Animal Encounters

Take a walk on the wild side! Are you ready to get a special look at our animals here at the Caldwell Zoo? These exclusive experiences will take you behind the scenes and allow you to get up close and personal with some of our residents here at the zoo. Below is all the information you will need to have a truly wild experience!

Reptile Encounter

Reptiles, Amphibians, and Inverts Oh My!

Get led on a guided tour through our Herpetarium where you will learn all about the creepy and crawly residents here at the Caldwell Zoo. From snakes to lizards, frogs to salamanders, and tarantulas to cockroaches, you will walk away with a greater knowledge of these amazing animals. This experience also includes a close up encounter with one of our animals!


Penguin Encounter

Waddle Over and Meet our Feathered Friends

Birds with feathers that can't fly?! Discover all of the amazing adaptations these creatures possess. Understand life from the perspective of a penguin and get the opportunity to have a close up encounter with one of our penguin ambassadors!


Know Before You Go

  • Please meet at the bench in front of Visitor Services (the office at the main entrance) 15 minutes prior to the start of your tour. The behind the scenes nature of this experience makes joining the group late not possible. If you arrive after the start time of your tour, your reservation will be forfeited with no refund.
  • Please do not bring food or drink on the tour except a reusable water bottle.
  • For the safety of yourself and those around you, please be sure to be respectful during the encounters by listening to our knowledgeable keepers, using inside voices, and listening to and following all instructions.
  • Please ensure all guests are wearing closed toed shoes to all behind the scenes experiences.
  • Wheelchair accessibility for tours is limited or not available. We want to provide a fun and engaging experience please call 903-593-0121 for additional information before booking your tour for more information so we can help you find the tour that is right for your group.

Frequently Asked Questions

ALL TOURS will meet at visitor services 15 minutes before the start time of your tour. A representative will pick you up from there and bring you to your location.

You may bring your stroller part of the way. However, you may be asked to park it at a location that may be a walk away from the behind the scenes area. Be ready to walk if necessary. It is advised not to leave valuable personal belongings on strollers.

A reusable water bottle and a camera device.

Please wear closed-toed shoes to fully enjoy the experience. Sunglasses, jewelry and other loose items may have to be removed for certain encounters.

You can book a tour either by clicking the links above on the tours you wish to purchase which say BUY NOW, calling us at 903-593-0121, or stopping by the zoo. Please understand most animals encounters must be booked in advance of date. Walk up purchases may not be available.

To ensure we reach a minimum for some of our tours that have a greater animal impact we sell those tickets in groups.

You are welcome to bring only one person, but we cannot split the ticket cost.

We will do our best to accommodate everyone! If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at 903-593-0121 or email us at

This experience will be led by our knowledgeable keepers who will guide you through the tour ensuring safety as a top priority. If at any time you do not want to participate in a portion of the experience, you can just inform the keeper and you are welcome to stand and observe but not participate. There is inherent risk any time an animal is involved. By participating in this encounter you are assuming all liability while near our wild animals.

Direct contact with any of our animals is not guaranteed, and will be at the discretion of the keeper.

Reservations are only valid for the date booked. Encounter fees are non-refundable, however the program can be rescheduled when possible (as long as the request is made two weeks in advance of date of experience). All encounters are subject to availability. Not all encounters include admission. Admission for encounters is required but not necessarily included. Be sure to read encounter information thoroughly. Caldwell Zoo has the right to cancel these programs at any time without prior notice for full refund. Participants should arrive 15 minutes before the start of program. Due to the nature of the animal encounters, late participants cannot be accommodated and your reservation will be forfeited with no refund. All participants must be 5 and older. Participants under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult (21+). Wheelchair accessibility is limited or not available. Please call 903-593-0121 for more details on limitations. Service animals will not be permitted on any behind the scenes encounters. Prices are subject to change without notice.

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