Animal Encounters

NOTE: Each person in the encounter area must have their own ticket. Animal Encounters do not include admission to the Zoo.

Add an up-close and personal experience to your visit to the Zoo with one of our Animal Encounters! During these Animal Encounters, you’ll get to meet the animals and talk to their keepers for a unique experience.

Zoo Member discounts are available. Zoo Members must be logged in to the ticketing website for the discount to appear in their cart.

Please read all our “Reservation Policies” and “What to Expect” below. All participants must sign a Participant Liability Waiver when they get to the Zoo. You can read it in advance here: Participant Liability Waiver.

*Please note: Saturday encounters with Lily and her infant are sold out. We currently have a few openings for Wednesday at 3:30 pm encounters. Lenny our male will be offering encounters again soon. Thank you all so much! You've helped us expand our donation to two-toed sloth conservation, and we are so grateful for your generosity. 

For your Sloth Encounter you will only need one ticket. The purchase allows up to 6 people to attend the encounter. You will check-in at the Field Trip Entrance gate next to the admission building. During your Sloth Encounter, you'll have the opportunity to get up close to our Linne's two-toed sloth, in a special meet and greet in one of our Education classrooms.  Speak with Education staff about our sloth and the important role they play as an ambassador for their wild counterparts or have the opportunity to feed them  Zoo-approved diet (subject to participation). You can take photos as well. 

Please check in at the Field Trip Entrance 10 minutes prior to the encounter.

Encounter Day: Wednesdays by appointment.

Encounter Time:  3:30 p.m.

Group Encounter Cost: $400 per group of up to 6 people to meet Lily and her baby. 

Member Discount: 10%

Note: Zoo Members must be logged into their cart on the ticketing page to get the discount.

Age Restrictions: This Animal Encounter is for people ages 6 and up.

Safety Requirements:  This is not a touch encounter.

For questions please contact: education@potawatomizoo.org or (574) 235-9070

Buy Tickets Here

Rhino Encounters will return in Spring 2023.

Each person who participates in this encounter must have their own ticket.

At this Animal Encounter, you'll have the opportunity to get up close with Masamba, our southern white rhino, in a special meet and greet area at the front of his habitat. You'll also get to speak with animal care staff about Masamba and the important role he plays as an ambassador for his wild counterparts, plus learn how we take care of him all year long. You might even have the chance to touch Masamba and feel his tough rhino skin!

Only ticketed people will be allowed within the Animal Encounter area. Each encounter lasts approximately 20 minutes. Please contact the Zoo in advance at info@potawatomizoo.org if you have questions about accessibility.

Encounter Days: Every Saturday and Sunday (limited to 6 people each day)

Encounter Time: 11 a.m.

Individual Ticket Cost: $50 per person

Member Discount: 10%

Note: Zoo Members must be logged into their cart on the ticketing page to get the discount.

Age Restrictions: This Animal Encounter is for people ages 6 and up. Children under 14 must be accompanied by a ticketed adult over 18. Each person who participates must have a ticket. Non-ticketed people or strollers can't be in the encounter area but can wait on the Rhino Deck.

Buy Tickets Here

Otter Encounters will return in Spring 2023.

Each person who participates in this encounter must have their own ticket.

Frannie, Sam, Shadow, and Wildcat would love to show off their intelligence during a behind-the-scenes tour and training session. Watch our animal care staff train one or two of our otters. You can have the opportunity to feed them part of their Zoo-approved diet as well!

Only ticketed people will be allowed within the Animal Encounter area. Each encounter lasts approximately 20 minutes. This is not a touch encounter.

Encounter Days: Every Saturday and Sunday (limited to 6 people per day)

Encounter Time: 2 p.m.

Individual Ticket Cost: $35 per person

Member Discount: 10%

Note: Zoo Members must be logged into their cart on the ticketing page to get the discount.

Age Restrictions: This encounter is for people over age 2. Ticketed children under 14 must be accompanied by a ticketed adult over 18. Each person who participates must have a ticket. Babies 2 and under won't be able to wait in the encounter area. Strollers won't fit in the encounter area.

Buy Tickets Here

Bison Encounters will return in Spring 2023.

Each person who participates in this encounter must have their own ticket.

At this encounter, you'll have the opportunity to hand feed our American bison part of their Zoo-approved diet and talk to one of our zoo keepers about our nation's largest land mammal.

Only ticketed people will be allowed within the Animal Encounter area. Each encounter lasts approximately 20 minutes.

Encounter Days: Every Saturday and Sunday (limited to 6 people per day)

Encounter Time: 1 p.m.

Individual Ticket Cost: $20 per person

Member Discount: 10%

Note: Zoo Members must be logged into their cart on the ticketing page to get the discount.

Age Restrictions: Children under 14 must be accompanied by a ticketed adult over 18. Each person who participates must have a ticket. Non-ticketed people or strollers can't be in the encounter area but can wait on the other side of the fence.

Buy Tickets Here

We are no longer offering the Giraffe Encounter for 2022. Check back later to see what will be available in 2023!

woman meeting white rhino
  • Follow all instructions of Zoo staff. Participants who do not follow instructions will be asked to leave and will not receive a refund.
  • Each person in the Animal Encounter area must have a ticket and only ticketed people will be allowed to participate in the encounter. Non-ticketed people, strollers, wagons, etc., are not allowed in the Animal Encounter area.
  • Please be aware of your surroundings and other participants.
  • All participants or guardians of participants must sign a Participant Liability Waiver.
  • The Animal Encounter will take place rain or shine.
  • Refunds or reschedules will not be issued for no-shows.
  • We take the health and safety of our animals, guests, and staff seriously. If you feel sick, please don't attend the encounter.
  • These experiences last about 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Our animals participate voluntarily. We can’t guarantee any specific experience.
  • You can take photos and video during your Animal Encounter but please be aware of other people and your surroundings.
  • Clothes may get dirty during the encounter.
  • Hand sanitizer will be provided for guests before and after the Animal Encounter.
  • Each person who participates must have a ticket (see individual Animal Encounters for specific guidelines).
  • For Rhino, Otter, and Bison, participants must check in at the Attractions and Stroller Booth no later than 30 minutes before the scheduled Animal Encounter.
  • For Sloth, participants must check in at the Field Trip Entrance 10 minutes prior to Animal Encounter.
  • All participants or guardians of participants must sign a Participant Liability Waiver before they can participate in the encounter.
  • Refunds or reschedules will not be issued for no-shows. We will allow full refunds or reschedules made at least 48 hours before the scheduled Animal Encounter.
  • The Animal Encounter will take place rain or shine.
  • The Zoo will contact you if we have to change or reschedule your Animal Encounter.
  • Children under 14 must be accompanied by a ticketed adult over the age of 18. Some Animal Encounters have other age requirements listed.
  • Only ticketed participants will be allowed in the Animal Encounter area.
  • Animal Encounters do not include admission to the Zoo.

Animal Encounters

NOTE:Each person in the encounter area must have their own ticket. Animal Encounters do not include admission to the Zoo.

Add an up-close and personal experience to your visit to the Zoo with one of our Animal Encounters! During these Animal Encounters, you’ll get to meet the animals and talk to their keepers for a unique experience.

Zoo Member discounts are available. Zoo Members must be logged in to the ticketing website for the discount to appear in their cart.

Please read all our “Reservation Policies” and “What to Expect” below. All participants must sign a Participant Liability Waiver when they get to the Zoo. You can read it in advance here: Participant Liability Waiver.

*Please note: Saturday encounters with Lily and her infant are sold out. We currently have a few openings for Wednesday at 3:30 pm encounters. Lenny our male will be offering encounters again soon. Thank you all so much! You've helped us expand our donation to two-toed sloth conservation, and we are so grateful for your generosity. 

For your Sloth Encounter you will only need one ticket. The purchase allows up to 6 people to attend the encounter. You will check-in at the Field Trip Entrance gate next to the admission building. During your Sloth Encounter, you'll have the opportunity to get up close to our Linne's two-toed sloth, in a special meet and greet in one of our Education classrooms.  Speak with Education staff about our sloth and the important role they play as an ambassador for their wild counterparts or have the opportunity to feed them  Zoo-approved diet (subject to participation). You can take photos as well. 

Please check in at the Field Trip Entrance 10 minutes prior to the encounter.

Encounter Day: Wednesdays by appointment.

Encounter Time:  3:30 p.m.

Group Encounter Cost: $400 per group of up to 6 people to meet Lily and her baby. 

Member Discount: 10%

Note: Zoo Members must be logged into their cart on the ticketing page to get the discount.

Age Restrictions: This Animal Encounter is for people ages 6 and up.

Safety Requirements:  This is not a touch encounter.

For questions please contact: education@potawatomizoo.org or (574) 235-9070

Buy Tickets Here

Rhino Encounters will return in Spring 2023.

Each person who participates in this encounter must have their own ticket.

At this Animal Encounter, you'll have the opportunity to get up close with Masamba, our southern white rhino, in a special meet and greet area at the front of his habitat. You'll also get to speak with animal care staff about Masamba and the important role he plays as an ambassador for his wild counterparts, plus learn how we take care of him all year long. You might even have the chance to touch Masamba and feel his tough rhino skin!

Only ticketed people will be allowed within the Animal Encounter area. Each encounter lasts approximately 20 minutes. Please contact the Zoo in advance at info@potawatomizoo.org if you have questions about accessibility.

Encounter Days: Every Saturday and Sunday (limited to 6 people each day)

Encounter Time: 11 a.m.

Individual Ticket Cost: $50 per person

Member Discount: 10%

Note: Zoo Members must be logged into their cart on the ticketing page to get the discount.

Age Restrictions: This Animal Encounter is for people ages 6 and up. Children under 14 must be accompanied by a ticketed adult over 18. Each person who participates must have a ticket. Non-ticketed people or strollers can't be in the encounter area but can wait on the Rhino Deck.

Buy Tickets Here

Otter Encounters will return in Spring 2023.

Each person who participates in this encounter must have their own ticket.

Frannie, Sam, Shadow, and Wildcat would love to show off their intelligence during a behind-the-scenes tour and training session. Watch our animal care staff train one or two of our otters. You can have the opportunity to feed them part of their Zoo-approved diet as well!

Only ticketed people will be allowed within the Animal Encounter area. Each encounter lasts approximately 20 minutes. This is not a touch encounter.

Encounter Days: Every Saturday and Sunday (limited to 6 people per day)

Encounter Time: 2 p.m.

Individual Ticket Cost: $35 per person

Member Discount: 10%

Note: Zoo Members must be logged into their cart on the ticketing page to get the discount.

Age Restrictions: This encounter is for people over age 2. Ticketed children under 14 must be accompanied by a ticketed adult over 18. Each person who participates must have a ticket. Babies 2 and under won't be able to wait in the encounter area. Strollers won't fit in the encounter area.

Buy Tickets Here

Bison Encounters will return in Spring 2023.

Each person who participates in this encounter must have their own ticket.

At this encounter, you'll have the opportunity to hand feed our American bison part of their Zoo-approved diet and talk to one of our zoo keepers about our nation's largest land mammal.

Only ticketed people will be allowed within the Animal Encounter area. Each encounter lasts approximately 20 minutes.

Encounter Days: Every Saturday and Sunday (limited to 6 people per day)

Encounter Time: 1 p.m.

Individual Ticket Cost: $20 per person

Member Discount: 10%

Note: Zoo Members must be logged into their cart on the ticketing page to get the discount.

Age Restrictions: Children under 14 must be accompanied by a ticketed adult over 18. Each person who participates must have a ticket. Non-ticketed people or strollers can't be in the encounter area but can wait on the other side of the fence.

Buy Tickets Here

We are no longer offering the Giraffe Encounter for 2022. Check back later to see what will be available in 2023!

woman meeting white rhino
  • Follow all instructions of Zoo staff. Participants who do not follow instructions will be asked to leave and will not receive a refund.
  • Each person in the Animal Encounter area must have a ticket and only ticketed people will be allowed to participate in the encounter. Non-ticketed people, strollers, wagons, etc., are not allowed in the Animal Encounter area.
  • Please be aware of your surroundings and other participants.
  • All participants or guardians of participants must sign a Participant Liability Waiver.
  • The Animal Encounter will take place rain or shine.
  • Refunds or reschedules will not be issued for no-shows.
  • We take the health and safety of our animals, guests, and staff seriously. If you feel sick, please don't attend the encounter.
  • These experiences last about 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Our animals participate voluntarily. We can’t guarantee any specific experience.
  • You can take photos and video during your Animal Encounter but please be aware of other people and your surroundings.
  • Clothes may get dirty during the encounter.
  • Hand sanitizer will be provided for guests before and after the Animal Encounter.
  • Each person who participates must have a ticket (see individual Animal Encounters for specific guidelines).
  • For Rhino, Otter, and Bison, participants must check in at the Attractions and Stroller Booth no later than 30 minutes before the scheduled Animal Encounter.
  • For Sloth, participants must check in at the Field Trip Entrance 10 minutes prior to Animal Encounter.
  • All participants or guardians of participants must sign a Participant Liability Waiver before they can participate in the encounter.
  • Refunds or reschedules will not be issued for no-shows. We will allow full refunds or reschedules made at least 48 hours before the scheduled Animal Encounter.
  • The Animal Encounter will take place rain or shine.
  • The Zoo will contact you if we have to change or reschedule your Animal Encounter.
  • Children under 14 must be accompanied by a ticketed adult over the age of 18. Some Animal Encounters have other age requirements listed.
  • Only ticketed participants will be allowed in the Animal Encounter area.
  • Animal Encounters do not include admission to the Zoo.

Keeper Chats

Our Zoo keepers and Education staff love to talk about the animals in their care! Keeper Chats vary daily, so look for the Keeper Chat sign around the Zoo. These include meet and greets with ambassador animals, watching animals receive enrichment or food treats, and learning about animals around the Zoo.

Please Note: All Keeper Chats are subject to change without notification. These are not touch or feeding encounters.

Scheduled every day at:

11:30 am

1:30 pm

2:30 pm

Keeper Chats

Our Zoo keepers and Education staff love to talk about the animals in their care! Keeper Chats vary daily, so look for the Keeper Chat sign around the Zoo. These include meet and greets with ambassador animals, watching animals receive enrichment or food treats, and learning about animals around the Zoo.

Please Note: All Keeper Chats are subject to change without notification. These are not touch or feeding encounters.

Scheduled every day at:

11:30 am

1:30 pm

2:30 pm