The Zoo is not just for kids, adults can join in the fun too. From our famous Horse Hands programs, to custom Night Camps, the Zoo has something for you. Looking for something unique and fun for your next business event or social outing? Spend the night at the Zoo with a custom Night Camp program or have us come to you with our ZooToYou Outreach programs.
Presented by the Arthur L. and Elaine V. Johnson Foundation, these evening events showcase engaging speakers from around the world sharing stories about projects benefiting wildlife, habitats, and people. Many of these projects have been funded through the Zoo’s Conservation & Science Grants program, while others highlight important native species recovery efforts in our region. Our speaker series events are free to the public. Everyone is welcome, but content may be most appropriate for ages 10+.
Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of a zookeeper might be like? Do you want to experience a behind-the-scenes tour led by a person who knows the animals best? In this adults-only program, we provide an exclusive opportunity to learn from the animal experts—our zookeepers! Enjoy a pizza lunch while you ask questions that only a keeper can answer and listen to stories that only a keeper can tell. After lunch, be treated to a behind-the-scenes tour and animal experience. This unique experience is one of the best at the Zoo; you’ll truly understand the passion and dedication involved with being a zookeeper.
For adults ages 18+.
Program time: 12 – 1:45 p.m.
Member Adult Ticket $49 Adult Pair $80
General Adult Ticket $65 Adult Pair $105
Orangutan Keepers| What is an orangutan’s favorite food? Do they like to play just like we do? What are some of the challenges of working with such an intelligent, unique and strong animal? Come find out these answers and many more during an afternoon of fun and excitement as we discover what it takes to work with orangutans. Enjoy a pizza lunch alongside one of our orangutan zookeepers who answers questions and tells stories about the animals and their job. Following lunch, participants have an up-close look at the Zoo’s orangutans!
Carnivore Keepers| What makes the African painted dog the most successful hunters on the African savanna? What special care do carnivores require every day? Find out these answers and many more during an afternoon of fun and excitement as we discover what it takes to work with Africa’s most successful hunters. Enjoy a pizza lunch alongside one of our carnivore zookeepers who will answer questions and tell stories about the animals and their job. Following lunch, take a behind-the-scenes tour of an African carnivore’s night house. Delivering enrichment items to the animals is thrilling as we watch them demonstrate some of their amazing adaptations!
Elephant Keepers| What is it like to work with a 9,000 pound animal? Are elephants really as intelligent as some claim? Find out these answers and many more during an afternoon of fun and excitement as we discover what it takes to work with elephants. Enjoy a pizza lunch alongside one of our elephant zookeepers who will answer questions and tell stories about the animals and their job. Following lunch, we will take a short walk to the elephant area where we will embark on a special behind-the-scenes tour for an up-close look at what it takes to care for these amazing animals!
Animal Care Center Keepers| The Phoenix Zoo is fortunate to have our very own Animal Care Center, complete with designated veterinarians and animal care staff. It is a special place that serves as a hospital, doctor’s office and holding area for the many animals that call the Zoo home. Discover what it’s like to work in the animal care center and the rewards and challenges of caring for a variety of animals. Enjoy a pizza lunch alongside our animal care staff, who will answer questions and tell stories about the animals and their job. Following lunch, take a behind-the-scenes tour and see for yourself what it’s like to be an animal care professional!
Giraffe Keepers| Why do giraffes have such long necks? How do zookeepers reach that high to feed them? Find out these answers and many more during an afternoon of fun and excitement as we discover what makes giraffes such a favorite animal at the Zoo. Enjoy a pizza lunch alongside one of our giraffe zookeepers, who will answer questions and tell stories about the animals and their job. Following lunch, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the giraffe barn (the giraffes’ very large night house). Once we have appreciated their true size by touring the barn, we make our way to the giraffe deck where you have the opportunity for private, up-close interaction with one of our giraffes!
Conservation Center| What does the Phoenix Zoo do to conserve wild species? How do we collaborate with other organizations in an effort to protect and preserve the natural world? Find out these answers and more as you learn about the species we are working with on-site as well as off-site conservation projects we are supporting around the globe. Enjoy a pizza lunch alongside our conservation center staff, who will answer questions and tell stories about the animals and their job. Following lunch, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the conservation center and see for yourself what it looks like to save species!
Dates: Varies by instructor. (see below)
Price: $18 member/$18 general + admission to the Zoo (separate ticket or use membership)
Minimum program guests: 1
Maximum program guests: Maximum program participants: 6
Tips, tricks, and technique guidance abound in this casual walkabout program led by one of the Zoo’s expert volunteer photographers. This program is entirely focused on practicing skills, getting instant feedback, and having fun while capturing great images at the Zoo. While some dates may have a specific focus, participant interest shapes each class making this a dynamic and social experience for all. Whether your camera is professional quality or a phone camera, there is a walkabout program for you!
More info/How to be prepared:
- Walkabout programs are open to photographers with any type of camera or skill level, unless specifically noted otherwise.
- These programs have a casual, conversational feel and participants are encouraged to help guide the direction of the walkabout by expressing their interests and asking questions of the instructor.
- Being familiar with your camera (how to access settings, etc.) prior to the program is always appreciated. The walkabout programs focus on practice with (and feedback from) an expert photographer; this is not a lecture class.
- Bring your camera manual to the walkabout. Each camera brand and model can be slightly different. Our instructors are extremely talented photographers, but we’d never expect them to be fully versed in operating every single camera on the market. Your camera manual can be a useful tool for you and for the instructor.
- Consider signing up for multiple photo walkabouts. Our photographers each have different styles of instruction, personal interests and experiences which contribute to the walkabouts they lead. Additionally, engaging with fellow participants to learn from and share with each other makes each of these programs unique and dynamic.
- The Photo Walkabout program fee does NOT include admission to the Zoo. Non-members must purchase a Phoenix Zoo admission ticket along with the program.
Photo Walkabout Instructors:
These walkabout programs are led by Phoenix Zoo Volunteers, who are accomplished photographers with many years of experience and a unique level of expertise in a Zoo setting. You can frequently see their photographs featured on the Zoo’s social media pages and website.
John Qoyawayma has been taking photographs at the Phoenix Zoo for four years, but has been working in the field of visual media and marketing for over 30 years. He got his start in photography by color correcting photographs taken by others, specifically landscape panoramas. Around five years ago, he began doing commercial photography in his own studio. In addition to the commercial work he does, John enjoys photographing nature and wildlife, and capturing portraits.
John uses Nikon equipment and his favorite animal to capture images of at the Phoenix Zoo is the Ruppell’s griffon vulture. His style of teaching is to “keep it fun,” and he enjoys listening to what others want to learn and sharing with them in practical ways. John hopes to help photographers in the Photo Walkabouts he leads to truly enjoy the scenery and animals at the Zoo while continuing to perfect their photography skills.
- Saturday, November 18, 9:30 – 11 a.m.
- Saturday, December 16, 9:30 – 11 a.m.
Dave Seibert took some of his first photographs as a child at the Phoenix Zoo in 1965! He has been working in professional photojournalism for more than 40 years and is currently freelancing in photography and video storytelling with a variety of valley companies. Dave also teaches photojournalism and multimedia at the Walter Cronkite Journalism School at Arizona State University.
Dave uses Canon equipment. Though he has worked with the Phoenix Zoo both professionally and personally for many years and is a talented photographer of animals, he most enjoys capturing the emotion of those at the Zoo that walk on two legs – the people! Dave hopes to help photographers in the Photo Walkabouts he leads to learn how to see light, frame with composition techniques and wait for the right moment to take a photo.
- Wednesday, November 15, 9:30 – 11 a.m.
- Saturday, November 25, 5 – 6:30 p.m. (ZooLights – DSLR/mirrorless camera required)
- Thursday, December 7, 5 – 6:30 p.m. (ZooLights – cellphone required)
- Wednesday, December 13, 5 – 6:30 p.m. (ZooLights – DSLR/mirrorless camera required)
- Saturday, December 16, 5 – 6:30 p.m. (ZooLights – cell phone required)
- Thursday, December 21, 5 – 6:30 p.m. (ZooLights – DSLR/mirrorless camera required)
*Zoolights walkabouts require a DSLR or mirrorless camera.