School & Group After Hours Programs

Experience the Zoo at night through night hikes, a hands-on investigation to explore different types of African predators, and up-close animal encounters with some of our Education animal ambassadors. Our After Hours experiences also include a sneak peek behind-the-scenes.

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Dates: you pick, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday evenings; March-mid-November
Time: Sunset Safari: 7:00-10:00pm, Overnight Adventure: 7:00pm-9:00am
Cost: See details under each program offering below.
Capacity: See details under each program offering below.

The Booking Process

The Booking Process

  • Find the program that best fits your group by looking at the program details below
  • When you are ready, make a program request through our Online Request Form. Select up to 3 dates your group is available.
  • If one of your dates is available and you’re ready to book, we will book your program and send a confirmation/invoice.
    • If your dates are not available or you request more information, a member of the Education Team will be in touch.
  • Once your booking is confirmed, a 25% non-refundable deposit is due within two weeks.
    • At this time, we will need your best, highest number of participants.
    • Final numbers are due two weeks prior to your program. The final number of participants must match or be less than the booked numbers. You will not be able to increase participant numbers after booking.
  • Once booked, you will receive a link to access more information about your program, including where to park, what to bring, and a general itinerary.
  • Two weeks before your program date, your group’s final numbers and balance are due.
    • The final number of participants must match or be less than the booked numbers.

Program Offerings

African Predator Prowl

Prowl the Zoo at night in search of predators from Africa and beyond while learning about the vital role of predators and humans in a healthy ecosystem. We’ll go behind-the-scenes to see what life is like as an African animal caregiver, including seeing keeper prep areas and kitchen.


Cost: Sunset Safari: $45/participant, Overnight Adventure: $50/participant. For Schools: paid school staff free
Capacity: 15-90 participants (including chaperones/teachers). Participants will be split into smaller groups and paired with an educational instructor for the night.

When booking, you will give us your best, highest number of participants and pay your 25% deposit. Once your program is booked, your final number of participants must match or be less than you booked number of participants.

Learning Outcomes:

During Africa Predator Prowl, we will prowl the Zoo for predators, explore the intricate food webs that support these animals, and learn how African animals and people coexist across the shared land.

  • Identify what a predator’s role is and discuss how they affect their ecosystems
  • Understand food-webs and uncover the broad implications when the balance is disrupted.
  • Discover different conservation organizations that help humans and wildlife coexist
  • Explore modern challenges of wildlife management, and species’ success stories.

Overnight Adventure Sleeping Arrangements:

  • Your group will sleep in the Harold C. Schott Education Center’s classrooms surrounded by the Discovery Rainforest, including the Oliver Nicholson Memorial Sloth Habitat.
  • Each classroom sleeps up to 12 people, your group will be separated across the classrooms.

School Standards and Scouts:

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Sleep with the Manatees

Explore the diversity of life on Earth while spending the night with our resident manatees!

Groups will meet some of our diverse animal ambassadors from both the United States and beyond, take a night hike to explore the diversity at the Zoo, take a sneak peek behind-the-scenes to see what it takes to care for our zoo residents like the manatees!


Cost: Sunset Safari: $55/participant, Overnight Adventure: $60/participant. For Schools: paid school staff free
Capacity: 15-60 participants (including chaperones/teachers). Participants will be split into smaller groups and paired with an educational instructor for the night

When booking, you will give us your best, highest number of participants and pay your 25% deposit. Once your program is booked, your final number of participants must match or be less than you booked number of participants.

Learning Outcomes:

During Sleep with the Manatees, we will explore the Zoo and learn about diversity and different wildlife management programs. We will also take a dive into:

  • Biodiversity, where it can be found and how we play a significant role in protecting it
  • Eco-regions, specifically the Florida Everglades, and how relationships within make them so significant
  • The Florida manatee, discover why it is endangered, what the Zoo is doing, and what you can do to help
  • Human impact to biodiversity

Overnight Adventure Sleeping Arrangements:

  • Your group will sleep in the Manatee Springs Building, in front of the Florida Manatee habitat! You can fall asleep to the Florida manatees, fish, and other wildlife surrounding you.
  • The Manatee Springs Building is one large space, your entire group will sleep together.
  • You and your group will be parking in the Education Center parking lot and will carry your items to the Manatee Springs building.

School Standards and Scouts:

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Twiga Tented Safari

Transport yourself to Africa during this high-end tented camp overnight experience at the Zoo!

Built on the edge of Giraffe Ridge, Twiga Tented Safari offers an intimate, high-end, and authentic African adventure at the Zoo including special encounters with African animals, unique behind-the- scenes sneak peaks, comfortable cots in safari tents, a continental breakfast, and so much more!

*Available April – October


Cost: Overnight Adventure: $900/tent
Capacity: maximum 4 tents/40 participants (including chaperones/teachers). This experience is booked per tent with each tent sleeping up to 10 people with up to four tents available. No minimum participant required.

When booking, you will give us your best, highest number of participants and pay your 25% deposit. Once your program is booked, your final number of participants cannot exceed the number of tents you have booked.

Note: Sunset Safari style is not available for this program.

Experience:

During the Twiga Tented Safari adventure, your group will experience unique opportunities only available to this program, including:

  • Behind-the-scenes sneak peeks to see what life is like as an African animal caregiver including keeper prep areas and kitchen space
  • Up-close animal encounters with different Education animal ambassadors
  • A provided bonfire snack at the end of the night and a continental breakfast in the morning
  • A bonding experience you will never forget!

Sleeping Arrangements:

  • This high-end experience allows you and your group to sleep in our African Safari tents located in the Twiga Tented Camp.
  • Twiga Tented Camp sits on the edge of Giraffe Ridge which provides a stunning close-up with our giraffes in the morning when you exit your tent!
  • Each tent sleeps up to 10 people on comfortable cot bunk beds.

School Standards and Scouts:

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School Program Grant

We offer a limited number of Living Classroom Education Access Fund (LCEAF) grants to qualifying school groups. These grants can be used for a variety of Educational programming, including our African Predator Prowl and Sleep with the Manatees programs! The grant covers the entire cost of the program, including one chaperone/teacher for every 7 students.

Applications typically take up to 3 weeks to process and approve. To expedite the review of your application, please be sure to include all required forms and complete all required questions before submission. Failure to do so will delay the review of your application.

Family & Adult Programs

This season we will be offering Sunset Safaris throughout the months of April – October for families and adults. Visit our After-Hours Programs page to view available dates! Registration open!


Family Sunset Safari: Goodnight Zoo

Join us as we say “goodnight” to some daytime animals and “good morning” to some of our nighttime friends. For families with children ages 5 years+.

Adult Sunset Safari: The African Sundowner

Join us for a two-part adventure! An interactive social hour with drinks and light bites and a visit from a unique animal is just the beginning. Then, small tour groups led by Zoo Educators will explore the Zoo after hours. For adults 21 years+.

Private Events

We also offer private events from picnics & birthday parties to weddings & buyouts! Bring your guests to the wildest place in Cincinnati. Check out our Private Events page for more information.


Behind-The-Scenes Program

Sunset Safaris and Overnight Adventures offer amazing behind-the-scenes sneak peeks into what it is like to be a Zoo Keeper among night hikes and up close animal encounters with some of your favorite animal ambassadors. If you loved your BTS sneak peek experience, check out our exclusive Behind-The-Scenes programs! Behind-The-Scenes programs immerse you with specific animals. We have private Behind-The-Scenes opportunities, Daily Wild Encounter Add-Ons, and Virtual options. Learn more here.

All Programs FAQs

What is the Covid-19 masking policy?

Masks are required for all attendees during animal experiences and behind-the-scenes, regardless of vaccination status.

Please bring a mask. Masks are required for everyone during certain animal experiences and behind-the-scenes. Please note that mask policies may change at any time and may vary by program/location and general admission.

What is the length of the program?

Sunset Safaris

  • A Sunset Safari experience runs 7:00pm – 10:00pm.

Overnight Adventures

  • The entire Overnight Adventure experience spans 7:00pm – 9:00am the next morning.
  • It offers the same night program as a Sunset Safari, your group will just stay the night after the program ends!
  • Wake up is at 7:00am. The morning includes breakfast and an experience, running from 7:45am – 9:00am.
    • Note: Twiga Tented Safari includes a continental breakfast and special experience

How old must participants be?

  • For Schools: Our programs are designed for 2nd graders – college, and their chaperones.
  • For Scouts, Youth Groups, Church Groups, Families, etc.: Participants must be at least 5 years old to attend.

What should we bring for the program?

All Programs

  • Participants should wear closed toed shoes and weather appropriate clothing. Please bring a refillable water bottle to use at our water refill stations.

Overnight Adventures Specific Items

  • In general participants will need to bring sleeping supplies (sleeping bag, pillow, blanket, etc.), a change of clothes, and night care items (toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.). Once you have registered your group, you will receive a detailed packet of information.

What is the earliest/latest we can arrive?

The Education Building entrance will open 15 minutes prior to your program beginning. If you arrive early, please wait patiently in the Education Parking Lot until we are ready for you.

You are attending a Zoo program when the Zoo is closed. Late arrivals can only be accommodated via a previously discussed arrangement.

What is your weather policy?

Programs happen rain or shine. Rain & wind may affect some program activities, such as where activities take place. If severe weather is imminent, we have safety locations we will remain until it has passed. Your safety during a program is our top priority!

Will our entire group be together for the program?

Your entire registered group will be split up into smaller tour groups and paired with instructors. These groups will remain separate for most of the night but will return together for sleeping and in the morning.

Schools & Groups FAQs

For Schools & Groups: What is the chaperone minimum?

  • A minimum of 1 adult per 7 children is required.
  • Chaperones, teachers, and students all count toward the group size maximums.
  • For Schools: Teachers and paid school staff can participate in the program free of charge. All other chaperones are paid participants.
  • Chaperones/teachers are expected to actively participate in the program, including accompanying students on night hikes and spending the night.

For Schools & Groups: What is your payment policy?

  • A 25% non-refundable deposit is required during booking. This deposit is due no later than two weeks after you have booked your program date. This deposit will be applied to your total program fee.
  • Finalized participant numbers (including chaperones and teachers) and the rest of your program fee is due no later than two weeks prior to your program date.
  • Accepted payments include check, credit/debit card, or purchase order. If you are paying with a PO, we require a copy of the actual PO; numbers only will not be accepted.
  • Please call our Education Registrars at 513-559-7730 to finalize details and provide the rest of your program fee.
  • Checks can be made out to: Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Please put your order number in the memo line of your payment.
    • Mail: Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, ATTN: Education Department, 3400 Vine Street, Cincinnati Ohio 45220

For Schools & Groups: What if we need to cancel or reschedule?

Reschedule Policy

  • If you need to reschedule, your group may reschedule up to two weeks prior to your program date. Your non-refundable deposit will be applied to your new date.
  • If your group reschedules within the two week time period, you will be subject to an additional $150 rescheduling fee.

Cancellation Policy

  • If you choose to cancel your program without rescheduling, no refund can be given.

Overnight Adventures Specific FAQs

For Overnight Adventures: Where will we sleep?

Please see the individual programs to view specific sleeping arrangements.

For Overnight Adventures: Can we stay the next day?

Your School or Group may decide to enjoy the Zoo after your program ends the next day. You must discuss your stay with our Registration team. Please coordinate with the Education Registration team for bussing/car pick up. If you are keeping cars overnight, we will ask you to move them to our main parking lot in the morning.

CALL OR EMAIL: 513-559-7730 OR [email protected]

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