Interested in meeting Southwick’s Zoo’s white rhinos, Thelma and Louise, up close and personal? Rhino Encounters provide zoo visitors the unique opportunity to meet these two amazing creatures up close and personal while learning more about rhinoceros conservation.
Rhino encounters last about an hour in total. Participants will first watch a brief video in our EARTH Discovery Center about rhinoceros conservation. After this video, participants are brought to the encounter area where they get to meet and touch the zoo’s white rhinos, Thelma and Louise!
Have a question about Rhino Encounters? Email Betsey Brewer at [email protected].
What is the goal of rhino encounters?
We are working with EARTH Limited, the environmental education non-profit based in our zoo, to offer our visitors a unique way to learn more about and support rhino conservation. Our goal is to have participants leave with a better understanding of the poaching crisis and a greater desire to contribute to conservation efforts for rhinos after spending time with Thelma and Louise.
The majority of proceeds from rhino encounters are donated to rhinoceros conservation, with most of the proceeds benefiting Project Rhino, a program founded by Wildlife ACT. The remaining proceeds support EARTH’s educational and conservation projects. Funds donated to Project Rhino support anti-poaching and rhino conservation strategies including ranger training, equipment & resources for game reserves, community education programs, informant funding, legislation & lobbying, and other initiatives.
RULES AND GUIDELINES
- Rhino Encounters are only available during the normal zoo season (mid-April through October).
- Rhino Encounter participants must be at least 12 years of age. Those under 18 must also be accompanied by a paid adult.
- Spots are limited and must be reserved online at least 24 hours in advance.
- Zoo passes, gift cards, coupons, discounts, or other offers cannot be applied to the price of rhino encounters.
- Rhino Encounters take place before the zoo opens for the day, so only paid and registered rhino encounter participants are allowed entry into the zoo during the encounter.
- We suggest wearing comfortable closed-toe shoes. We DO NOT recommend wearing flip flops or sandals.
- Cancellation/Reschedule Policy: If you need to cancel your encounter, we require at least 1 week’s notice for full refund. If you need to reschedule to another date, please contact us at least 1 week in advance with a new desired date. We cannot reschedule encounters to a date that does not have an appropriate number of openings remaining, so please check the list of dates on the registration page first.
- If poor weather is predicted for the day of your encounter, you may reschedule to another date. In this case, please try to contact us with a new date as early as possible to reschedule.
Non-Member: $159 (+ Eventbrite fees) / Per Individual Participant
EARTH Member: $139 (+ Eventbrite fees) / Per Individual Earth Member Participant
Includes: An encounter with our two white rhinos and admission to Southwick’s Zoo for the day of your encounter.
Note: Rhino Encounters take place at 9:00am. Rhino Encounters take place before the zoo opens for the day, so only paid and registered rhino encounter participants are allowed entry into the zoo during the encounter. Please meet us at 9:00am at the zoo’s front entrance the day of your encounter.
Note to members: To receive your member discount, click “enter promo code” when you register. Your code is the first 5 letters of your last name + the first 2 letters of your first name. Example: John Smith’s code would be SMITHJO. If your last name is fewer than 5 letters, just use your full last name + the first 2 letters of your first name, Jane Doe’s code would be DOEJA.
*Must be a current EARTH member at the time of registration to receive the member discount. Discounts cannot be applied retroactively.
Note: Rhino Encounter dates are added throughout the season. If there is a particular day you would like to do an encounter that is not on the schedule, please contact Betsey Brewer at [email protected]. Please be aware that rhino encounters are only available during the normal zoo season (mid-April through October), 9:00am-10:00am.
If poor weather is predicted for the day of your encounter, you may reschedule to another date. In this case, please try to contact us with a new date as early as possible to reschedule.