6 Zoos with Hippos in the US Worth Visiting

There are many reasons you should visit on of the US Zoos with Hippos this year: has meeting a hippo always been your dream? Are you looking to make your hippo-obsessed child or significant other very happy?

Then you should look into the zoos in North America that offer special encounters with these majestic animals.

I have selected here the best options and package experiences for hippo lovers.

Read the article to find out where to meet the hippos, where you can feed them, and even where to paint with them.

US Zoos with Hippos You Can Meet

Zoos with hippos in the US

1. San Antonio Zoo: Meet the Hippos at the Behind-the-Scenes Up Close Encounter

Tickets: Standard Admission for adults start at $22. Tickets for children under 11 years old cost $17 and toddlers under 3 years old enter for free. For the Close Encounter with the hippos, the cost per person is $39.99.

The San Antonio Zoo is a great option for families with kids who wish to have a unique and fun experience with the hippos. The zoo itself is super family-friendly, with the various exhibits very close to one another, to ensure constant entertainment.

The zoo offers several Behind-The-Scenes experiences with the animals, including the hippos. You can book your close encounter with the hippos of the San Antonio Zoo here.

To complete the day, adopting a hippo may be a perfect idea. I don’t mean bringing the hippo home, or do I?

Adopting a Hippo means sponsoring an animal through the Zoo, but the Adopt a Hippo packet will also get you a few goodies, including a super cute hippo plush.

Additionally, you’ll get a certificate of adoption and a picture of the adopted animal. Plus of course the satisfaction of donating to the well-being of the hippos.

You can adopt a hippo through the San Antonio Zoo here.

2. Cincinnati Zoo: Paint with the Hippos with the Hangin’ with Hippos Experience

Feed the hippos Zoo

Tickets: General admission tickets to the zoo cost $10 to $24 depending on the age. Parking is $10. Hangin’ with Hippos tickets cost span from $650 to $1625 and can include up to 5 guests. The Hippo Barn Tours tickets are $40 per person.

Age Restrictions: must be 10+ years old to participate in the Hangin’ with Hippos activity, and 7+ years old to take part in the Hippo Barn Tours.

The Cincinnati Zoo offers two kinds of “Wild Encounters” with the hippos:

  • The Hangin’ with Hippos experience at the Cincinnati Zoo is something you’ll remember forever, as its not just any meet-up with the animals: During the tour, you’ll see the hippos during their training, then you’ll also get to express your creativity and participate in a canvas painting class with the hippos.
    You can check out the official behind-the-scenes website to book your hippo encounter or to gather more specific information on the tour.
  • Hippo Barn Tours: much less expensive but still fun, the Hippo Barn Tour can be a great experience for hippo-lovers.
    This semi-private tour won’t get you to pet or feed the hippos, but you’ll get close enough and you’ll certainly learn a thing or two about hippos from the experts and guides. You can purchase your Hippo Barn Tour ticket here.

The Cincinnati Zoo also hosts after-hours events regularly. The youngest hippo at the Cincinnati Zoo was born on the premises and is called Fiona.

If you’re interested in learning about Fiona’s life story and supporting her, you can participate in her summer event Fiona’s Sundae Fundae.

Zoos Where You Can Feed the Hippos

3. Busch Gardens at Tampa Bay: Get on the Hippo Insider Tour

Hippo encounters US

Tickets: Entrance tickets to the park cost around $90, with significant discounts for purchasing 2-day entrance tickets. The Hippo Insider Tour tickets start at $30 per person.

Age Restrictions: Must be 8+ years old to meet the hippos.

At the Busch Gardens at Tampa Bay, you’ll find several hippos, and you’ll get the chance to feed them and interact with them personally.

You can book your spot on the Hippo Insider Tour here, to avoid it being sold out when you arrive.

The Busch Gardens is not just a zoo. Sure, you can spend your day meeting the many animals that live on the premises, but there is much more for the whole family to do and have fun with.

Busch Gardens include amusement park rides such as animal-themed roller coasters and kayak water attractions.

There are circus shows every weekend, where you can admire professional acrobats defeating gravity, and even firework shows and a Sesame Street-themed show.

4. Gulf Breeze Zoo: Hippo Encounter on a Budget

Hippos in Zoos US

Tickets: Regular admission tickets for adults are $26, while for children under 12 are $19. Small children under the age of 2 can enter free of charge. Hippo Encounter Tickets are $30 per person.

Age Restrictions: kids must be 6+ years old to participate in the Hippo Encounter at the Gulf Breeze Zoo.

The Gulf Breeze Zoo features 2 Nile Hippos, and you can meet them up close with the Hippo Encounter experience.

You’ll be accompanied by experts in the habitat of the hippos, and you’ll be able to feed the animals under close supervision.

You can book your Hippo Encounter at the Gulf Breeze Zoo here.

If you love to feed animals at the Zoo, the Gulf Breeze Zoo is a great option. You can purchase snacks suited for the exotic animals at the gift shop and feed the giraffes, camels, and alligators.

5. Tanganyika Wildlife Park: Meet the Pup Pygmy Hippo

Where to see the hippos zoos US

Tickets: The Single-day Pass costs from $30 to $40, except from August 1st to 7th, when you’ll be able to enter the zoo for only $15.

The single-day Unlimited Pass costs $60 per person and grants you unlimited access to the animal’s feeding stations. Tickets to meet with the Pygmy Hippo are $77/person.

The Tanganyika Wildlife Park is all about interacting with the animals, feeding them, and getting close to their habitat to engage with them.

  • Feed the hippos: The Regular Ticket gets you to 5 animal feeding stations, while the Unlimited Ticket allows you to access all of the feeding stations.
    At the Tanganyika Wildlife Park live two hippos, mother and son, called Posie and Yeti. You can feed them once a day during the off seasons and twice a day during the summer. You can check the specifics for the hippo feeding station here.
  • The newest addition to the hippo cove at Tanganyika Wildlife Park is the famous small pygmy hippo. You can meet the worldwide popular pygmy hippo every weekend. I recommend booking in advance your private time with this incredibly cute animal here.

Other Zoos with Hippos in the US

6. Dallas Zoo: Hippos Keeper Chats

Day out of town at the zoo

Tickets: General Admission tickets span from $8 to $21 depending on age and seasonal discounts.

The Dallas Zoo hosts daily Keeper Chats, scheduled meetings available every day, where you’ll have the chance to listen to the animal’s official keeper and expertly discuss the habits, characteristics, and lifestyle of your favorite species.

The Hippo Keeper Chats are held every day at 2:30PM in the Wilds of Africa section of the Zoo, right outside the hippo’s habitat area.

Want to make a difference for Hippos worldwide?

Adopt a Hippo with the WWF

Did you know you can adopt a Hippo with WWF?

The current extinction status for hippos is unfortunately rated as “Vulnerable”.

With their natural habitat being more and more damaged by climate change and pollution, international associations will accept all the help they can get to avoid hippos from going extinct.

Something fun you can do to help is to symbolically adopt a hippo with WWF.

WWF offers several different options for adopting a hippo, from very cheap to more expensive. The donations made will go towards the shared goal of protecting the species.

The $25 adoption kit will get you a certificate, a picture, and a species card.

From the $60 kit to the $100 kit, you’ll also get a lovely hippo plush and a gift box with WWF goodies.

For a truly outstanding donation, you can’t go wrong with the $250 Giant Hippo Adoption Kit, which includes a much larger plush.

Meet More Animals Around the US’s Best Zoos

For more Zoo adventures and day out of town ideas with your family and friends, check out my latest post on the 11 Best Zoos in the US to Visit in 2022.

If you’re a fan of exotic animals, you can’t miss out on the 9 US Zoos with Koalas You Can See, the Best Zoos With Capybaras in the US, or 8 US Zoos With Red Pandas to Add to Your List.

What about animals of the arctic circle? I have selected the best 8 US Zoos With Polar Bears You Should Visit Soon in my latest article.

Go Out and Explore