Hidden Gems: Behind the Scenes at the Cincinnati Zoo

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden has a long list of awards and accolades, but it only takes one visit to experience the true passion our zoo has for its animals and keepers. Through educational programs, conservation events and behind-the-scenes tours, families can immerse themselves in special encounters with a few of Cincinnati Zoo’s most adored animals.

cincinnati zoo behind the scenes

Elephant Extravaganza

As part of the behind-the-scenes tours offered at the zoo, guests ages 5+ can come face to face with one of the world’s gentle giants: Asian Elephants. As part of the Elephant Extravaganza tour, private groups are led with a private photographer through the elephant house before watching one of the elephants paint a picture with colors of their choice. The 75 minute tour ends with a hands-on bath and opportunity to gently touch the elephant. Skip the tour and painting if you prefer just the bath experience!

cincinnati zoo behind the scenes

The Elephant Extravaganza tour begins behind-the-scenes where guests are invited in the back entrance of the elephant house. Inside, keepers show guests around the meal prep area where you can hold a real elephant tooth and see how large an elephant poops!

cincinnati zoo behind the scenes

The tour continues into the back of the house where large steel cylindrical barriers are placed to provide safety between the elephants and their keepers. The elephants are outside during this time so guests get to step inside the indoor enclosure. Once through the back of the house, an elephant is brought inside and quickly begins painting on a canvas for you to take home. As the keepers share more about the elephant’s lifestyle, you get to spray down and scrub the elephant in a warm shower.

Behind-the-Scenes at the Cincinnati Zoo

The zoo offers tours for several of their animals including giraffes, penguins, hippos, red pandas, kangaroos, sloths and tortoises. Each tour varies but includes a visit from one of the animals and a special look into their daily life at the Cincinnati Zoo.

3400 Vine St., Cincinnati | cincinnatizoo.org

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