Behind-the-Scenes Tours

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Behind-the-Scenes Tours

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 a dinosaur? 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, Bird Experience, Expedition Dinosaur, and 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 include admission into the zoo. For members, tours will be discounted $21 only for the number of individuals that would be covered by your membership level. Members must be signed in to receive member discount. Discounts are reflected after you click “Add to Cart”. We recommend arriving at the zoo early to explore before your tour as we will not be visiting all areas of the zoo.

Interested in booking a tour further out than the available dates? Contact the Education department at 916-808-8441 or by email.

Available tours

forest the okapi


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*, 1:2 parent child ratio
  • 45 to 60 minutes
  • $200 per person member*
  • $221 per person non-member (includes zoo admission)

Register for the okapi tour

*For members, tours will be discounted $21 only for the number of individuals that would be covered by their membership level.

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 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*, 1:2 parent child ratio
  • $65 per person member*
  • $86 per person non-member (includes zoo admission)

Register for the Hooves and Horns Tour

*For members, tours will be discounted $21 only for the number of individuals that would be covered by their membership level.

bird experience

Bird Experience

Calling all bird lovers! This tour will get you up close to some of our favorite feathered friends. You will start in the amphitheater where you’ll get a meet and greet with two bird ambassadors and learn what is takes to keep these beautiful birds happy and healthy. Next you will find out what our birds of prey eat and help prepare their diet. After that you will head to our outside bird housing where you’ll see our birds get excited for the meal you are about to feed them. This is an opportunity you don’t want to miss!

  • Daily at 2:00 pm
  • 45 – 60 minutes
  • $65 per person members*
  • $86 per person non-members (includes zoo admission)
  • Ages 8 and up, 1:2 parent child ratio
  • 4 guests max

Register for the Bird Experience Tour

*For members, tours will be discounted $21 only for the number of individuals that would be covered by their membership level.

collage of photos of CA king snake, hedgehog, and burrowing owl from behind the scene tours

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 10:00 am, 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm
  • For ages 2 and older, 1:2 parent child ratio
  • $45 per person member*
  • $66 per person non-member (includes zoo admission)
  • 20 minutes with two animals
    • Mammals: Hedgehog, tenrec, or armadillo
    • 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, great horned owl, or Kookaburra


Want to see more animals? We have a 45 minute tour with four animals available ($65 for members, $86 for non-members). Contact the Education Department to schedule.

*Same day available not guaranteed, prefer at least 24-hour advance notice
*For additional times and/or animals please contact the Education Department at 916-808-8441 or via email.
*This experience does not go behind the scenes of any area
*For members, tours will be discounted $21 only for the number of individuals that would be covered by their membership level.


ronnie the alligator from animal ambassador behind the scene tours

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 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 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, Animal Ambassadors, 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