BEHIND-THE-SCENES TOURS

Learn about animal care, behavior and conservation on an up-close and personal behind the scenes tour! Be introduced to a Zoo Keeper who can share information about the animals they care for as only they know them! Meet our rhinos, stand tall with the giraffes, roar with the lions, meet an almost-century old tortoise, slither with some reptiles, or encounter wallabies and emus! See a tapir in close proximity, watch a sun bear or moon bear during a training session, set up enrichment for a Red River hog, learn more about the bison or chill with a sloth! The Virginia Zoo offers you once in a lifetime animal tours filled with memorable experiences and fascinating information. Each tour is certain to cross off that item on your bucket list, as it will offer you and your family or friends the breathtaking experience of seeing the world’s most dramatic wildlife.

All tours include park admission.

Space is limited.  Two week advance reservations are required — remember to confirm your reservation prior to your tour day.

Call 757.441.2374, ext. 222 or email to schedule your tour.

Fill out the form below to request more information about behind-the-scenes experiences.

* The animals have specialized diets, so please avoid bringing any human food or beverages into animal areas or, if needed, keep them unopened and tucked away in a bag held by an adult. You can help keep the animals safe by having parents or guardians hold on to any toys or items that could fall into animal areas. Tour activities are dependent upon each animal’s cooperation. 

TOURS OFFERED

Aldabra Tortoise

Daily at 9:30 am

On this tour, guests will have the opportunity to get up-close with these slow-moving reptile giants inside their exhibit! Learn more about these impressive animals, their conservation status, and what it takes to care for them from Zoo Keepers. Guests will get a chance to meet AJ, the Zoo’s largest and oldest Aldabra tortoise!

Cost:

• Family of 5: $250 non-members,

$200 members

• Friends of 2: $150 non-members,

$100 member

• Additional adult: $50

• Additional child: $30

Australia

Daily at 2 pm; seasonal due to breeding

On this tour, guests will have the opportunity to hop on over and get a closer look at the animals inside the Australia Walkabout exhibit, including wallabies and emus! Learn more about these incredible animals, their conservation status, and what it takes to care for them from Zoo Keepers. Guests will also get a closer look at the colorful cassowaries adjacent to the Australia Walkabout!

Cost:

• Family of 5: $250 non-members,

   $200 members

• Friends of 2: $150 non-members,

   $100 members

• Additional adult: $50

• Additional child: $30

Bison

Daily at 10 am

On this tour, guests will have the opportunity to go behind the scenes to get a closer look at our two bison, Lily and Oakley! Learn more about these amazing animals, their conservation status, and what it takes to care for them from Zoo Keepers. This tour is a great way to meet and honor our National Mammal!

Cost:

• Family of 5: $250 non-members,

   $200 members

• Friends of 2: $150 non-members,

   $100 members

• Additional adult: $50

• Additional child: $30

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Masai Giraffe

Daily at 2 pm

On this tour, guests will have the opportunity to get up-close with these graceful giants! Learn more about these amazing animals, their conservation status, and what it takes to care for them from Zoo Keepers. Guests will also get the chance to offer giraffes Billy, Imara or Noelly some of their daily diet – no ladders necessary!

Cost:

• Family of 5: $300 non-members,

   $250 members

• Friends of 2: $200 non-members,

   $150 members

• Additional adult: $60

• Additional child: $40

African Lion

Daily at 9:30 am

On this tour, guests will have the opportunity to get a closer look at the Zoo’s pride of African lions! Learn more about these incredible big cats, their conservation status, and what it takes to care for them from Zoo Keepers. Guests will get the chance to go behind-the-scenes and see dad Mramba, mom Zola, and (growing) cub Emery!

Cost:

• Family of 5: $300 non-members,

   $250 members

• Friends of 2: $200 non-members,

   $150 members

• Additional adult: $60

• Additional child: $40

Guidelines: A maximum of 5 guests per tour. Every 2 children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Moon Bear

Daily at 9:30 am

On this tour, guests will have the opportunity to get a closer look at the Moon Bears! Learn more about these amazing animals, their conservation status, and what it takes to care for them from Zoo Keepers. Guests will get the chance to go behind-the-scenes and see a training or enrichment session up close with one of our Moon Bear brothers, Thai or Chai.

Cost:

• Family of 5: $300 non-members, $250 members

• Friends of 2: $200 non-members, $150 members

• Additional adult: $60

• Additional child: $40

Guidelines: A maximum of 5 guests per tour. Every 2 children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Red River Hog

Daily at 9:30 am

On this tour, guests will have the opportunity to get a closer look at the incredible Red River hog! Learn more about these amazing animals, their conservation status, and what it takes to care for them from Zoo Keepers. Guests will get the chance to go behind the scenes and see a training or enrichment session up close with Oboi, our male Red River hog. Come meet one of the most charismatic and brightly colored wild hog species!

Cost:

• Family of 5: $250 non-members,

$200 members

• Friends of 2: $150 non-members,

$100 members

• Additional adult: $50

• Additional child: $30

Guidelines: A maximum of 8 guests can enter the red river hog area at a time; please inquire about larger groups.

White Rhino

Daily at 2 pm

On this tour, guests will have the opportunity to get up-close to one or more of our three rhinos! Learn more about Southern white rhinos, their conservation status, and what it takes to care for them from Zoo Keepers. Guests will get the chance to go behind the scenes and meet either Bora, Zina or Sibindi in person! Tours could be held inside their overnight barn or behind the scenes outdoors, depending on the weather. Come visit our rhino crash and experience meeting the world’s second-largest land mammal!

Cost:

• Family of 5: $300 non-members, $250 members

• Friends of 2: $200 non-members, $150 members

• Additional adult: $60

• Additional child: $40

Two-Toed Sloth

Daily at 9:30 am

On this tour, slow down and enjoy this private encounter with KC the sloth! Learn more about sloths, their conservation status, and what it takes to care for them from the Zoo staff that work with KC. Guests will have the chance to get up-close with one of the slower-moving animals on earth, so be sure to bring a camera to capture a priceless photo opportunity!

Cost:

• Family of 5: $300 non-members,

$250 members

• Friends of 2: $200 non-members,

$150 members

• Additional adult: $60

• Additional child: $40

Sun Bear

Daily at 9:30 am

On this tour, guests will get the opportunity to get a closer look at the smallest of bear species! Learn more about these incredible animals, their conservation status, and what it takes to care for them from Zoo Keepers. Guests will have the chance to go behind the scenes and see a sun bear up-close, with the potential to watch a training or enrichment session with our female sun bear Suntil. Keep your eyes out for the sun bear’s long tongue, which helps them reach honey and insects inside trees (or from a Zoo Keeper) easily!

Cost:

• Family of 5: $300 non-members,

   $250 members

• Friends of 2: $200 non-members,

   $150 members

• Additional adult: $60

• Additional child: $40

Guidelines: A maximum of 8 guests can enter the Sun bear area at a time; please inquire about larger groups.

Malayan Tapir

Daily at 9:30 am

On this tour, guests will get the opportunity to get a closer look at the largest of the tapir species, the Malayan tapir! Learn more about these amazing animals, their conservation status, and what it takes to care for them from Zoo Keepers. Guests will have the chance to go behind the scenes to see one or more of our tapirs up close, with the potential to watch a training or enrichment session with tapirs Rosco or Haddie. Did you know that tapirs are most closely related to rhinos and horses? Learn more on a tapir tour!

Cost:

• Family of 5: $300 non-members,

   $250 members

• Friends of 2: $200 non-members,

   $150 members

• Additional adult: $60

• Additional child: $40

Guidelines: A maximum of 10 guests can enter the tapir area at a time; please inquire about larger groups.

World of Reptiles

Daily at 9:30 am

Come face to face with reptile giants, watch hatching and newborn reptiles being nurtured and raised, and immerse yourself in a floor to ceiling marsh habitat of the Siamese crocodile.* Learn about animal care, behavior and conservation on an up-close and personal behind the scenes tour! Be introduced to a Zoo Keeper who can share information about the animals they care for as only they know them! *Specific animals seen on the tour will vary.

Cost:

• Family of 5: $250 non-members,

$200 members

• Friends of 2: $150 non-members,

$100 members

• Additional adult: $50

• Additional child: $30

Guidelines: A maximum of 5 guests per tour.

ARRANGE A TOUR

Space is limited.  Two week advance reservations are required — remember to confirm your reservation prior to your tour day.

Call 757.441.2374, ext. 222 or email to schedule your tour.

Fill out the form below to request more information about behind-the-scenes experiences.

Pre-payment is required to confirm your tour.

  • Behind-the-scenes tours are non-refundable; however, if it becomes necessary to reschedule your tour for another date, you may do so by calling 48 hours before the tour without incurring any additional charges.
  • Please note that we reserve the right to cancel a tour at any time to ensure the safety of our animals, staff and guests.  If this should happen, your tour will be rescheduled or you will receive a refund.
  • Closed-toe shoes are required — no open-toed shoes, including sandals, will be permitted in animal areas.
  • Please inquire about wheelchair and stroller accessibility on a specific tour.

REQUEST MORE INFORMATION

Request More Information

  • *Two week advance reservation is required, submission of this form is not confirmation of tour date.