Groups, Discounts & Offers

Groups, Discounts & Offers

There are a variety of ways to enhance your visit or save on Zoo admission. If you are an educational group, please visit our Field Trips page. Planning an outing for a non-educational group (family reunion, senior center, private group, etc.) of 15 people or more? Want to peek behind the scenes and get closer than ever to your favorite animal? Or just looking to save a few bucks on your trip to the Zoo? This page has everything you need to tailor your experience to fit your needs and your budget.

Everyday Offers & Discounts

There are a variety of ways to save on Zoo admission. While educational and school groups should visit our field trips page, and groups of 15 or more can explore group tickets section below, there are several great ways individuals can save on general admission too.

AAA

AAA Members can pre-order discounted tickets valid for one year from date of purchase. Tickets are only available for Southwestern PA or Eastern Ohio residents, and can only be ordered using an IP address within these areas.

Giant Eagle  

Beginning around Memorial Day, save $2 on admission tickets for adults and children by purchasing them from the customer service counters at participating Giant Eagle stores (while supplies last). These tickets are not valid during ZooBoo and expire at the end of the year.

Shop 'n Save

Present your Shop n' Save Perks card at the gates for $1 off total admission (not to be combined with other offers).

Military

All active duty, reservists, and veterans of the United States military receive free general admission with proper identification (i.e. military ID, DD-214). This discount does not apply to family members or dependents of military personnel/veterans.

Membership

A Zoo Membership gives you unlimited visits and benefits all year. Visit our Membership page for more details.

Behind-the-Scenes Tours

Wild Encounters

Wild Encounters are behind-the-scenes tours at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. Each encounter is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience designed to foster positive, lifelong connections to the natural world. Please note that reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance. Price is per group, up to six people. 

Some tours are only available at certain times of the year because of animal behavior factors, including but not limited to mating, molting, or weather conditions. Although the following tours are not offered right now, they will be available in the coming months, so check back regularly.

Below is a listing of all tours, both current and off-season along with the guidelines for each tour.  You can also find important guidelines, such as general information and scheduling information below.

For more information or to book a tour, please call 412-365-2545 or email wildencounters@pittsburghzoo.org.

Education Ambassadors
Flamingos
Reptiles
Sea Lions
Sharks
Red Pandas
Penguins
 

Education Ambassadors

The Education Ambassadors Wild Encounter is a one-of-a-kind experience that includes unforgettable up-close encounters with the Zoo’s most popular animal ambassadors. During this 30-minute private encounter, your group will meet with a variety of animals representing more than 30 species that are featured as part of the Zoo’s educational programs. A member of our knowledgeable education staff will guide your experience and provide opportunities to touch animals and pose for photos.

Animals that may be featured in your Education Ambassador Wild Encounter include but are not limited to an owl, a kinkajou, a fennec fox, and a ball python. Specific animals will vary for each tour and are dependent on a variety of factors.

The Education Ambassadors Wild Encounter is open to guests ages 6 and older only. A ratio of one adult for every three children is required. Only one group is permitted to reserve each booking time. Please be sure to include your entire group at the time of booking, as each time slot is reserved and closed once it has been filled by a group. This tour can accommodate a maximum of six people per group.

Education Ambassadors Encounter tours are available select Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. with an advanced reservation. The cost is $350 for non-members and $250 for members. The price is per group (up to six people).
 

Flamingos

Take a walk on the wild side and join our flock of flamingos. During this 30-minute private encounter, your group will get up close and personal and mingle with these feathered friends. Learn why flamingos are pink and just what all those vocalizations mean. Bring your camera for a beautiful photo souvenir.

The Flamingo Encounter is open to guests ages 6 years and older. Maximum group size is six people and must include one adult. Only one group is permitted to reserve each booking time. Please be sure to include your entire group at the time of booking.

The Flamingo Encounter is available Thursdays at 11:30 a.m. with an advanced reservation. The cost is $350 for non-members and $250 for Members. The price is per group (up to six people).

 

Reptiles

Discover what it takes to wrangle the Zoo’s reptile collection. Learn how to use the tools-of-the-trade and handle live reptiles while working alongside our experienced reptile keepers. Bring your camera for the numerous once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunities. The tour is approximately 30 minutes. Tour participants will meet the keeper who will be their guide at the entrance of Worlds of Discovery in Kids Kingdom.

The Reptile Encounter is open to guests ages 10 and older only. A ratio of one adult for every two children is required. Only one group is permitted to reserve each booking time. Please be sure to include your entire group at the time of booking, as each time slot is reserved and closed once it has been filled by a group. This tour can accommodate a maximum of six people per group.

Reptile Encounter tours are available Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2 p.m. (with an advanced reservation). The cost is $350 for non-members and $250 for members. The price is per group (up to six people).

 

Sea Lions

Discover the unique characteristics that make California sea lions a visitor favorite during this 30-minute behind-the-scenes tour. Begin your visit admiring the underwater acrobatics of these graceful sea dwellers. Then witness first-hand the challenges and successes of the Zoo’s world-class sea lion training program. The tour is approximately 30 minutes. Tour participants will meet the keeper who will be their guide at the sea lion pool underwater viewing window in the Kids Kingdom.

The Sea Lion Encounter is open to guests ages 8 and older only. A ratio of one adult for every two children is required. Only one group is permitted to reserve each booking time. Please be sure to include your entire group at the time of booking, as each time slot is reserved and closed once it has been filled by a group. This tour can accommodate a maximum of six people per group.

Sea Lion Encounter tours are available Sundays and Tuesdays at 11:30 a.m. (with an advanced reservation). The cost is $350 for non-members and $250 for members. The price is per group (up to six people).

 

Sharks

Experience the thrill of getting up close with sharks of the Indo-Pacific without leaving Pittsburgh! During this tour, your group will meet with an aquarist and go behind the scenes of our large ocean exhibit in the PPG Aquarium. Your group will see firsthand what it is like to care for these iconic animals and learn about their importance in the wild.
This tour is approximately 30 minutes in duration. Tour participants will meet an aquarist in the lobby of the PPG Aquarium.

This tour can accommodate a maximum of six people per group and is open to guests ages six years and older. A ratio of one adult for every 2 children is required. Only one group is permitted to reserve each booking time. Please be sure to include your entire group at the time of booking.

Shark Encounter tours are available Thursdays and Saturdays at 2 pm. with an advanced reservation. The cost is $250 for Zoo members or $350 for non-members which include the tour and Zoo admission for a group up to 6 guests. 

 

 

Red Pandas

This encounter gives you the opportunity to come face to face with one of our most charming animals at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, the red panda.  You’ll step into a staff only area to see what goes into their daily care and will learn important conservation information about this unique species.

This tour is approximately 30 minutes in duration. Tour participants will meet a keeper at the red panda exhibit located in the Forest Passage section of the zoo.

This tour can accommodate a maximum of six people per group and is open to guests ages six years and older. A ratio of one adult for every 2 children is required. Only one group is permitted to reserve each booking time. Please be sure to include your entire group at the time of booking.

Red Panda Encounters are available with an advanced reservation only. The cost is $250 for Zoo members or $350 for non-members which includes the tour and Zoo admission for a group up to 6 guests.

 

Penguin Encounter

Only available October through March.
Not available April-September.

Discover the birds of the Antarctic without leaving Pittsburgh. Be sure to bring your camera for once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunities when you meet with our penguins and their keepers at the PPG Aquarium. The tour is approximately 30 minutes in duration. Tour participants will meet the keeper who will be their guide at the entrance of the PPG Aquarium.

This tour can accommodate a maximum of six people per group. The Penguin Encounter is open to guests ages 6 and older only. A ratio of one adult for every two children is required. Only one group is permitted to reserve each booking time. Please be sure to include your entire group at the time of booking. 

Penguin Encounter tours are available Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m. with an advanced reservation. The cost is $350 for non-members and $250 for members. The price is per group (up to six people).

All tours are scheduled on a first come, first served basis. If a member of your group has a special need or mobility issue, please contact us in advance so accommodations can be made, if possible. All Wild Encounters include general Zoo admission and guests are free to explore the Zoo before or after their tour. Reservations are required and must be made at least two weeks in advance. Reservations close two weeks prior to each tour date.

Cancellations must be made seven days in advance or payment will be forfeited and donated to the Zoo’s Conservation Fund. All cancellations must be made in writing and sent to wildencounters@pittsburghzoo.org.

*Beside-the-action experience, may not include behind-the-scenes access.

As a result of the unpredictability of working with live animals, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium reserves the right to cancel or reschedule Wild Encounters at any time. All tours are scheduled based on animal and staff availability. Cancellation for health and safety reasons are made at the sole discretion of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. In the event of a cancellation, the Zoo will contact you to reschedule as soon as possible.

All tours are guided walking tours; guests will not board a tram or other vehicle. We are unable to accommodate strollers during Wild Encounters.

Guidelines of established age ranges and maximum number of guests are non-negotiable and strictly enforced. 

Please plan to arrive at the designated meeting area prior to the tour start time. Tour times are fixed. Late arrival will result in a shortened tour experience.

All guests are required to wear closed-toed shoes (no sandals or high heels) in behind-the-scenes areas. Wild Encounters participants must have a signed Waiver of Liability before beginning the tour. Participants under 18 years of age must have the waiver signed by a parent or guardian.

Food and drink are not permitted in any behind-the-scenes areas. For safety reasons, service animals are not permitted on behind-the-scenes tours. Interaction with or touching of the animals without explicit direction from a Zoo staff member is not permitted during Wild Encounters.

Other restrictions may apply.

Group Rates & Discounts

Family gatherings, nursing homes, private groups, or any other non-school group of 15 people or more are eligable for the Zoo's discounted group rate program. School groups, day cares, youth groups, or camps are not eligible for the group rates listed here. These groups should visit the field trips section of our website for more information about your educational visit.
To qualify for a discounted group rate, you must:
  • Have 15 or more paying individuals (ages 2 and over) in your group
  • Register your group at least two weeks prior to your visit
  • Make payment or payment arrangements at least two weeks in advance of your visit. Group rates are not available at the admission gates.
The discounts are:
  • Children & Adults (ages 2 & older) - $12*
  • Children under 2 years of age - free
Parking is free for both cars and buses.

Additional discounts for groups of 100 or more are available. Please contact the Group Sales department at 412-365-2544 or discounttickets@pittsburghzoo.org for more information.

*Prices are subject to change.

Up the wow factor for your group's visit with:

  • Picnic packages, which include admission, food, and your facility rental in the per-person prices
  • Boxed lunch options, which do not include admission or a facility rental in the per-person prices and are only for the boxed lunches themselves
  • A pavilion rental
  • A tram rental

There are two payment options available:

1. Credit Card to Hold
If you are unsure of the exact number of attendees you will have, or you are having trouble meeting the two-week deadline, you may take advantage of our Credit Card to Hold option. After providing our office with credit card information, wristbands will be mailed. The card will not be charged, and you will be able to return unused wristbands to the Group Sales & Rentals Department located on the second floor of the Education Complex. If visiting on a weekend or holiday when the office is closed, you can keep the extra wristbands and contact the Group Sales & Rentals Department on the next business day to return them. It is best to overestimate the number of wristbands you think you will need, as extra bands can be returned without penalty. Once your order has been processed, you cannot order additional admissions. Any person without a wristband will not be permitted to enter through the group gate, and will have to pay the general admission rate*.

2. Check
If paying by check, your check must be received by the date it is due, which is two weeks before the date of your visit. Refunds will not be issued for absent people. Zoo wristbands will be valid until December 31 of the year you ordered the wristbands.

Please note, if payment or payment arrangements are made less than two weeks prior to the trip, a fee of $30 will be added to your order for expedited/overnight shipping of your admission wristbands. This policy is non-negotiable.

*Prices are subject to change.

Please download the Group Sales Reservation Form and fax it to 412-665-3661, email it to discounttickets@pittsburghzoo.org, or mail it to:

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
Group Sales & Rentals
One Wild Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15206