Have you ever wondered what it is like to hand-feed a bongo, prepare enrichment toys for our animals or help feed a snow leopard? Now is your chance! The Behind-the-Scenes Tour program take 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.
All tours are guided walking tours. Please read the safety information specific to each program on the ticketing purchase page. Zoo admission is not included. We recommend arriving at the zoo early to explore before your tour as we will not be visiting all areas of the zoo.
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 bongos here at the zoo. You will get a guided tour of the area from a zoo expert. The most exciting stop along the way will be with an eastern bongo, a Critically Endangered species. Come nose to nose with a member of our bongo herd and get the chance to hand-feed this amazing animal! This is a tour you will not soon forget!
- Thursdays: 11 am / Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays: 11 am, 1:15 pm
- 45 to 60 minutes
- For ages 3 and older*
- $65 per person
Calling all lovers of lizards, snakes and frogs! This tour will take you behind the scenes of our reptile house! From antivenin to turtle hatchlings and everything in between, you will learn about everything it takes to care for reptiles, amphibians and more! You will end your tour with a meet-and-greet with one of the reptile keepers and have the chance to meet one of our larger reptiles up close!
- Thursdays: 1:30 pm / Saturdays: 10:15 am
- 45 minutes
- For ages 5 and older*
- $75 per person
Snow leopards are beautiful, fascinating and often elusive creatures. This tour includes learning about these animals and hearing about the quirks and personalities of each of the three snow leopards. Your guide will then take you behind the scenes to meet with a zookeeper to see one of the adult snow leopards up close and learn all it takes to care for them. You will end with an experience you will never forget: seeing a training session up close and possibly even getting a chance to assist with feeding one of the cats!
- Thursdays: 2:30 pm
- For ages 5 and older*
- 60 minutes
- $300 per person
Here is your chance to work with our staff to create the tour of the zoo you have always wanted! Tell us which animals you love, what you want to learn about or how you want to celebrate a special occasion! This tour will include stops behind the scenes with at least two animals. We will design the tour especially with your interests and group size in mind. These tours must be scheduled at least three weeks out. We can’t wait to create the perfect experience for your group!
- Scheduled and designed especially for you!
- For ages 5 and older*
- Prices start at $150 per person
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 must be worn on all tours. 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.
- Some tours require guests and staff to wear PPE (personal protective equipment) including masks and gloves when in animal areas. This is to protect everyone as some diseases can be spread between humans and certain animal species.
- If you have had a cold or flu within the last 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 (up to six people, depending on the tour). If you do not have the maximum number of guests in your party, you may be joined by others. If you would prefer to buy all tickets to the tour for a private experience, 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 African Hoofstock and Reptile House. 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.
- Snow leopard tours are not recommended for people with allergies to cats.
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.
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 always required. Depending on the tour, you may do a lot of walking on a variety of terrain types, 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, and children ages 5 and up are welcome on all other tours. Children under the age of 1 are welcome to join as long as they are secured in a wrap or carrier on an adult. All attendees under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a paid adult (in a 1:1 ratio). The Hooves and Horns Tour allows for two children to be accompanied by one 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 Reptile House. Please advise if you require an accommodation in order to fully participate in the experience.
If there are still tickets available on your tour, you may purchase them through the Membership office up to 30 minutes before the tour. We cannot make any exceptions to maximum tour capacity. If you would like to plan a private tour for a specific group, please see our Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Tour option.
We want you to enjoy every minute of your behind-the-scenes tour. While photos are permitted, we encourage you to keep your phones/cameras packed away. Your guide will be sure to alert you to unique photo opportunities during your tour. Enjoy!
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.