IN-PERSON 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, or meet an almost-century old tortoise. See a tapir in close proximity, 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.

Funds raised from behind the scenes tours helps to support the Zoos’ animal care internship program. This program offers participants unique and specialized training, giving them the experience necessary to become the animal care experts of the future. The Zoo Keeper internship program is open to local and national participants and runs year-round.

All tours include park admission.

Space is limited. Two week advance reservations are required — remember to confirm your reservation prior to your tour day. All guests are required to wear masks and use hand sanitizer before encounters. Guests should also maintain six feet of distance from staff when they are behind the scenes.

* 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. 

  • African Lion

    Currently Unavailable

    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 Mramba and Emery!

    Cost:

    • Family of 4: $300 non-members, $250 members

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

    • Additional adult: $60

    • Additional child: $40

    Guidelines: Children must be at least 8 years of age, with at least one adult accompanying each child under 12.

    Max persons allowed on tour: 5 guests

  • 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 4: $250 non-members, $200 members

    • Friends of 2: $150 non-members, $100 member

    • Additional adult: $50

    • Additional child: $30

    Max persons allowed on tour: 4 guests

  • 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 bison, Lily! 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 4: $250 non-members, $200 members

    • Friends of 2: $150 non-members, $100 members

    • Additional adult: $50

    • Additional child: $30

    Max persons allowed on tour: 6 guests

  • 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 and Luther. Did you know that tapirs are most closely related to rhinos and horses? Learn more on a tapir tour!

    Cost:

    • Family of 4: $300 non-members, $250 members

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

    • Additional adult: $60

    • Additional child: $40

    Max persons allowed on tour: 4 guests

  • 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, Kylie, Noelle, Teddy Acacia or Tiana some of their daily diet – no ladders necessary!

    Cost:

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

    • Additional adult: $60

    • Additional child: $40

    Max persons allowed on tour: 3 guests

  • Moon Bear

    Daily at 9:30 am or 2 pm

    On this tour, guests will have the opportunity to get a closer look at the Moon Bear! 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 our Moon Bear Chai.

    Cost:

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

    Max persons allowed on tour: 2 guests

  • 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:

    • Friends of 2: $150 non-members, $100 members

    Max persons allowed on tour: 2 guests

  • Sun Bear

    Currently Unavailable

    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. 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 4: $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 one of the Zoo’s sloths! Learn more about these creatures, their conservation status and meet the Zoo staff who take care of them. 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 4: $300 non-members, $250 members

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

    • Additional adult: $60

    • Additional child: $40

    Max persons allowed on tour: 4 guests

  • 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 4: $300 non-members, $250 members

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

    • Additional adult: $60

    • Additional child: $40

    Max persons allowed on tour: 6 guests

  • Leopard Gecko

    World of Reptiles

    Currently Unavailable

    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 4: $250 non-members, $200 members

    • Friends of 2: $150 non-members, $100 members

    • Additional adult: $50

    • Additional child: $30

    Max persons allowed on tour: 5 guests

  • Train Engineer for a Day

    Currently unavailable

    All aboard and become a Norfolk Southern Express engineer! Get a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to be a part of a top Virginia Zoo attraction. As the Train Engineer of the Day, you will receive an honorary train engineer license, five FREE train rides to use throughout the year, the opportunity to work alongside the Norfolk Southern Express engineer as they conduct safety checks and morning maintenance, train whistle blowing privileges for the morning’s first departure, announcement of name over the PA system as Engineer for the Day, an engineer’s cap, bandana and train whistle, recognition at the Beazley Foundation Train Station as the Engineer of the Day, a certificate as a reminder of your special day, and admission for engineer and one guest. Additional guests may be added for additional cost.

    Cost:

    • Members: $89

    • Non-members: $99

    Read more HERE.