Capybaras are easy to find in zoos all over North America, but it’s not often that you get to pet them, feed them and have fun with these super friendly and cool animals.
If you’re looking for an exclusive and unparalleled capybara experience, you may have a hard time finding accurate and up-to-date information.
But what are the best wildlife preserves and petting zoos in the US that offer private tours and encounter with the capybaras?
Keep reading my article to find out the best capybara experiences in the US to check out in 2022.
What are the Capybaras and What Makes the Capybaras so Wholesome?
Capybaras Facts & Figures:
The Capybara is the largest species of rodent on earth, is a pack animal, and shares genes with some popular pets like the guinea pigs and chinchillas.
What makes the capybara stand out is the size. An adult capybara can reach up to 70-90 kg, and the dimensions and proportions of a dog.
The rodent also has pretty impressive swimming skills and can be submerged for up to 5 minutes.
Why are Capybaras the Chilliest Animals on Earth?
Capybaras gained popularity because of their friendly and sweet attitude, not only toward other capybaras but humans and other species as well.
They seem to love human touch and react to cuddling and scratches almost as a dog would.
Even wild capybaras are among the most polite and friendly species.
With some cities in South America expanding into territories that were inhabited by capybaras, we’re seeing more and more how this cute animal interacts with the developed world.
Capybaras appear to be pretty smart, and have been spotted crossing the streets on the crosswalk and even waiting for cars to stop for them. Such well-behaved citizens!
In North America, the easiest way to spend some time with a capybara is to visit one of the zoos in the US that hosts capybaras.
5 Zoos with Capybaras in the US Where you can Pet Them
Looking for the perfect family day? At the North Georgia Wildlife and Safari Park, you’ll be able to interact with the animals, including the capybaras.
The Park also organizes “capybara experiences” available upon booking. There are three main packages available:
- The Capybara and Friends Experience, grants you access to a petting zoo area where not only capybaras live, but also other species from South America. ($65/person)
- The Baby Capybara Experience, allows you to hang out with the smaller, baby capybaras, and even feed them. ($49/person)
- The Capybara Splash Experience is an August special for those looking to swim with the capybaras in the petting zoo’s pool. ($99/person)
The capybara experiences are family-friendly, however, children under 8 years old cannot participate for safety reasons.
You can reserve your spot at the next available capybara experience here.
The Tucson Petting Zoo is one of the few spots in the US where you can pet, feed, and play with the capybaras, in a much more relaxed setting compared to the classic zoo.
The locals love this location because of how loved and well-kept the animals are.
This is a perfect experience for children who are passionate about animals, as they can learn more about local and exotic species, and hang out with them in a peaceful environment.
At the Tucson Petting Zoo, you’ll find some classic farm animals, like goats, pigs, and chickens, but for a small fee, you’ll be able to access the Exotic Tour section, where the capybaras (and many other species) live.
The admission ticket for the capybaras petting zoo is $15, just a few dollars more than the general admission, and includes a kid-friendly tour with a knowledgeable guide.
3. Austin Zoo
Another fun and ethical way to meet with capybaras in the US is to hit the Austin Zoo.
The Austin Zoo is a registered NGO, and its mission focuses on rescuing and helping animals that have lost their home.
They don’t buy animals or ship them from exotic locations.
At the Austin Zoo, you’ll find animals that have been given a second chance: some of them were deemed too old for other facilities, confiscated due to animal cruelty, or were no longer needed as laboratory animals.
There, the animals are taken care of and live a quiet life. While Animal Encounters are available, the zoo only allows 1 group per day, and only on selected days during the week, to grant the animal enough rest.
Among the many species living at the Austin Zoo, you’ll find several Capybaras, and you can meet them.
The Capybara Encounters can be booked on the weekends, plus Monday and Wednesday.
Each encounter costs $40 and the minimum age for meeting the capybaras is 10 years old.
To book your capybara encounter, you can call the number 512.695.3021.
Amazing Animals Inc is a lovely preserve in Florida, whose mission is to promote wildlife conservation and education for people of all ages.
While Amazing Animals. Inc is mostly known for the sloths, the preserve hosts many different exotic species, including reptiles and of course, capybaras.
Booking a private tour of the whole preserve will grant you some hands-on time with the capybaras. You’ll be able to enter the capybara’s yard, pet them, and feed them freely, while the guide will teach you all about these friendly animals.
The guides at Animal’s Inc seem to have the animal’s wellbeing as a priority, so feel free to ask them the proper way to pet the capybaras, what they like, and what not to do.
The entrance fee to the tour is $50 per person, and there is no age restriction, which makes it perfect for families with smaller children.
Animal’s Inc is only open upon reservation, so book your private tour by calling 407.719.6269 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Cape May Zoo has recently welcomed new capybara puppies and has opened the bookings for the capybara encounters.
The guided encounter costs $400, a price that includes up to 4 participants. Any extra participant will have to pay a ticket of $75. This is one of the most pricy capybara experiences in the US, but for true capybara enthusiasts, it can be worth it.
On the bright side, the entrance to the zoo is free and capybaras can be observed roaming freely around the premises, especially in less visited parts of the zoo.
You can book the private encounter for $400, or you can try your luck and see if you can spot the capybaras around the zoo, completely for free.
The Cape May Zoo is free, so donations are extra important! If you want to make a game out of it, decide on an amount of money to donate, and sum that amount for each capybara you meet.
Can’t Travel Right Now? Book a Virtual Encounter with the Capybaras:
Animal’s Inc also allows for virtual tours and virtual encounters with the capybaras, a great option for those who can’t travel or are stuck at home because of the pandemic.
The guides will answer the zoom call together with the animal of your choice and will share information and fun facts about the animal.
The Zoom Calls with the capybaras last 15 minutes and costs $50.
You can also book comprehensive virtual tours and meet 8 different animals on the zoom call with the 60-minutes program for $150, which is probably a better option when it comes to value for money.
Can’t have pets? Adopt a Capybara long-distance!
The Zoo of Chester in the UK allows you to adopt a capybara and support the little animal without having to commit to adopting or keeping the capybara in the house.
This is a perfect gift for your capybara-lover friend or for a child that loves nature and animals. You can check out the adoption options here.
- The Bronze Adoption allows you to sponsor a capybara at the zoo and protect the species from going extinct.
- The Silver and Gold Adoptions also include tickets to the zoo and some zoo-related goodies. If you’re planning a trip across the Atlantic, the silver and gold packages may be the way to go: you can adopt the capybara first, and then pay a visit to the cute animal.
What animal do you want to see next?
Are you more passionate about marine life? Read my article on the 8 Best Aquariums in the US and start planning your next zoo experience with your family and friends.