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Book behind-the-scenes tours with the stars of ‘Secrets of the Zoo: Tampa’

by Samantha Davis-Friedman

Secrets of the Zoo: Tampa” held its season two premiere on July 12 at 9 p.m. on Nat Geo WILD — but if you missed season one, you can still catch up on all the animal-filled action on Amazon and Disney+.

secrets of the zoo

The popular six-part series shares behind-the-scenes stories of ZooTampa’s amazing animals and the dedicated team who cares for them. From rescued manatees that need round-the-clock critical care to the birth of an endangered white rhino, the series features heartwarming stories that not only highlight the zoo’s mission to protect and preserve animals, but also hope to inspire a new generation of wildlife champions.

secrets of the zoo

“At ZooTampa, our commitment is to each of the 1,100 different individual animals in our care,” says general curator Chris Massaro. “We’ll do anything for them,” adds associate curator Tiffany Burns. “This is why we do what we do.”

The human stars of the show are also offering unprecedented behind-the-scenes VIP tours with the chance to get exclusive updates on all the animal stars you fell in love with from season one, including Jamie and Johnny the greater one-horned rhinos and the rescued Florida manatees. Tours can be booked online, but hurry, because spots are limited and tours are filling up fast.

Here are the behind-the-scenes tours that are currently still available:

  • Join curator Chris on July 18 to learn more about top stories featured on the show, including a special stop to visit the zoo’s most famous pair from season one, Indian rhinos Jamie and Johnny.
  • Associate curator Burns will lead an adventure on Aug. 1 to get an update on everyone’s favorite panthers and orangutans and to meet the newest member of the ZooTampa family, a baby binturong.
  • On Aug. 8, lucky guests will take a safari to Africa with associate curator Mike to learn about some of the zoo’s most majestic species, including elephants and rhinos.
  • Be part of a training session on Aug. 15, with associate curator Sue and then explore the new clouded leopards and serval habitats.
  • On Aug. 22, Dr. Cynthia will lead a tour through the state-of-the-art animal hospital to learn what it takes to provide top-notch veterinary care to the 265 species that live at the zoo.

The cost for the tour is $100 for members and $125 for non-members (minimum age is 5 years old). Continental breakfast and a photo of your adventure are included. Masks are not required to enter the park but are strongly recommended. In addition, masks may be required on certain portions of the tour based on proximity to animals, staff, and other guests. If you do not have a mask, a disposable mask will be provided at no cost.

To learn more, visit ZooTampa.org/Secrets-Of-The-Zoo, and check out the trailer for season 2 below:

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