Hersheypark Zoo: Is it Worth Visiting ZooAmerica in Hershey PA?

Guests visiting Hersheypark and looking for a quiet escape from the amusement park can walk over to ZooAmerica. This zoo is a great spot to relax and include in your day at Hersheypark.

ZooAmerica is a North American Wildlife Park located in Hershey PA. It is connected to Hersheypark and focuses on the wildlife of North America.

ZooAmerica is included in your admission to Hersheypark and can be a great mid-day escape from the park.

It is a quiet zoo that takes under 2 hours to tour, but it is a great place to learn about animals and have a break from the crowds at the park.

Hersheypark zooamerica entrance
Entrance to ZooAmerica is behind the Pioneer Frontier area of Hersheypark.

ZooAmerica Admission and Hours

ZooAmerica ticket is included with your Hersheypark admission ticket. Guests can also purchase tickets to the zoo only.

Individual zoo ticket prices are between $14.50-$16.50 a person.

The zoo is open most days of the year and can be a fun family attraction to visit during the off season.

ZooAmerica Map
Map of ZooAmerica at Hersheypark.

What Animals are at ZooAmerica

ZooAmerica focuses on the animals and wildlife of North America.

The zoo regions are set up through the regions of North America. They are:

  • Southern Swamps
  • Great Southwest
  • Eastern Woodlands
  • Big Sky Country
  • Northlands

ZooAmerica is small in size, but you get a great understanding of the animals. I liked that each of the regions were divided up by areas of North America.

This made it fun to relate to and discuss what might be in our own backyards.

ZooAmerica Alligator exhibit
Animal exhibit at ZooAmerica.

This is the perfect size zoo for families with small children. There is not a lot of walking but there is a lot to see for families.

ZooAmerica covers a lot and you can see the care and passion the zookeepers have for the animals.

The zoo also has 2 dining spots. Timber Treats is open year round and The Watering Hole is open seasonally. It is a perfect mid-day break during your visit to Hersheypark.

Behind the Scenes Tour at ZooAmerica

One of my favorite parts of the zoo was the opportunity to experience the Behind the Scenes Tours offered by ZooAmerica.

ZooAmerica has 2 Behind the Scenes tours: After Hours Tour and Early Bird Tour.

We did the After Hours Tour and I was so impressed with what we learned and got to experience. The After Hours Tour is $54.00 a person and has a maximum 10 people per tour.

You must make reservations for the tour and your tour allows you admission to the zoo for the day.

We started the after hours tour in the Zoo education room and learned a bit about owls and alligators. I got to hold an owl and touch an alligator!

One thing that was really neat about the tour is you have a say in what you experience, to some extent. The zoo keeper giving the tour encouraged us to participate and ask questions. The tour felt very customized to the needs and interests of the group.

ZooAmerica Education Tours
Meeting a new friend at the After Hour Tours at ZooAmerica.

After the education room we got a flash light and started our tour of the zoo. This was so cool and a new experience to be exploring a zoo after hours and at dusk.

We learned how the zoo works with the Hershey resort properties and uses their food scraps to supplement the diets of the animals. We also learned about animal enrichment programs the zoo does to keep the animals learning and engaged.

The kids from nearby schools create games and activities to engage the animals and then they watch their results.

I loved how the zoo had a community feel and everyone worked together to keep the animals safe and healthy.

ZooAmerica After Hours Tour
Feeding the bear was a very unique experience at the After Hours tour.

As we walked the grounds and learned more about the zoo we had an opportunity to feed the otters and the bears! Feeding the bears was such an incredible experience!

I was a bit scared at first but then I became more comfortable with it and the zoo tour guides were so helpful in making it a great experience.

There were a few tricks the bears had learned. These “tricks” help the zoo keepers check them for doctor visits and to monitor their health.

The After Hours tour was a huge highlight of our ZooAmerica visit and I can’t wait to bring the kids back to experience it.

The Early Bird Tour is similar but it is done before the zoo opens and you tour the other sections of the zoo. Both would be an amazing visit with kids.

Tips for ZooAmerica at Hersheypark

  • Plan a mid-day visit to the zoo during your visit to Hersheypark. Enjoy the quietness of the zoo and a chance to take a slower pace than the park.
  • Consider an after hours tour to enhance your visit to the zoo.
  • Make reservations for after hours tour before your visit.

My visit to ZooAmerica was great and I can’t wait to visit again with my family!

Read Next: Fun Things to Do in Hershey, PA Besides Hersheypark

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