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Discovery Zoo

They are adorable, furry, feathered, and sometimes even scaly, but most visitors agree – the residents of the Discovery Zoo are a must-see on every trip to the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. Managed by the Live Animals Department, the Discovery Zoo consists of over one hundred animals and insects, ranging from entertaining river otters and engaging prehensile-tailed porcupines, to the ever-popular meerkats.

Live Animals Collection

Though the Discovery Zoo houses myriad Animal Ambassadors, some of the wet and wild animals can also be found in the Bieser Discovery Center and the Tidal Pool. The Bieser Discovery Center is home to some of the “creepiest” critters which are often misunderstood because of their "scary" appearance, while the Tidal Pool is home to crustaceans and other creatures that inhabit the shore. So whether you stop by the Bieser Discovery Center to hang out with Rajeev, the Museum’s 16-foot-long Burmese python, or take a trip to the Tidal Pool to discover an indoor shoreline, there are live animal experiences to be found around every corner of the Boonshoft Museum.

Featured Animal of the Month


In honor of Save the Frogs Day, our Featured Animal of the Month is Rio, our Amazon Milk Frog. Amazon Milk Frogs are from the Amazonian Basin and can measure 3" - 5". Rio is one of everyone's favorite education animals, so be sure to stop by and see him during public programming.

Celebration Save the Frogs Day by selecing an item for our amphibian friends using our Live Animal Amazon Wish List.


Book a Private Live Animal Experience

The Live Animals Department at the Boonshoft Museum now offers two options that allow guests to get an inside look at the Discovery Zoo and its adorable residents. With over 100 live animals, the Discovery Zoo and EcoTrek are home to all kinds of crazy critters, from our Two-toed sloth, Patience, to our charming Three banded armadillo, Sheldon.

Not only do these private programs allow guests to have hands-on interactions that our daily visitors don't typically experience, they also go behind-the-scenes with professional Zookeepers to care for our wonderful animals.


Behind-the-Scenes Interactive Tour of the Discovery Zoo

Experience the most unique behind-the-scenes zoo tour in the region. Not only will our professional live animal staff take you on a guided tour of the Discovery Zoo and EcoTrek Animal Ambassador Room, you will have the chance to feed our North American river otters, meet rainforest exhibit residents, craft an enrichment item for the meerkats or bat-eared foxes, interact with our most adorable animal ambassadors, and much, much more!

Perfect for small groups, this behind-the-scenes tour make a perfect gift experience, date night, or family outing.

Program includes:
• Private guided tour of EcoTrek Animal Ambassador Room, PLUS hands-on experiences with some of our amazing animal ambassadors, like Sheldon the three banded armadillo!
• Private guided tour of the Discovery Zoo and Preparation Areas
• Guests craft an enrichment item for either our bat-eared foxes or meerkats, then watch them interact and play with your special gift!
• Explore Splasher and Diver's holding enclosure, then feed them a delicious otter snack!
• Adventure into the Rainforest enclosure and feed/get up-close with our adorable prehensile tailed porcupine OR meet Patience the two-toed sloth, take a “sloth-selfie”, and feed her a yummy snack!

• Plenty of opportunities to snap some pictures with your favorite animals throughout the tour.
• Take home a porcupine quill to commemorate your visit with us!

Programs may be booked Tuesday - Saturday at either 5:30 p.m., 6:00 p.m., or 6:30 p.m.
Group sizes should be at a maximum of 6 and a minimum of 2; available to children 3 and up (1 adult must be in group).
Programming time: 1 hour
$75/person for groups sized 1-3, $250 flat fee for groups with 4-6 people.

Click here to begin the booking process for your Behind-the-Scenes Interactive Tour Experience


Jr. Zookeeper for the Day

Spend the morning walking in an actual Zookeeper's shoes, as you get exclusive behind-the-scenes time with the live animals of the Discovery Zoo. Not only will Jr. Zookeepers get hands-on interactions with adorable animals, they will also learn about the care that goes into keeping our crazy critters happy and healthy!

Perfect for small groups, this behind-the-scenes program makes a perfect gift experience, intimate birthday celebration, or family outing.

Program includes:
• Quality, hands-on time with our Discovery Zoo residents, while learning about the care given to our adorable Zoo residents to keep them happy and healthy!
• Become an animal chef and help prepare food for our hungry Zoo crew—delicious!
• Much like your domesticated pets play with toys, our live animals use enrichment items to keep them active and engaged. Guests learn about enrichment items and give them to the animals so they can have a blast!
• Our Zookeepers are accomplished animal trainers and caregivers; one of the most important things they do is handling our live animals properly. Jr. Zookeepers get their chance to hold animals in a way that keeps them happy and comfortable.

Programs are available the first and third Saturday of every month, from 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Children 4 - 13 years old may participate with an accompanying adult. Older children, 14 and up, may participate with the written permission of a parent or guardian.
Programming time: 2 hours
$75/participant; there is no additional fee to include one parent/guardian participant (if applicable)

Click here to begin the booking process for a Jr. Zookeeper program.

If you have questions about these prorgams feel free to email our friendly staff at zooprograms@boonshoftmuseum.org.

Animals Alive!

Our Education animals come to you, so students can get close and personal at your school or community gathering. Learn about the behaviors and habitats of some of our adorable, cuddley, creepy, and crawly animals. Programs are conservation-based, and explain how important each of these creatures is to the enviornment. Please email LiveAnimals@boonshoftmuseum.org for more information.

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