Animal Experiences

Looking for a gift to ‘WOW’ a special someone?  Need a ‘Knock Your Socks Off’ gift for a client, loved one or even to celebrate a special occasion? We’ve got you covered!

Go behind the scenes of a favorite animal exhibit and meet them up close and personal.  Visit with the Zoo Keeper who knows them best and learn about their home, daily activities and what it takes to keep each one healthy and happy.

To reserve your Animal Experience, first check out the animals listed below and choose your favorite.  Click the animal link to get more information on what to expect during the experience, since each animal is different.  Then contact Jen Rostar at jrostar@ingham.org to schedule your visit.  Provide up to three date preferences for your experience and make sure to get final confirmation a minimum of two weeks before your visit.

Big Cats

Your Experience

Your experience will begin in the auditorium of the Feline/Primate building where a zookeeper will meet you for a short keeper chat with details of the day to day care of our large cats.  Feel free to ask any questions you may have regarding our big cats and their habitats.

Then, following the keepers lead you will go behind the scenes deeper into the exhibit.  Once there, from a very up-close location, you will watch the zookeeper guide the cat through a series of behaviors during a training session.  These behaviors are designed to aide with the husbandry and veterinary care of the cats.

If you have chosen the Level II experience you will also choose paint colors for your one-of-a-kind painting to be created by your big cat.

Things To Know

  • The experience lasts approximately 25 minutes.
  • In order to ensure a close encounter 2-3 people is an ideal group size for the cat experiences. However 1-2 additional people could be accommodated with limited viewing.
  • The goal of this experience is to allow you to be in close proximity to a large cat. Keeping this in mind, safety is our first priority.  The keeper will brief you on proper protocol prior to entering the behind the scenes area.
  • We ask that all photos be taken without use of a flash and only when a Zoo Keeper allows.

Cost

Level 1 $250 – includes the experience and zoo admission for up to 5 guests

Level 2 $350 – includes the experience, a one-of-a-kind painting created by the big cat and zoo admission for up to 5 guests

Otters

Your Experience

Your experience with our North American River Otters will begin with a tour behind the scenes of the

otter exhibit.  You will have a chance to talk with the zookeeper and ask any questions you may have about these playful animals.  This experience provides the opportunity to see the otters up close, watch the keepers feed the otters and use tongs to feed an otter a piece of fish yourself; which is an experience you are not likely to forget!

If you have chosen the Level II experience you will also enjoy watching the keepers engage the otters in a training session.  One of the behaviors the otters will demonstrate in the training session results in the otters ‘painting’ an original piece of artwork.  The painting is a one-of-a-kind creation and is yours to keep!

Things To Know

  • The experience lasts approximately 25 minutes.
  • This experience can accommodate up to 6 guests
  • The goal of this experience is to allow you to be in close proximity to the otters. Keeping this in mind, safety is our first priority.  The keeper will brief you on proper protocol prior to entering the behind the scenes area.
  • We ask that all photos be taken without use of a flash and only when a Zoo Keeper allows.

Cost

Level 1 $250 – includes the experience and zoo admission for up to 6 guests

Level 2 $350 – includes the experience, a one-of-a-kind painting created by the otters and zoo admission for up to 6 guests

Rhino

Currently unavailable while rhino introductions continue. Thank you for your understanding! 

Your Experience

Your experience will begin in the rhino barn where a zookeeper will meet you for a tour of the exhibit and a brief chat about the day to day care of our rhinos. Feel free to ask any questions you may have regarding these beautiful animals and their habitats.

Then, following the keepers lead you will go deeper into the exhibit. Once there, you will get to see one of our rhinos from a very close-up location. You’ll be close enough to see the fine hairs on their ears, the texture of their skin, and you may even be invited to touch the rhino or feed them a snack! Keep in mind this will be entirely up to the discretion of the zoo keeper and the rhino itself. This is an amazing experience and one you will not soon forget!

 

Things To Know

  • The experience lasts approximately 25 minutes.
  • This experience can accommodate up to 6 guests.
  • The goal of this experience is to allow you to be in close proximity to the rhino. Keeping this in mind, safety is our first priority. The keeper will brief you on proper protocol prior to entering the behind the scenes area.
  • We ask that all photos be taken without use of a flash and photos are never shared or posted on any type of social media.

Cost

$250 – includes the experience and zoo admission for up to 6 guests

Penguins

Your Experience

You will begin your experience by entering the penguin exhibit with a zoo keeper. The keeper will give you a full tour of the exhibit, share some little known facts and answer any questions you may have about these lovable birds. When the keeper opens the nest boxes you will have the opportunity to be eye to eye with a penguin and with any luck one might get curious and come in to waddle around your feet.

If you have chosen the Level II experience, two guests will then go out and sit pool-side and participate in hand feeding the penguins. Since the penguins are the only animal in the zoo that are hand fed on a daily basis, this is a very rare and special experience!

Things To Know

  • Level I lasts approximately 20 minutes and can accommodate up to 4 guests
  • Level II lasts an additional 25 minutes and can accommodate up to 2 guests
  • If you choose the Level II experience please be prepared to bend or stoop to use a ‘penguin’ size door to access the pools. If you have limited mobility please contact us to get more information.
  • The goal of this experience is to allow you to be in close proximity to the penguins. Keeping this in mind, safety is our first priority. The keeper will brief you on proper protocol prior to entering the behind the scenes area.
  • We ask that all photos be taken without use of a flash and only when a Zoo Keeper allows.

Cost

Level I $250 – includes the experience and zoo admission for up to 4 guests

Level II $350 – includes the experience and zoo admission for up to 2 guests

Other Experiences

We also offer animal experiences with our Alaskan Moose! Please contact us for additional information.

Want to combine your experience with a wedding proposal or larger event.  We can do that too!   Ask how by calling 517-342-2709.