15:06 PM

Feed Animals, Touch Reptiles, and More at ZooAmerica in Hershey, PA

This post originally appeared on mommyknowswhatsbest.com

Learn all about the Behind the Scenes Tours at ZooAmerica in Hershey, PA. Learn all about the Behind the Scenes Tours at ZooAmerica in Hershey, PA.  Find out what animals you can meet, feed, or hold.

ZooAmerica Behind the Scenes Tours

Have you ever been up close to the animals at a zoo, held a bird of prey, touched an alligator, or fed bears? You can do all of this at the Behind the Scenes Tours at ZooAmerica in Hershey, PA!

ZooAmerica has three different Behind the Scenes Tours: Early Bird Tour, Photography Tour, and After Hours Tour. Depending on what tour you choose, you get to see a different variety of animals.

I was given a tour of ZooAmerica as part of the Sweet Welcome Blogger Program. 

ZooAmerica Animals

ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park and Zoo in Hershey PA

Have you ever been to ZooAmerica? All of the 200 animals at ZooAmerica are from the North American continent. You can see animals like:

  • black bear
  • river otter
  • grey wolf
  • coati
  • alligator
  • prairie dogs
  • rattlesnakes
  • armadillo
  • barn owl
  • and more!

ZooAmerica is committed to conservation efforts, including participating in Species Survival Plan Programs and other such programs.

Fun Fact: ZooAmerica, originally called the Hershey Zoo, was a private zoo built for the chocolate factory workers and their families in Hershey, PA. The first animals there were 12 prairie dogs! #funfact #hersheypa #zooamericaCLICK TO TWEET

ZooAmerica After Hours Tour

When I visited the zoo thanks to the Sweet Welcome, we were taken on the After Hours Tour at ZooAmerica, which I have to say was pretty awesome.

Available Wednesdays or Saturdays, the ZooAmerica After Hours Tour is recommended for ages 3 years and older, and it includes same day admission to the Zoo.

For the first part of our tour, we were taken to an education room to find out what we would experience on the tour and to meet a few animals. A few of the animals were in enclosures.

It was just the beginning, but I know my kids would have been thrilled to see even these little creatures! (Being that we have a bearded dragon, we’re kinda lizard fans here!)

ZooAmerica Animals Lizards and Painted Turtle

Our first up-close encounter was with Mumford, a little owl who was brought to zoo with a wing injury. We were given the opportunity to hold him, which was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up!

We then got to meet Drogo, a young American alligator. He is small, but still has sharp teeth, so we just got to reach out and feel his skin on his back or belly.

ZooAmerica Animals American Alligator

Next on the tour was a visit to The Southern Swamps, where we saw more alligators, snakes, Spoonbills, and an alligator snapping turtle, among other creatures native to the South.

ZooAmerica Animals The Southern Swamps

In The Great Southwest we were given flashlights to view animals that live in desert, grassland, and forest habitats. The lights in here were dimmed, but we were able to see the coati, armadillo, ocelot, and box turtles, along with a few species of lizards.

ZooAmerica Animals The Great Southwest

Nearby we were able to see a Barn Owl and learn about how the zoo builds nest boxes for Barn Owls. In fact, we learned that kids who attend the ZooCamp often help to build the boxes!

ZooAmerica Animal Conservation

After visiting the owl, we got an exclusive tour of the Health Center, where we saw where the animal’s food was prepared and where the animals go to get medical treatment.

Did you know that ZooAmerica doesn’t have an in-house veterinarian? Instead, veterinarians from the Hershey Medical Center visit to help with any sick or injured animals.

ZooAmerica Health Center for Animals

Last but not least, we watched the Bobcats feeding, helped to feed the River Otters, and finally feed the bears!

ZooAmerica Animals at Night

I have to say, feeding the bears and learning how they are trained tricks for health purposes was probably my favorite part of the tour!

The keeper showed us how to encourage the bears to do a few little tricks, like licking our thumb, putting up a paw, or standing up in exchange for a grape. These ‘tricks’ are actually ways that the keepers get to check out various areas of the bears’ bodies to make sure that they’re healthy.

ZooAmerica Animals Feeding the Bears

Note: We only saw the bears in their night time enclosure. They have a larger outdoor area to explore and play during the day!

Many thanks to ZooAmerica for this amazing experience! I would highly recommend it if you are in Hershey with your family. 

ZooAmerica Hours

ZooAmerica is open year round. On most days they open at 10 am, and depending on the time of year, they close as early as 4:30 pm and as late as 9pm. Check out the ZooAmerica Hours to plan your visit.

Does a Hersheypark Ticket Include ZooAmerica? 

If you purchase a Hersheypark ticket or get a Hersheypark ticket through the Hershey Lodge, you do also get admission to ZooAmerica with that ticket. Keep in mind however that you need to enter from the Hersheypark entrance, located near the Kissing Tower Hill Area of the park.

This admission does not include the Behind the Scenes Tours, however. 

Want to Go on a Behind the Scenes Tour at ZooAmerica? 

Interested? If you want to go on a Behind the Scenes Tour, you must pre-register and pre-pay 72 hours in advance. Limit 10 people per tour.

For more information and ticket prices, visit the ZooAmerica site.

Learn all about the Behind the Scenes Tours at ZooAmerica in Hershey, PA.  Find out what animals you can meet, feed, or hold.

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