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Holiday in the Gardens Hours:  CLOSED

Animal Experiences

Go behind the scenes with our team and meet some of our animals

Private Penguin Encounter

Schedule your own private penguin encounter. This 45-minute encounter includes a piece of Penguin Art and Aquarium Pyramid admission. Reservations required, either online or in person. 

WED - SUN: $425 For group up to 4 people

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Penguin Art

Private Giant River Otter Encounter

Currently Unavailable

Private otter encounters are available for up to 4 people. This 45 minute session includes an otter painting for each participant and admission to the Rainforest Pyramid. Reservations required, online or in person. 

SAT - SUN: $425 For group up to 4 people 

  1.  Book Your Private Otter Encounter 

Public Penguin Encounter

Go behind the scenes with our biologist and meet a real penguin! In this 45-minute session, you'll start in the food prep kitchen and the back of the exhibit while discussing penguin biology, conservation, training, enrichment and care. You'll even witness a penguin creating a painting as part of the animal's enrichment activity.

Tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis to be purchased at least 20 minutes prior to the scheduled time. An Aquarium Pyramid ticket purchase is required. Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Children 3 and under are free.

Public Penguin Encounters are offered Wednesday- Sunday. Each public encounter has 10 tickets available with ticket sales closing 15 minutes prior to the event. The encounter is approximately 45 minutes in duration. Guests are to meet the keeper at the South Atlantic exhibit at 11 am.

* Aquarium admission ticket is required (sold separately)*

* Starting Sept. 17 Public Penguin Encounters will be at 11am Weekends Only


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Penguin Experience

Penguin & Seal Experience

Currently Unavailable

Experience what it’s like to be a keeper at the South Atlantic and North Pacific exhibits for a day caring for the penguins and seals in this 4-hour behind the scenes adventure. You'll assist biologists cleaning the penguin exhibit, preparing their diet, watching training sessions and meeting a seal. You'll feed the penguins and creating a piece of penguin art to take home. Lunch with the biologist is included. Maximum three participants (must be 16 years or older). Please wear comfortable clothes and closed-toed shoes. Reservations required two weeks prior at 409-683-4102 or Participants must be at 16 years or older.

$250.00 PER PERSON

Public Giant River Otter Encounter

Currently Unavailable 

Go behind the scenes with our biologist to learn about otter biology, conservation and how these amazing animals are cared for in their private interior exhibit area in this 45 min. experience. Limited to maximum of 6 people. Children ages 6 and under are not permitted and those under 12 must be accompanied by and adult. Reservations required at least two days prior through

1:30 p.m.


Proceeds from animal encounters fund conservation efforts. 

*Please Note: Because these are special, behind-the-scenes experience, and participants are allowed in staff-only areas, it is not wheelchair accessible.

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