Wild Encounters | Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Wild Encounters

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Break down barriers and get closer than you ever imagined with Wild Encounters at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

Shadow a Zoo keeper in the PPG Aquarium to see what it’s like to work with sharks, stingrays and tropical fish. Step right into the sea lion exhibit as you participate in trainings and a once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity. Get up-close-and-personal with the rare and endangered red panda.

Each Wild Encounter group tour experience is 30 minutes long and can accommodate up to 8 guests. Guests must be 8 years of age or older to participate in the encounter.

Spots fill up fast, so make sure to book in advance! Tickets are $60 per person and include Zoo admission. Closed-toed shoes are encouraged.

To book a Wild Encounter, click “Book Now” in each section below. If you have any questions, contact us at wildencounters@pittsburghzoo.org.

Book now!

See below for availability

Discover the unique characteristics that make California sea lions a visitor favorite. Begin your visit admiring the underwater acrobatics of these graceful sea dwellers, then end your visit on the sea lion beach during a live training demonstration. This Wild Encounter takes place every day at 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online up to 24 hours in advance. Same-day tickets may be purchased at the admission gates, pending availability. Don’t wait – spots fill up fast!

Book Sea Lions Now

Shadow a Zoo keeper in the PPG Aquarium to see what it’s like to work with marine life from around the world. Aquarium Adventure animals will change daily, and may not be the same each time. You may meet a shark or explore with the stingrays – each encounter will be a different experience! This Wild Encounter takes place every day at 2 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online up to 24 hours in advance. Same-day tickets may be purchased at the admission gates, pending availability. Don’t wait – spots fill up fast!

Book Aquarium Adventure Now

Let our keepers take you on a uniquely chosen adventure – it’s Keeper’s Choice, and every encounter might be a different animal! You may see what it’s like to work with cheetahs, get up close to gorillas, or even hang with the lions. Keeper’s Choice of animal encounters can change daily. This Wild Encounter takes place every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

*This week only: Meet a giant anteater during the morning tour at 11 a.m., and meet a black rhino during the afternoon tour at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online up to 24 hours in advance. Same-day tickets may be purchased at the admission gates, pending availability. Don’t wait – spots fill up fast!

Book Keeper’s Choice Now

Discover what it takes to wrangle rattlesnakes and Gila monsters. Learn how to use the tools-of-the-trade and safely handle live reptiles while working alongside our experienced reptile keepers. This Wild Encounter takes place every Sunday at 2 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online. This tour must be booked at least two weeks in advance.

Book Reptiles Now

Experience the thrill of being up close with sharks from the Indo-Pacific. Explore our large ocean exhibit in the PPG Aquarium, discover firsthand what it’s like to care for these iconic animals, and learn about the importance of sharks in our oceans. This Wild Encounter takes place every Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online. This tour must be booked at least two weeks in advance.

Book Sharks Now

Meet the Zoo’s most popular animal ambassadors up close. A variety of animals, representing more than 30 different species, are featured in the Zoo’s educational programs. A member of our knowledgeable education staff will guide your experience and provide opportunities to touch the animals and pose for photos. Animals may include owls, kinkajou, fennec foxes, or ball pythons. Specific animals will vary for each encounter. This Wild Encounter takes place every Saturday at 3 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online. This tour must be booked at least two weeks in advance.

Book Animal Ambassadors Now

Go nose-to-whisker with one of our most charming animals at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium – the red panda. Step into a staff-only area to see what goes into their daily care and learn important conservation information about this unique species. This Wild Encounter takes place every Thursday at 11:30 a.m.

Tickets can be purchased online. This tour must be booked at least two weeks in advance.

Book Red Panda Now

Take a walk on the wild side and join our flock of flamingos. Get up-close-and-personal with these feathered friends. Learn why flamingos are pink and just what all those vocalizations mean. Bring your camera for a beautiful photo souvenir. This Wild Encounter takes place every Tuesday and Thursday at 11:15 a.m.

Tickets can be purchased online in advance. This tour must be booked at least two weeks in advance.

Book Flamingos Now