Animal Encounters have returned to the Houston Zoo and have been updated for the current times. Guests can now choose from six different experiences where folks from the same household can get up close to their favorite animals and meet the zookeepers who care for them every day. These one-of-a-kind experiences are sure to delight the entire quarantine household! All-day Zoo admission is also included with each encounter.  Houston Zoo offering new animal encounters daily.

Every encounter has its own age requirements and group size limits. For the safety of other guests, staff, and animals, participants 10 years and older must properly wear a face covering during the entire animal encounter.  

For all the details and to book an Animal Encounter, visit  

A portion of every purchase goes towards saving animals in the wild. 

Okapi Encounter – Thursdays, 9:00 – 9:45 a.m. 

Interact with one of Africa’s rarest species during this one-of-a-kind experience. Guests will get eye-to-eye with Kwame “Kwaa-mey” and Sukari “Sue-car-e” as they feed them their favorite treats and learn about the closest living relatives to the giraffe. 

VIP Sea Lion Training Experience – Wednesdays, 9:30 – 10:15 a.m. 

This is truly a VIP experience! Join the Zoo’s sea lion training team for a rare opportunity to participate in an interactive training session complete with a little play time. Guests will spend time tossing a ball or throwing a frisbee with the California sea lions while learning how to save these animals in the wild. This experience also includes a perfect photo opportunity with one of the Zoo’s sea lion ambassadors.  

Sea Lion Painting Experience – Wednesdays, 9:30 – 10:15 a.m.  

Participants will collaborate with the sea lion artists and their keepers to create a one-of-kind masterpiece to take home! During this private experience, guests will select the colors and see their artwork come to life through broad and sweeping brush strokes or delicately placed nose prints. 

Galápagos Tortoise Encounter – Sundays and Tuesdays, 10:00 – 10:45 a.m. 

Guests can take the perfect tortoise selfie when they’re up close with some of the Zoo’s longest-lived residents, the Galápagos tortoises. During this experience, participants will have special access into the Galápagos tortoise habitat, learning all about Daphne, Seymour, and Pinta while offering them a favorite snack. 

Elephant Encounter – Fridays and Sundays, 12:45 – 1:30 p.m. 

Get hand to trunk with one of the Zoo’s Asian elephants and see first-hand how keepers build relationships with these amazing animals! Guests will have an opportunity to feed, hear stories about the Houston herd and touch one of these amazing creatures with a photo opportunity. 

Elephant Bath Experience – Thursdays, 10:00 – 10:45 a.m.  

Participants will experience first-hand what it’s like to bathe an elephant! After helping to scrub down one of the elephants, guests will feed and touch one of these amazing creatures with a photo opportunity.  Now that the Houston Zoo is offering new animal encounters daily, get out to visit our zoo!


The Houston Zoo connects communities with animals, inspiring action to save wildlife. Established in 1922, today the Zoo is a leading conservation and education nonprofit organization providing care to thousands of animals. All while remaining a cherished destination for fun, family, and inspiration for all of Houston’s diverse communities. The Houston Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. To stay informed about the Houston Zoo, visit