Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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See the elephant twins daily from 11-11:30 a.m. and 2–2:30 p.m. at the Pachyderm Pavilion viewing windows.

Animal Encounters

Hear from our experts, ask questions, meet your favorite animal and discover something new during these exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences!

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo has a commitment to providing our visitors with high quality, safe learning experiences that create memories last a lifetime and foster a respect for wildlife and nature conservation.

Animal encounters offer an opportunity for you to learn more about an animal, observe and, in some cases, interact with an individual animal and the zookeeper(s) caring for the species. Your exclusive encounter will allow you to engage with our dedicated professional staff and learn about the attentive care the animal receives, their behaviors, their unique features and the zoo’s extraordinary work to help save threatened and endangered species.

For more information or to reserve your encounter, please contact Heidi Strong, Director of Development
[email protected] | (315) 435-8511 x8526

Encounters must be scheduled a minimum of 2 weeks in advance

Sloth Encounter Photo

Sloth Encounter

Hang with a Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth!

​Have you ever wondered how much time a sloth spends upside down, or how long it takes a sloth to eat? Here’s your chance to find out. During your time with this fan favorite you will learn what goes into the daily care of our sloth ambassador.

  • Each encounter is $50 per person for up to four (4) guests. Minimum of two guests.
  • This experience may last up to 30 minutes.
  • Open to guests 5 years and up. Ages 17 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.
  • While guests will be able to feed the sloths, touching is not allowed.
  • Closed-toed shoes are required - please do not touch the armadillos even though they may scurry around your feet!
  • No photography will be allowed behind the scenes and during the feeding.
  • Admission to Rosamond Gifford Zoo is included
  • Encounters are non-refundable, reservations may be changed up to 3 days before the scheduled date.

Penguin Encounter Photo

Penguin Encounter

Visit with some of our favorite feathered friends at Penguin Coast. This intimate meeting with a Humboldt penguin ambassador and zookeeper will provide a glimpse into the daily care the colony receives.

  • Each encounter is $50 per person for up to 6 guests. Minimum of two guests.
  • This experience may last up to 30 minutes
  • Guests minimum age is 5 years old (accompanied by an adult).
  • Photography is not allowed indoors.  
  • Rain, Snow or SHINE. Encounters run in all weather. Closed-toed shoes are required.
  • Admission to Rosamond Gifford Zoo is included.
  • Encounters are non-refundable, reservations may be changed up to 3 days before the scheduled date.

Hawk Encounter Photo

Hawk Walk

For two adventure seeking guests. Take a walk with our majestic birds of prey, Alex and Anakin the Harris hawks. Watch them in flight and learn about the care these birds receive as well as their free-flight training. Join their team and learn about the ancient sport of falconry.

Experience for two guests includes:

  • Admission into Rosamond Gifford Zoo
  • Photo opportunity of a lifetime
  • An unforgettable 30-minute experience with two birds of prey and members of our animal care team

PLEASE note:

  • All guests must be 12 years old or older and be accompanied by an adult
  • Closed-toe shoes are required
  • Hawk walks take place outdoors and therefore are weather dependent and may be rescheduled due to storms, rain and the safety of the birds
  • Encounters are non-refundable, reservations may be changed up to 5 days prior to the scheduled date.
  • Hawk walks take place on Fridays in the spring and summer months at 1 p.m.
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