CHICAGO (CBS) — Looking to do a little more than just look at animals when you visit the zoo?
Brookfield Zoo now offers zoogoers the opportunity to get up close and interact with two different animals.
This summer the zoo launched two new experiences: a penguin encounter and a giraffe feeding program.
Guests can waddle like a penguin over to The Living Coast exhibit and choose to participate in a behind-the-scenes Penguin Encounter, which is offered daily at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Escorted by animal care staff, resident Humboldt penguins waddle into the room and “mingle” with guests for 45 minutes.
“Penguins, like people, have distinct personalities and interests that guests get to see firsthand. During the program, penguins are free to roam and waddle up to anyone they choose – and while one animal may be camera-shy, another individual may enjoy a good selfie or two. Staff also talk about the conservation work the Chicago Zoological Society is doing in Punta San Juan, Peru, to help preserve the habitat and abundant wildlife, including Humboldt penguins that live along the South American coastline,” a Chicago Zoological Society release read.
The Penguin Encounter costs $40 per person and is offered year-round. The encounter only allows 20 guests per time slot and reservations are required. Participants must be at least 5 years old, and an adult must accompany children between ages 5 and 18. Reservations can be made online or in the Coast Gift Shop next to the exhibit.
Zoogoers can also head to Habitat Africa! The Savannah to participate in giraffe feeding. The feeding costs $10 for a bunch of kale. Animal care specialists are on hand to answer questions and share information about the zoo’s giraffe herd. Giraffe feedings are offered daily on a first-come, first-served basis from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Brookfield Zoo’s giraffe feeding kicked off on Memorial Weekend and will be offered through Labor Day, weather dependent.