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Panda Wild Encounters return; Toucan & Friends debuts

One of Zoo Atlanta’s most popular in-person behind-the-scenes experiences is back and modified for safety with the return of Giant Panda Wild Encounters, now available for booking after a hiatus of more than a year. The experience, which features an educational exploration of the species and individuals at Zoo Atlanta and an opportunity to go behind the scenes to meet and feed one of the adult bears, will run on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays beginning May 21, 2021. Reservations are required and are open now on

Capacity is limited, and masks and face shields are required for all participants throughout the duration of the program. Personal protective equipment will be provided by Zoo Atlanta. Learn more about the program’s other COVID safety measures on

In addition to welcoming the return of the Giant Panda Wild Encounter, Zoo Atlanta introduces Toucan and Friends, a brand-new Wild Encounter featuring an up-close-experience with Lupe the toco toucan and a chance to learn more about other feathered friends in the Zoo’s World of Wild Theater. Reservations are available now for the new program, which opens on June 1, 2021. Masks are required for all encounter participants ages 2 and up.

The Giant Panda Wild Encounter and the Toucan and Friends Wild Encounter join the four other Wild Encounters programs currently available: African Elephant Wild Encounters; Aldabra Tortoise Wild Encounters; Lemur Wild Encounters; and the new Rhino Wild Encounter, which opened in March 2021. Learn more or book a reservation for any of the six programs at

Zoo Atlanta is open daily with protocols and procedures in place to promote wellness, including timed ticketing; hand-sanitizing stations throughout grounds; and signage and other aids to encourage social distancing. Masks are strongly recommended for general admission. Masks are required for ages 2 and up for certain optional experiences, including Wild Encounters; giraffe feeding; gift shop entry; rides (Zoo train and Endangered Species Carousel); Treetop Trail; and indoor animal venues, including Scaly Slimy Spectacular, the naked mole rat building, and the Zambezi Elephant Center. Learn more or plan a visit at


Rachel Davis, Director of Communications
404.624.2812 – office
404.309.2238 – cell

Gavin Johnson
Public Relations and Communications Specialist
404.624.5980 – office

About Zoo Atlanta
A proud accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the gold standard for animal care and welfare, Zoo Atlanta has a mission to save wildlife and their habitats through conservation, research, education, and engaging experiences. The Zoo is home to more than 1,000 animals representing more than 200 species from around the world, many of them endangered or critically endangered. Highlights include giant pandas, including Ya Lun and Xi Lun, the only giant panda twins in the U.S.; one of North America’s largest zoological populations of great apes; and a global center of excellence for the care and study of reptiles and amphibians. Recent transformations include the new African Savanna, featuring new and expanded habitats for African elephants, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, warthogs, meerkats, and rhinos; Savanna Hall, a state-of-the-art special event destination in the newly restored historic former home of the Atlanta Cyclorama; and the new Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Plaza. For more information, visit

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