Wild Connections: Animal Encounter Tours

Your Very Own Secret Safari!

These up-close encounters, with a variety of furry, feathered, and finned animals, let visitors go nose to whisker with residents like our furry Virginia opossum, and eyes to ossicone with the reticulated giraffes.

You’ll get the inside scoop on their unique adaptations and behaviors, their favorite foods and treats, and even learn what it’s like to care for the animals!

These rare tour opportunities not only let you see some of these magnificent animals in a more personal way, but they serve as very real “conservation connections,” helping the Zoo’s animals and also their counterparts in the wild.

The Zoo both participates in and supports a variety of animal programs to enhance the well-being of at-risk animal populations from around the world.

Make plans now for an up-close connection – our animals are roaring to see you!

A range of tour costs, days, and times to make your reservation are offered.



Questions? Send us an email: zoo.wildconnections@milwaukeecountywi.gov

Summer 2023 Wild Connections Tours

  • Elephant Extravaganza

    “A tour you will never forget!”

    Join us for this exclusive Wild Connections tour that goes INTO the Adventure Africa Elephant Habitat! Don’t worry, the elephants won’t be in the habitat with you! You will get to set-up their morning breakfast in the outdoor habitat and then see how they enjoy the fruits of your labor! During the tour, you’ll learn about our three amazing elephants and how we provide the best possible care for them in their new home. During this remarkable experience, you will get to decide where to place their food and see how their unique adaptations allow them to find and enjoy their favorite treats! Pack your trunk and come join us!

  • Hip Hippo Hooray

    “Meet our hungry, hungry hippos!”

    Join us for this exclusive Wild Connections tour that goes above and below our Dohmen Family Foundation Hippo Haven! Learn what it takes to keep Happy, the male hippo, happy while viewing him from a special vantage point and exploring our extensive filter system. Then, meet Patti, the female hippo, for a snack and close-up view of her beautiful tusks! This tour will teach you all about the special adaptations that make these animals some of the coolest in the Zoo.

  • Mouse Deer Mania

    “Chevrotaining the masses!”

    Wait? Are they a mouse or a deer? And why are they in with the birds? All these questions and more will be answered during this exclusive Wild Connections tour that lets you feed one of the smallest and cutest hooved animals in the world! Also called Malayan Chevrotains, our two mouse deer are neither true deer nor mice, but they are not shy and love to get treats from new friends. Come meet Opal and Ruby at the end of your visit to Milwaukee County Zoo!

  • Penguin Pool Party

    “It’s a black-tie affair!”

    Shake your tail feathers and waddle on over to the Milwaukee County Zoo to experience this fishy 30-minute Wild Connections tour. Our first stop is at the Herb and Nada Mahler Family Aviary, home to our cold-loving rockhopper and Gentoo penguins. One of our penguin experts will introduce you to all the special adaptations that make penguins so unique. We then head over to the Taylor Family Humboldt Penguin Exhibit to see what it takes to keep the penguins happy and healthy. Finally, you will get to feed Houdini, Wallace, and the rest of the colony as they “fly” through the water for their special treats!

  • Predators of the African Plains

    “These charismatic carnivores can’t wait to ‘meat’ you!”

    Join us for this Wild Connections tour that will take you behind the scenes at the Florence Mila Borchert Big Cat Country and introduce the lives of some of the coolest predators of the plains. Learn about what it takes to care for our cheetahs, serval, hyenas, and lions. Then go behind the scenes to our outdoor training area and participate in a training session with either our hyenas or lions. It will be a roaring good time!

  • Giraffe Jamboree

    “Their antics will have you giraffing out loud!”

    Take a stroll to the Giraffe Experience presented by Miller Lite on this Wild Connections tour that takes you up close with the Zoo’s tallest animals! Meet our reticulated giraffes nose to nose and learn how we care for these amazing longnecks. Help us feed our herd an afternoon snack as you hear, from a zookeeper, how to protect these remarkable animals. Find out more about their behaviors, personalities and why their necks are so long! You’ll be shocked to discover how gentle and graceful these giants are up close!

  • Take Flight Bird Feeding

    “Feed our highest-flying friends!”

    Take flight with the flock! Join us for this 20-minute Wild Connections experience that lets you participate in feeding time! Venture to the Herb and Nada Mahler Family Aviary with one of our zookeepers to learn about what goes into caring for unique and diverse residents in the building. Then meet some of our most playful and colorful birds – the mustached Inca terns. Learn why their white feathers that resemble a mustache are so important and what you can do to help them thrive in the wild while feeding them their favorite food – fish! This experience is guaranteed to make a bird lover out of anyone!

    Inca Tern

  • Animal Upkeep: Opossum Edition

    “Have a totally opossum time!”

    Have you ever wondered what it takes to provide the best care for the animals at the Zoo? If so, then join us on this new Wild Connections tour that not only takes you into our Animal Health Center Learning Zone but also lets you meet one of our amazing ambassadors up close! Hang out with Pendleton the opossum while learning about what it takes to be an animal caretaker. This tour is perfect for anyone who is interested in learning more about becoming a zookeeper, veterinarian or zoologist!


  • Scales and Tails

    “Get up close and personal with our cold-blooded friends!”

    Join us on this Wild Connection tour to learn all about how our Aquatic & Reptile Center operates and meet some new friends! Feed the inhabitants of our Amazon River habitat which includes Onassis, the Amazon river turtle, who is the oldest animal in the Zoo. Explore behind the scenes to see what it takes to keep a 55,000-gallon aquarium running while discovering the specialized diets for some of our most distinct species in the Zoo. Then climb above Lake Wisconsin to meet some of our most unique reptile ambassadors!

  • Reindeer Roundup

    “Sleigh ‘Hi’ to the Reindeer!”

    Migrate with us to the west end of the Zoo to learn what it takes to care for our resident reindeer pair. Get close enough to hear the click, click, click of their hooves and feel just how heavy their antlers really are! Then, help us feed Bean and Kyllikki their favorite treats, as you learn about their unique adaptations that keep them warm in the winter and cool in the summer!

    Reindeer Roundup

Apes of Africa will be closed for maintenance June 5-9