Behind-the-Scenes Tours - Basic
These tours are for Platypus members at the $500-$2,499 level. These tours are transferable.
Apes, Primates and Pachyderms
Venture behind the scenes in the Stearns Family Apes of Africa Pavilion and Primates of the World building, which are home to western lowland gorillas, bonobos, orangutans, and mandrills. Tour the keeper work area that leads to the bonobo and gorilla exhibits, the apes’ food-preparation area, and the mandrill holding and service facilities. Then, travel to the pachyderm area to explore and experience the indoor animal-care facilities of the elephants, rhinoceroses, giraffes and hippos. Tour limited to adults and children ages 10 and up.
ARC and Winter Quarters Encounter
This tour provides a unique encounter at our Aquatic & Reptile Center, where you’ll explore marine exhibits, learn about life-support systems and have an opportunity to feed the pacu and Onassis, our giant, Amazon river turtle. You’ll then travel to Winter Quarters and venture underground to see where zebra, antelope, tapirs and other animals reside during the winter. Your tour will also travel to the Commissary, which serves as the storage and distribution area for all of the animal food. This tour ends with a visit to the steam-engine and train service area and the Zoo’s greenhouses, operated by our horticulture staff. Tour limited to adults and children ages 10 and up.
Behind the Magic of our Trains
This tour grants railroad enthusiasts a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch as the Zoo’s train crew prepares the steam trains for their daily operation. During this tour you’ll accompany the railroad engineers as they ready the steam and diesel trains, see where the trains are stored and serviced, and ride the rails around the Zoo. This tour is only available at 8:30 a.m. for approximately 1 hour. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Explore the largest to the smallest species in the world’s family of cats. Go behind the scenes to view the dens in Florence Mila Borchert Big Cat Country and discover how the Zoo staff safely cares for the largest cat species. This tour also includes access to the feline kitchen area to learn the science behind the cats’ fascinating diets, their feeding schedule, and the enrichment items they enjoy. Next, you will travel to the Small Mammals Building where you will meet and learn about the unique behaviors of the smallest cat species, the black-footed cat. Access to the food preparation area is also included where you’ll see the different foods that complete the animals’ diets and the enrichment items they enjoy. Tour limited to adults and children ages 10 and up.
North America Voyage
During this North American tour, you’ll check out the behind-the-scenes quarters for the bears, Moose Barn, east Elk barn and the hidden areas of the Wolf Woods Exhibit. A special up-close-and-personal experience may also be available in the Moose Barn as you explore the feed doors.
During this two-hour, entertaining and educational tour, you will venture to approved off-exhibit areas that you are able to personally select. Learn how we take care of our animals and how the keepers do what they do. This tour is available for up to six people and can accommodate all ages.
- Wolf Woods
- Aquatic & Reptile Center
- Winter Quarters
- Northwestern Mutual Family Farm
Zoo Library and Poetry Tour
Established in 1988, our Library is centrally located and houses information on animal nutrition and management, zoological science and zoo administration. View the animal-themed artwork, veterinary journals, and historical archives housed there. Afterward, tour the Zoo in a private golf cart to see nearly 60 poems that are creatively displayed throughout the grounds as a way to blend the beauty of poetry with the importance of conservation. It’s a fascinating approach to exploring the Zoo, landscapes and animals.