Extraordinary Zoo Encounters!

Have the experience of a lifetime with some of your favorite animals!

Each on-grounds encounter lasts 20-30 minutes, includes photo opportunities and a Q&A session. Encounters are available 7 days a week from 11:00 a.m to 3:00 p.m. based on availability and weather. Receive a 10% discount when you purchase 3 or more encounters at one time.
+ $5 for each additional person up to the maximum.
One (1) adult for every 3 children under 12 years of age is required.

Requests for Extraordinary Zoo Encounters must be scheduled with a minimum of two weeks advance notice. Gift certificates are available and may be purchased at the front gate, the main office, or by phone at 417-833-1570. For more information or to schedule, contact Chelsea Hoover, Event Coordinator, at encounters@dickersonparkzoo.org.

  • Aldabra Tortoises
  • $30
    per group (6 people)
  • Encounter for up to 6 people. ~ 2 adult required.
  • Maximum of 12 people.
  • Up-close encounter! Note! Everyone must wear close-toed shoes. Children must be 5 years of age to participate.
  • Zebras
  • $30
    per group (3 people)
  • Encounter for up to 3 people ~ 1 adult required.
  • Maximum of 12 people.
  • Feed the zebras! Feedings occur through a barrier.
  • White Tailed Deer
  • $30
    per group (3 people)
  • Encounter for up to 3 people ~ 1 adult required.
  • Maximum of 12 people.
  • Feed the Deer! Feedings occur through a barrier.
  • River Otters
  • $30
    per group (3 people)
  • Encounter for up to 3 people. ~ 1 adult required.
  • Maximum of 8 people.
  • Feed the otters! Feedings occur through a barrier.
  • Commissary
  • $30
    per group (12 people)
  • Tour for up to 12 people ~ 1 adult required.
  • Maximum of 12 people.
  • Get a quick view inside the kitchen for the zoo animals. See how food for more than 500 animals is prepared daily. Check out the walk-in cooler, freezer, and dry food storage area.
  • Siamangs (lesser ape)
  • $75
    per group (6 people)
  • Encounter for up to 6 people ~ 2 adults required.
  • Maximum of 8 people
  • Up-close encounter! Includes a "keeper's choice" activity.
  • Giraffes
  • $75
    per group (6 people)
  • Tour for up to 6 people ~ 2 adult required.
  • Maximum of 12 people.
  • Go behind the scenes to learn more about the giraffes and how the staff takes care of them! Includes feeding encounter.
  • Reptiles
  • $75
    per group (6 people)
  • Tour for up to 6 people ~ 2 adults required.
  • Maximum of 12 people.
  • Go behind the scenes in our Diversity of Life building to learn more about the reptiles and how the staff takes care of them! Includes up-close encounters (non-venomous). Children must be 5 years of age or older.
  • Hippos
  • $75
    per group (6 people)
  • Encounter for up to 6 people ~ 2 adult required.
  • Maximum of 8 people.
  • Feed the hippo girls! Feedings occur through a barrier.
  • Tiger, Lion, Cougar, OR Bear
  • $100
    per group (6 people)
  • Tour for up to 6 people ~ 2 adults required.
  • Maximum of 8 people.
  • Go behind the scenes to see off-exhibit areas to learn more about the tigers, lions, cougars, or bears. Includes "keeper's choice" activity.
  • Female Elephant
  • $150
    per group (8 people)
  • Encounter for up to 8 people ~ 2 adults required.
  • Maximum of 8 people.
  • Includes a training presentation and feeding opportunity! Feeding occurs through a barrier.
  • Male Elephant
  • $200
    per group (8 people)
  • Tour for up to 8 people ~ Adults only.
  • Maximum of 8 people.
  • See restricted areas not available for public viewing, including the Elephant Restraint Device (ERD) and an elephant training presentation.
  • Animal Hospital
  • $250
    per group (5 people)
  • Tour for up to 5 people ~ 1 Adult.
  • Maximum of 5 people.
  • Go behind the scenes with Dickerson Park Zoo’s veterinarian and staff as they perform a checkup or medical procedure. Follow up with a Q & A session with Dr. Schnellbacher. This is an ideal experience for future veterinarians, zookeepers, or all animal lovers.
  • Procedure is at the veterinarian’s discretion. This encounter is for ages 12 and up. Please schedule one month in advance and allow two hours for the encounter. Please note: no cameras or videos will be allowed during the medical procedure.
TOP