Birmingham Zoo
  • Today's Regular Hours: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Behind-the-Scenes Encounters & Experiences

Behind-the-Scenes Encounters & Experiences

Behind-the-Scenes Encounters & Experiences  

Come walk on the wild side at the Birmingham Zoo with our Behind-the-Scenes Encounters!   

   On these unique experiences, you’ll get an insider’s look at how the Zoo cares for our animals. Encounters are led by a Zoo educator and include a tour of behind-the-scenes animal areas, time with our expert Animal Care Professionals, and a special opportunity to meet animals up close. These unique moments can only be had at the Birmingham Zoo and will build memories that last a lifetime!

Behind-the-Scenes Encounter – African Elephants 2024

Available at 1:30 p.m. for the following dates.

  • April 20
  • May 18
  • June 15
  • July 20
  • August 17
  • September 21
  • October 19
  • November 16
  • December 21

Ever wanted to get up close to the largest land mammal on earth? Come and meet our elephants! Learn about and see firsthand how we care for our African elephant herd on this behind the scenes tour of the elephant barn including a private training session! Tours meet in the main entry plaza and proceed to the elephant barn in the Trials of Africa. The full experience will last about one hour.

Click here to register for Elephant Behind-the-Scenes. Members must navigate to “Sign in” on the upper right on the booking page to receive discounted rates.

Behind-the-Scenes Encounter – American Black Bears  2024

Available Every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. till the end of August  

Care to venture closer and encounter Alabama’s state mammal? This unique opportunity gives you the chance to watch a private training session as well as get an inside look at our bear den. You will have the opportunity to learn all about our resident bears “Bety” and “Sassy” and how we care for them. Tours meet in the entry plaza and proceed to the AL Wilds Trail. This full experience will last about an hour. 

Click HERE to register for American Black Bears Behind-the-Scenes. Members must navigate to “Sign in” on the upper right on the booking page to receive discounted rates. 



Registration is per person. Encounters accommodate a limited number of registrants in each date/time. Encounters are not private experiences. If you would like to book a private encounter, please email for pricing and availability. 

Online ticket sales end 48 hours in advance of each tour date. Members purchasing tours will receive 25% discount on tour registrations. Members must select “member rate” and be logged to receive discounted rates. Anyone not covered by a current membership (i.e. tour reservations purchased by non-members or by members as gifts or for additional individuals not on their membership) must purchase registration + general admission options.


  • BTS Encounter Member Rate –$60
  • BTS Encounter Member Rate + Adult General Admission:$74.96 ($60 +$14.96)
  • BTS Encounter Member Rate + Senior General Admission: $72.71 ($60 + $12.71)
  • BTS Encounter Member Rate + Child General Admission: $71.21 ($60 + $11.21)


  • BTS Encounter Non-Member Rate + Adult General Admission:$99.95 ($80 + $19.95)
  • Encounter Non-Member Rate + Senior General Admission: $96.95 ($80 + $16.95)
  • BTS Encounter Non-Member Rate + Child General Admission: $94.95 ($80 + $14.95)


  • AGE: Guests 5 years old and older are welcome on most Encounters. Additional age restrictions are noted in each experience description, if applicable. Guests 12 years of age and under must be accompanied by a paying adult.
  • ACCESSIBILITY: All Behind the Scenes Encounters enter working areas of the Zoo that may not be wheelchair accessible. Service animals are not permitted to enter behind the scenes areas or animal habitats. Modifications for accessibility can be accommodated. Please contact us with accommodation requests at least 48 hours prior to your program to help us build the best possible experience.
  • SAFETY: For the safety of our staff and animals, all participants must wear closed-toe shoes in animal areas. Some animal areas may require a surgical mask before entrance. Masks will be provided if needed
  • CANCELLATION:Behind the Scenes Encounter purchases are non-refundable. Requests to reschedule experiences must be received at least 48 hours in advance and are subject to availability. Encounters missed without prior notification will not be rescheduled. Any program involving animals is subject to change or cancellation by the Zoo based on animal or human safety considerations, including severe weather. Every effort will be made to offer alternate areas or reschedule tours.
  • WAIVER: All participants must complete a liability waiver prior to the encounter. Parent/guardian signatures will be required for all participants 18 and under.
  • CONDUCT: Participants will enter working areas of the Zoo and be in close proximity to Zoo animals. Participants must follow instructions from Zoo staff at all times. Participants who are disruptive and/or do not follow staff instructions may be removed from the encounter without a refund.

If you have any questions, please contact our Education department at or by calling 205.397.3877