Wild Connections

Wild Connections

Get up close and personal with your favorite Zoo animal by booking a Wild Connection today!

Description: Get in touch with your WILD side as you join an RWPZ Zookeeper and an animal companion for a one-of-a-kind animal encounter experience! Learn about our animals friends’ individual personalities, the world-class training and care our keeper staff provides, and what you can do help support animals like them while making a connection that will undoubtedly last a lifetime.

Cost: Members: $200, includes two participants, $40 for each additional person
Non-Members: $220, includes two participants, $45 for each additional person

Please Note: This add-on experience does not include admission to the zoo. Wild Connections guests must reserve timed Zoo admissions tickets in advance to ensure entry to the Zoo prior to their scheduled experience. We suggest arriving at least 30 minutes early to park to allow adequate time for parking, admission and to connect with your Zoo host. Masks are required for the duration of this experience.

Duration: 15-20min

Capacity/Age Restrictions: Wild Connections are experienced in various exhibits and behind the scenes locations around the zoo, each with its own capacity, age restrictions and levels of accessibility. See each individual offering below for more details. Children ages 5-11 must be accompanied by a paid adult with one adult present for every two children ages 5-11.

Booking: Each encounter is available at one pre-designated time per week. These experiences have limited availability and require advance reservations. Dates are currently being booked through August.

To book a Wild Connections experience or for more information, contact us at programs@rwpzoo.org or (401)-785-3510 ext. 352

Summer 2021 Offerings
More offerings coming soon!
Giraffe

Come face-to-knee with the world’s tallest land animal as a keeper introduces you to one of our vertically gifted friends—the Masai giraffe! Learn about training, enrichment, veterinary care and more during this behind-the-scenes encounter. You may even have the opportunity to offer your animal friend a snack!

  • Capacity: 6
  • Min Age: 5+
  • Not Wheelchair Accessible (ask for available accommodations)
  • Availability: Tuesdays at 2:00pm (Must be booked in advance)

To book a Wild Connections experience or for more information, including availability, please contact us at programs@rwpzoo.org or (401)-785-3510 ext. 352

Red Panda (SOLD OUT)

Who hasn’t looked at a Red Panda and immediately fallen in love? Join one of our keepers as you venture directly into the Red Panda exhibit to meet one of our furry friends! Learn about their day-to-day care, training, and enrichment as you visit with these adorable Himalayan heartthrobs. (Note: long pants are required for all participants). 

  • Capacity: 2
  • Min Age: 12+
  • Not Wheelchair Accessible
  • Availability: Fridays at 10:00am (Must be booked in advance)

PLEASE NOTE: Wild Connections with the Red Panda are sold out through August and there is no waitlist. However, if you would like to be notified when any new Wild Connections timeslots are available to book on a first come, first served basis, please email djhill@rwpzoo.org along with your name, email and phone number to be added to our Priority Notification List

Zebra & Cheetah

Are these African equids black with white stripes or white with black stripes? This is just one of the questions you can ask as you join a Plains of Africa zookeeper as they take you behind the scenes to meet a zebra! You might even ‘spot’ some of our cheetahs during this special experience. Learn about training, vet care, enrichment and more during this personal experience with a zookeeper.

  • Capacity: 6
  • Min Age: 5+
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Availability: Thursdays at 2:00pm (Must be booked in advance)

To book a Wild Connections experience or for more information, including availability, please contact us at programs@rwpzoo.org or (401)-785-3510 ext. 352

Harbor Seal

This experience is sure to make a splash! Catch up with one of our Harbor Seal keepers as you venture into the exhibit to meet Bubba the Harbor Seal! Learn about how regular training sessions keep our animals healthy and alert as you assist in this important part of Bubba’s day.

  • Capacity: 6
  • Min Age: 5+
  • Not Wheelchair Accessible
  • Availability: Tuesdays at 12:00pm (Must be booked in advance)

To book a Wild Connections experience or for more information, including availability, please contact us at programs@rwpzoo.org or (401)-785-3510 ext. 352

Wild Connections FAQs
Can I touch the animals?

Remember that these are wild animals, and many do not like to be touched, therefore we ask you not to touch them. However, the Zoo's farmyard provides ample opportunity for you to reach out and connect with a member of our goat herd!

How should I behave when in the encounter area?

Maintain calm and gentle behavior when around the animals. Remember, you are new to them and they need to feel safe around you. In addition, follow all instructions by the keeper, who is there to ensure your safety as well as that of the animal. If you are asked to step back or stop what you are doing, please do so immediately. We want to ensure everyone has a wonderful experience!

Is there anything else I should know in advance?

Particularly for the giraffe, strong perfume, loud voices, or noisy jewelry may startle the animals and cause them to back away.

Can I take pictures during the feeding?

Yes, guests may take pictures during their Wild Connection. Selfies and video recording are prohibited.

What if it rains?

Most Wild Connections are rain or shine. We will attempt to contact you as soon as a decision has been made if extreme weather or lightning will cause the experience to be cancelled or rescheduled.

How will the zoo use the revenue generated from Wild Connections?

Revenue generated from these experiences help support the care of our animals as well as our education and conservation programs both here locally and abroad.

Can I bring my own food to feed the animals?

No, all animals at the Zoo are on a strict diet for their health and safety. What they eat and the amount eaten daily is monitored carefully by our veterinary staff.

What if the animals do not want to visit with us?

They are wild animals. We cannot guarantee that they will want to visit or eat according to our schedule. Feed and touch opportunities are not guaranteed, and no refunds will be made for their absence.

Do I have to wear a mask? What if I am vaccinated?

Yes. Vaccinated guests do not have to wear masks when exploring the zoo, except for when visiting the Faces of the Rainforest exhibit and participating in a Wild Connection. Unvaccinated guests will be required to wear a mask when entering any building, participating in a Wild Connection or when 3 ft of social distance cannot be maintained consistently. Note: Out of an abundance of caution for the animals in our care, we are not able to make any exceptions or exemptions to this policy.

Are any of the Wild Connections wheelchair accessible?

Because these experiences take place behind the scenes and in some cases inside an animal exhibit their accessibility is limited. If you have specific questions or concerns, please reach out and we’ll try to be as accommodating as possible. 

Does my Wild Connection include admission to the zoo?

No. This is an add-on experience, and you will need to purchase a timed entry ticket for that day to ensure you are able to enter the zoo and participate in your Wild Connection.

Can I book a Wild Connection on a day or time not listed here?

Our Wild Connection timeslots cannot be adjusted or changed. They fit into the animals’ existing routine and preferences and allow for staff to facilitate these special experiences.

Why are Zebra and Cheetah offered together?

Our beautiful cheetahs do like meeting new people, but they prefer to have shorter visits and safety protocols require that we maintain a safe distance. We wanted to honor their needs while continuing to offer a meaningful and exciting experience, so we decided to couple that experience with meeting their next-door neighbors, the zebras!