Utica Zoo Animal Encounters

Have you ever wanted to get up close and personal with some of the animals at the Utica Zoo? With our Animal Encounter packages, you can now make your Zoo visit extraordinary!

A visitor throws fish to a California Sea Lion at the Utica Zoo during an animal encounter.

  • African Lions: Go inside the Lions Den for a behind the scenes look at our three African Lions. See how our keepers use specialized training to feed and keep the big cats healthy and happy! No personal cameras are allowed. $1,000 total for up to 5 people, and zoo admission is included. ($750 of the $1,000 is a tax-deductible donation). One African Lion encounter is offered per week.
  • California Sea Lions: Go behind the scenes to visit our California Sea Lions and get your questions answered by their keeper. Feed them their favorite fish and learn to how to give them commands just like our Zoo Keepers! Bring your camera. $250 total for up to 5 people, and zoo admission is included. Only one sea lion encounter is offered per week.
  • Red Pandas: Go on exhibit with our Red Pandas to hand feed them their favorite treat! Have all of your questions answered by one of our Zoo Keepers. Bring your camera. $180 total for up to two people age 12+, and zoo admission is included. Encounter usually lasts 20 to 30 minutes.  Only two red panda encounters are offered per week via the Species Survival Plan. This is our most popular encounter! 2017 is fully booked. We can add you to a waiting list for 2018 and will notify you when scheduling begins. Scheduling Red Panda encounters is dependent upon the animal care schedule and the requirements of the Species Survival Plan. We thank you for your patience and interest in the Utica Zoo’s Red Pandas.
  • Camels: Get extra close to feed Najla her favorite treats. You’ll be impressed by how large a Bactrian Camel is! Bring your camera. $75 total for up 5 people, and zoo admission is included.
  • Goats: Be on exhibit with our Nigerian Dwarf Goats as you go behind the fence to get up close and personal. Bring your camera. $40 total for up to 5 people, and zoo admission is included.

Email encounters@uticazoo.org for availability and booking. Must book at least one week in advance and place a deposit. Deposit is non-refundable.

Please Note: Red Panda Encounters are fully booked for 2017.

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Utica Zoo visitor feeds a Red Panda during an Animal Encounter.