Behind-the-Scenes Tours

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Behind-the-Scenes Tours

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.

Current Tours Available (see below for details):  Meerkats, Okapi, Dinosaurs, African Spur-thighed Tortoise, Hooves and Horns, Reptile House, Feathered Friends, Snow Leopard, Choose-Your-Own-Adventure

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.

Available tours

Three meerkats



There’s a new mob in town: come meet the meerkats at the Sacramento Zoo! This once-in-a-lifetime tour invites you to learn about meerkats from a zoo educator, see them up close and then meet one of our talented zookeepers for an experience you won’t forget! They will take you behind the scenes to see how we care for the animals here at the zoo and then into the exhibit during meerkat snack time! You’ll be in the middle of the mob while they run all around looking for food!

  • For ages 18 and older*
  • 45 to 60 minutes
  • $100 per person
  • This tour will require you to wear gloves and a medical mask (provided)

Register for the Meerkat Tour





Come and meet some of the newest additions to Sacramento Zoo – okapi! Venture behind the scenes in our brand-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.

  • Fridays, Saturdays: 2:30 pm
  • For ages 5 and older*
  • 45 to 60 minutes
  • $200 per person

Register for the Okapi Tour


blue-tongued skink



Take a trip back in time to learn about the amazing dinosaurs currently residing at the Sacramento Zoo! This tour will take you on an expedition around the zoo to find all of our new dino residents. Your guide will teach you about each species of dinosaur and you will have the chance for an exclusive photo op along the way. End your tour with a private meet-and-greet with some Animal Ambassadors and discover what they have in common with dinosaurs!

  • Select Wednesdays, Thursdays: 10 am & 3 pm /
    Fridays, Saturdays, select Sundays: 3 pm
  • No age requirements
  • 45 to 60 minutes
  • $45 per person

Register for the Dinosaur tour


Eastern Bongo

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!

  • Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, select Sundays: 11 am
  • 45 to 60 minutes 
  • For ages 3 and older*
  • $65 per person

Register for the Hooves and horns Tour



Reptile House

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

Register for the Reptile House Tour


Red-Billed Hornbill

Feathered Friends

Calling all bird lovers! This exciting tour will take you all over the zoo to learn about some of our favorite feathered residents! This program includes a guided tour of some of the birds that call the zoo home. You’ll have the chance to ask all the questions you have ever had about them! Your tour will start in the kitchen where you will meet up with one of our talented bird keepers and learn about the animals’ diets. You will then accompany them for afternoon feed-out, assisting with the feeding of multiple species, even going into some of the exhibits with the birds – a true opportunity to get up close!

  • Saturdays: 1:30 pm
  • For ages 5 and older*
  • 60 minutes
  • $100 per person

Register for the Feathered Friends tour


Snow Leopard Misha

Snow Leopard

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

Register for the Snow Leopard Tour


Red Panda

Choose-your-own-adventure Option

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

Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Request Form


Snow leopard with painted cardboard box enrichment

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.




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. 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.
  • 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 a private tour, please fill out the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure form or 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, Reptile House, Snow Leopard 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.

Please note:

  • 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.


BTS Tour Quick Links

Release of Liability Form
Cancellation Form
Tour Date Transfer Form