Wild Encounters | Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

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The park opens at 9 a.m., gates close at 4 p.m., and the Zoo closes at 5 p.m.

Wild Encounters

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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. Meet a sea lion and pose for a once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity. Even 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. Guests under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Touching the animals without explicit direction from a Zoo staff member is not permitted.

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. At this time, we are unable to accommodate service animals during Wild Encounters. If you or a group member have a special need or mobility need, please contact us in advance.

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 11:30 a.m.

Tickets can be purchased online up to 24 hours in advance. Same-day tickets may be purchased at the admission gates, pending availability.

Closed-toed shoes are encouraged. At this time, we are unable to accommodate service animals during Wild Encounters. Guests must be 8 years of age or older. Guests under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. If you or a group member have a special need or mobility need, please contact us in advance.

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. until October 3.

Tickets can be purchased online up to 24 hours in advance. Same-day tickets may be purchased at the admission gates, pending availability.

Closed-toed shoes are encouraged. At this time, we are unable to accommodate service animals during Wild Encounters. Guests must be 8 years of age or older. Guests under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. If you or a group member have a special need or mobility need, please contact us in advance.

Don’t wait – spots fill up fast!

Book Aquarium Adventure Now

See what it's like to work with giant anteaters! Learn what they eat, how they spend their days, and what it's like for the Zoo keepers that care for these larger-than-life mammals.

This Wild Encounter takes place every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday at 11 a.m.

Tickets can be purchased online up to 24 hours in advance. Same-day tickets may be purchased at the admission gates at least 30 minutes before the start of the tour, pending availability.

Closed-toed shoes are encouraged. At this time, we are unable to accommodate service animals during Wild Encounters. If you or a group member have a special need or mobility need, please contact us in advance.

For the safety of our guests and animals, all participants must be 8 years of age or older. Guests under 16 must be accompanied by an adult with a paid Wild Encounter ticket.

Don't wait - spots fill up fast!

Book Giant Anteaters Now

Meet the fastest land mammals in the world - cheetahs. With the Cheetah Wild Encounter, you can get up close to this critical species and see what it's like to care for these big cats.

This Wild Encounter will take place every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 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 at least 30 minutes before the start of the tour, pending availability.

Closed-toed shoes are encouraged. At this time, we are unable to accommodate service animals during Wild Encounters. If you or a group member have a special need or mobility need, please contact us in advance.

For the safety of our guests and animals, all participants must be 8 years of age or older. Guests under 16 must be accompanied by an adult with a paid Wild Encounter ticket. The Cheetah Wild Encounter can accommodate up to four (4) guests on each tour.

Don't wait - spots fill up fast!

Book Cheetahs 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 up to 24 hours in advance.

Closed-toed shoes are encouraged. At this time, we are unable to accommodate service animals during Wild Encounters. If you or a group member have a special need or mobility need, please contact us in advance.

For the safety of our guests and animals, all participants must be 8 years of age or older. Guests under 16 must be accompanied by an adult with a paid Wild Encounter ticket.

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 2 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online up to 24 hours in advance.

Closed-toed shoes are encouraged. At this time, we are unable to accommodate service animals during Wild Encounters. If you or a group member have a special need or mobility need, please contact us in advance.

For the safety of our guests and animals, all participants must be 8 years of age or older. Guests under 16 must be accompanied by an adult with a paid Wild Encounter ticket.

Book Animal Ambassadors Now


The Red Panda Wild Encounter will be available beginning May 29, 2019. Check back for more details!

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.

Closed-toed shoes are encouraged. At this time, we are unable to accommodate service animals during Wild Encounters. If you or a group member have a special need or mobility need, please contact us in advance.

For the safety of our guests and animals, all participants must be 8 years of age or older. Guests under 16 must be accompanied by an adult with a paid Wild Encounter ticket.

Check back in May 2019 to book your Red Panda Wild Encounter!

The penguin encounter is available November - March only. Check back for more details!  

Waddle over to the PPG Aquarium to meet some of your favorite feathered friends! Our Macaroni and Gentoo penguins are always excited to meet guests. Bring your camera for a once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

Tickets can be purchased online up to 24 hours in advance. Same-day tickets may be purchased at the admission gates at least 30 minutes before the start of the tour, pending availability.

Closed-toed shoes are encouraged. At this time, we are unable to accommodate service animals during Wild Encounters. If you or a group member have a special need or mobility need, please contact us in advance.

For the safety of our guests and animals, all participants must be 8 years of age or older. Guests under 16 must be accompanied by an adult with a paid Wild Encounter ticket.