Meet and greet an endangered African penguin!

At Penguin Coast, you can watch penguins waddle, swim, dive, and eat in North America’s largest African penguin colony. Want an even closer experience? Join us for a special Penguin Encounter! It’s your chance to meet and greet some of the Zoo’s endangered African penguins. Take part in an intimate, 30-minute encounter with a guided keeper experience, special photo opportunities, and up-close penguin connections.

*Note: In the event of rain the encounter will be held inside and may have to be slightly adjusted.


Encounter Times:
  • Weekdays: 2pm only
  • Saturdays & Sundays: 11:30am & 2pm
January – February:
  • Mondays & Fridays: 2pm only
  • Saturdays & Sundays: 11:30am & 2pm
Encounter length:
  • 30 minutes
Group Size:
  • No more than six (6) guests per encounter


Adults and children ages 8 & over:
(Children under 8 years of age are NOT permitted for this Zoo Experience)

  • $49 for Zoo Members
  • $59 for Non-members*
  • One ticket required per guest.
  • Children ages 8 through 15 must be accompanied by a ticketed adult on a 3 child: 1 adult ratio.
  • Purchase online, in advance.

Schedule a Penguin Encounter

*Prices do not include Zoo admission. Zoo admission tickets are required for each Zoo Experience attendee and must be purchased separately for non-Zoo members. If you are not a Zoo member, it is strongly recommended to purchase tickets in advance. You must make an online reservation for your date and an earlier entry time than your Penguin Encounter. If you are a Zoo Member, reservations are still recommended for the quickest entry process, but this is no longer a requirement. Zoo members may also show their membership card and photo ID to enter at the Main Gate.

Zoo members, to receive your ticket discount you must first create an account on the Zoo’s online store. Click below to register if you don’t already have an account. Once you do, you’ll automatically receive your Penguin Encounter discounts at checkout.

Create Member Account

Important Guidelines & Information:
  • Scheduling – Zoo Experience tickets are for the chosen date and time only. Zoo Experiences are non-transferrable and tickets cannot be used for a different date or time. Zoo Experiences are available on a first-come, first-served basis and fill up quickly. You may need to select another tour date and time if your preferred number of tickets is not available.
  • Additional Experience Guidelines – Children under 8 years of age are not permitted for this Zoo Experience. Children 8 through 15 years of age must be accompanied by a ticketed adult on a 3 child:1 adult ratio. You may share your experience with others.
  • Refunds – Zoo Experience tickets cannot be returned or refunded.
  • Rescheduling – Reservations may be changed up to 48-hours in advance of the scheduled experience and are subject to an Administrative Change Fee. Changes are not permitted within 48-hours of the scheduled experience. Tickets will be forfeited if your party is not present at the start time. Contact us at or call 443-992-4585.
  • Arrival – Zoo Experiences begin promptly at stated time. Once a Zoo Experience has begun, additional guests will not be permitted due to safety and tickets cannot be refunded or rescheduled due to lateness.
  • Dress – Masks are required. Avian Influenza has been detected in Maryland and as we monitor this situation, guests will need to wear a mask for the duration of the program. Closed-toed shoes are recommended. Shoe cleaning is required for all guests, even those wearing sandals, flip-flops, or open-toed shoes.
  • Accessibility – Zoo Experiences can accommodate guests using wheelchairs; however, strollers are not permitted. Service animals are not permitted on Zoo Experiences. Please contact us at or 443-992-4585 with any accessibility needs in advance of your experience.
  • Cancellation – Zoo Experiences are weather, staff, and animal dependent. The Zoo will contact ticket holders with any changes or cancellations as soon as a decision has been made regarding the status. The Zoo reserves the right to cancel or end an experience for any reason, including guest behavior.


Call 443-992-4585 from 10am-4pm daily or email