gift certificate for any amount instead to let your recipient choose which tour they’d like to do.
When you fill out and send the attached form, you will be contacted by a tour specialist to pay over the phone and customize your gift certificate. Your recipient will need to call to redeem their gift and schedule their tour. Please make sure that your recipient meets all of the requirements for the tour you intend to gift! Requirements for each tour can be found in the tour description. Tour gift certificate requests may take up to four days to process.
Come and meet some of the newest additions to Sacramento Zoo – okapi! Venture behind the scenes to view our new okapi barn and in keeper-only areas around the exhibit where you can come nose-to-nose with one of our males and even have a chance to hand-feed them! Learn about what it takes to care for these mysterious animals and what life is like for their wild counterparts.
- Daily at 9:30 am
- For ages 5 and older*
- 45 to 60 minutes
- $200 per person
hooves and Horns
The animals roaming the savanna and forests of Africa are beautiful and fascinating creatures. This tour will take you behind the scenes of our hoofstock area to talk about the care and keeping of giraffes, zebras, and ostriches here at the zoo. You will get a guided tour of the area from a zoo expert. An exciting stop along the way will be with our Grevy’s zebra which is an endangered species. Come nose-to-beak with our new ostriches and feed them a snack! See how you measure up next to a giraffe. This is a tour you will not soon forget!
- Daily at 10:45 am
- 45 to 60 minutes
- For ages 3 and older*
- $65 per person
AFRICAN SPUR-THIGHED TORTOISE
Come face-to-face with some of our largest reptiles here at the zoo – the spur-thighed tortoises! This tour will take you into the tortoise exhibit right next to the giraffe yard to meet these friendly giants. You will get to feel their tough shells and even offer them a snack if they are hungry!
- Daily at 1:00 pm
- For ages 5 and older*
- 30 minutes
- $45 per person
Tour may be cancelled in inclement weather
Animal ambassadors experience
Looking for a personal animal experience when you visit the zoo? Whether you are a mammal, bird or reptile person we have a fun, interactive encounter for you! You will get the zoo’s animal amphitheater all to yourself while you get your up-close and personal experience with some of our beloved animal ambassadors. Help with a training session, feed them a snack, give them a bath or even give them some friendly scratches. And of course, you will get to take pictures with your new furry, feathered or scaly friends!
- Daily at 10 am to 3 pm on the hour
(10 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 2 pm & 3 pm)
- For ages 2 and older
- $45 per person
- 20 minutes with two animals from our available list below
- Mammals: Hedgehog, tenrec
- Reptiles: Desert tortoise, pancake tortoise, box turtle, spiny-tailed lizard, skink, California king snake, mountain king snake, gopher snake, Colombian boa or sand boa
- Birds: Blue and gold macaw, thick-billed parrot, eclectus parrot, burrowing owl, great horned owl, Harris hawk or Kookaburra
*Same day available not guaranteed, prefer at least 24-hour advance notice
*For additional time and/or animals please contact the Interpretive Center at 916-808-5884 or via email
*This experience does not go behind the scenes of any area
Come celebrate a conservation success story with the American alligator! Explore the different personalities of the alligators, walk along the alligator deck, and even participate in a feeding session with the keepers! End your swamp tour with an interaction with Ronnie, our baby alligator ambassador!
This tour is seasonal, weather-dependent and currently unavailable for online bookings. Contact the Education department to inquire about availability.
Currently the best days to view the large alligators eating are Monday and Thursday.
- Daily at 1:50 pm
- For ages 5 and older*
- 45 to 60 minutes
- $120 per person
Seasonal: Check back next Spring!
Important tour information
Animal welfare is our first priority and all Behind-the-Scenes Tours are dependent on animal participation. If any tour needs to be cancelled based on animal needs, you will be issued a full refund or offered another tour option if available.
- Any program involving our resident animals is subject to change or cancellation based on the animal’s needs. However, every effort will be made to offer alternate areas or reschedule experiences.
- Closed-toe shoes are highly recommended for all tours but required on African spur-thigh tortoise tour. Some surfaces in behind-the-scenes animal and keeper areas may be wet or uneven, and you may be walking through a variety of substrate such as dirt, pebbles or bark chips. For animal health and safety, you may be asked to dip the soles of your shoes into a cleansing solution before entering behind-the-scenes area.
- All tours require guests and staff to wear PPE (personal protective equipment). This is to protect the animals, staff and guests during the tour. Some diseases can be spread between humans and certain animal species. Face masks are required to be worn for the entire duration of the tour. Gloves will be required for any feeding or touching of animals (will be provided by your guide).
- If you have had a cold, flu, fever, fatigue, dry cough or difficult breathing in the past two weeks, please let staff know. Some tours will need to be rescheduled due to potential interference in animal safety.
- Tours have a maximum number of guests: four or six people from the same household, depending on the tour. If you would like to have more guests then the maximum allowed, please contact the Education department.
- *Age requirements are set for safety during the tour. However, any child under the age of 1 year is welcome to join for free as long as they are secured in a wrap or carrier on an adult. Please note that any loud noises may startle the animals making them less likely to participate.
Behind-the-Scenes Tours are a guided walking experience. Some tours require guests to walk long distances, over uneven terrain, up elevations or through tight spaces. Certain encounters are accessible for guests using wheelchairs; these include Hooves & Horns and Okapi. Please advise staff of any disabilities, special needs, medical conditions or any other concerns you may have that could prevent you from fully participating in the experience.
- Service animals are not permitted on any Behind-the-Scenes Tours.
Behind-the-Scenes Tours will occur rain or shine. These tours are primarily outdoors; please dress for the weather and for walking during your tour. Tours will take place outdoors and on unpaved paths which may include walking through mud and puddles. If the Sacramento Zoo has to cancel tours due to extreme weather or animal needs, a full refund will be issued.
We love celebrating! Please contact the Education Department by email or call 916-808-5884. We can give you some options to make someone feel extra special during their tour! Thinking of proposing at the zoo? We can help with that too!
Some of our tour capacities are set for safety but others are more flexible. Please reach out to our Education department at 916-808-5884 to learn more about the guidelines for each tour and additional options for your group.
Allow plenty of time for parking and arrival. The zoo opens at 9 am and you are welcome to explore the zoo before and after your Behind-the-scenes Tour. Guests arriving five minutes or more past the scheduled start time will be unable to join the tour.
Parking is the same as for any other zoo visit. The zoo does not have designated parking. You may park in legal areas on the street throughout Land Park or in the lot across the street. Please allow extra time to find parking and make your way inside in order to make your tour on time.
Meet your tour host outside of the Member and Visitor Services Office by the lake five minutes before your scheduled start time.
No need to print your tickets. You may show proof of ticket on your phone or provide photo ID to match you to our registration records.
Your tour will take place throughout the zoo and in animal areas. Closed-toe shoes are highly recommended for all tours. Some surfaces in behind-the-scenes animal and keeper areas may be wet or uneven, and you may be walking through a variety of substrate such as dirt, pebbles or bark chips. For animal health and safety, you may be asked to dip the soles of your shoes into a cleansing solution before entering behind-the-scenes areas. Depending on your tour, you may be bending or reaching to feed or touch animals. Please dress comfortably.
Behind-the-Scenes Tours take place rain or shine. Please dress for the weather. Umbrellas are not allowed in some animal areas, so we recommend hooded rain jackets for inclement weather. If we have to cancel tours due to extreme weather or animal needs, a full refund will be issued.
- Children ages 3 and up are welcome on the Hooves and Horns tour. The Hooves and Horns Tour allows for two children to be accompanied by one adult.
- Children ages 5 and up are welcome on all other tours. All attendees under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a paid adult (in a 1:1 ratio).
- Children under the age of 1 are welcome to join on any tour as long as they are secured in a wrap or carrier on an adult.
Safety rules will be enforced at all times, and adults may be asked to carry or hold hands at all times with small children if the need arises. Due to uneven terrain and tight spaces, strollers are not permitted on the tours.
Changes and cancellations to tours, whether full-groups or individual tickets, must be submitted in writing seven days prior to the tour. There will be a $20 fee per original transaction to reschedule your tour within other available dates. Refunds will incur a $20 fee per original transaction as well and will be processed within two weeks.
Less than seven days before the tour, changes are not permitted, and payment is non-refundable.
The Sacramento Zoo reserves the right to cancel any tour due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather or animal needs. In these instances, the zoo would contact you to reschedule your tour or offer a refund.
Behind-the-Scenes Tours are a guided walking experience. Some tours require guests to walk long distances, over uneven terrain, up elevations or through tight spaces. Certain encounters are accessible for guests using wheelchairs; these include African Hoofstock and Okapi. Please advise if you require an accommodation in order to fully participate in the experience.
We want you to enjoy every minute of your behind-the-scenes tour. Photos are permitted throughout the tour and a few great photo ops will be available! Your tour guide is also available to take group shots or photos for you at certain points but you must provide your own camera.
All of our tours go into keeper and/or animal areas and guests are around or in contact with food, training items, etc. We are not a nut-free facility and have many different foods around for animal diets. Gloves are always available upon request. See specific allergy information below.
- Hooves and Horns: guests will be in contact with various plants and foods for animal feedings such as elm, acacia, carrots, celery, yams, romaine lettuce, and more. Guests will be exposed to animal dander.
Tours include small spaces, uneven terrain and animal areas. To keep you and your belongings safe and clean, we recommend not bringing large bags or any valuables on tours.
Unfortunately, we ask that you please leave your stroller behind due to space restrictions behind the scenes.
Contact the Education Department by phone at 916-808-5884, or when you arrive. They can answer your questions or put you in touch with the right people! If you are in contact with our tour staff directly, please give them time to get back to you. Most of their week is spent out of the office on tours!