Behind-the-Scenes Tours - Ultimate

The following tours and the Basic Tour and Premium Tour packages are for Platypus President’s Level members $7,500 level and above. Ultimate tours are non-transferable.

Botanical Wonders

An exclusive look at one of the most elaborate and extensive landscaping operations in Wisconsin. See firsthand how the garden beds, shrubs, hedges and topiaries are meticulously cultivated to evoke a sense of wonder. The designer's imagination is only the first step in a complex process that results in these extraordinary botanical backdrops. Tour limited to adults ages 18 and up.

Pachyderms Up Close & Personal – elephants, giraffe, hippos, rhinos

This tour will have three sections, each guided by an animal care staff expert for that section. The sections will include the giraffe, rhino, and elephant/hippo. The emphasis of the tour will be animal care and training methods and behind the scenes interactions with the animals. The staff will also discuss species conservation, unique animal adaptations, animal behavior, the individual animals, the animal care facilities, and the interactions between the staff and the animals. Tour limited to (6) adults ages 18 and up.

Highlights include:

  • Operant conditioning workshop – the guests will learn first-hand how animal behavior can be shaped by positive reinforcement and conditioning by participating in being “trained” by a staff member, and then actually using these techniques to “train” others. 
  • Introduction to animal enrichment – the guests will participate in preparing and offering enrichment items for the animals and then observing the animal’s reactions to the items.
  • Animal care – guests will get up close and personal (under strictly controlled and safe conditions) to feed the hippos, touch a rhino during a mud-bath session, hand feed giraffe, and watch an elephant training session. 
  • Animal facilities – Demonstrations will be given on the use of the facilities for animal care, including the head chute for rhino blood collection and the chute for giraffe handling. 

Penguin Encounter

This tour will be guided by one of our expert penguin care staff members with emphasis on all aspects of penguin husbandry and care. It includes monitoring behavior, feeding, veterinary care, facilities operation and cleaning, training sessions, enrichment activities, propagation, public education, collaborative programs with other institutions, penguin research, and species conservation efforts. The tour will also include a tour of the Herb and Nada Mahler Family Aviary and off-exhibit areas. Tour limited to (4) adults ages 18 and up.

Highlights include:

  • Learn first-hand the individual quirks and variations of penguins from the people that care for them.
  • Hand-feed fish to a colony of penguins.
  • Participate in sessions designed to enrich the penguins’ lives

Predators and Prey

This tour will be led by the members of the animal care staff who specialize in the featured areas of the tour. Guests will receive an in-depth and up-close look at the larger predators and prey species at the Zoo, including large cats, bears, seals, wolves, moose, African antelope, and South American mammals. Guests will learn about the species, the individual animals at the Zoo, and their care. Tour limited to (6) adults ages 18 and up.

Highlights include:

  • Observe zookeeper encounters with the wolves.
  • Observe a training session with harbor seals.
  • Tour behind-the-scenes facilities for African and South American animals.
  • Tour behind-the-scenes at the bear dens.
  • Meet the large cats behind-the-scenes.
  • Decorate a boomer ball for a large cat to play with. 

Other Platypus Circle Behind-the-Scenes Tours:

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