Santa Barbara- S County

Santa Barbara Zoo offers VIP packages for the holidays

'Once-in-a-lifetime experiences'

Here's a gift idea for people wanting to splurge this holiday season and help wildlife conservation at the same time.

The Santa Barbara Zoo is offering VIP packages touted as "once-in-a-lifetime" experiences, according to Aimee Grove, a public relations representative with 

There are six package in all and each offers a behind-the-scenes tour, from lion training to condor feeding.

For $475 dollars, accompany a zookeeper as they go on their feeding rounds and witness piranhas, penguins, and Inca terns up close.

The $500 dollar VIP package entails a private tour, with the help of the Zoo's animal ambassadors, to learn about the Zoo's California condor conservation efforts and an up-close encounter with the Channel Island fox, whose  endangered status is a conservation success story.

For $625 dollars, take a private tour of the Newborn Unit in the Zoo's Veterinary Hospital and be one of the first to welcome a new addition to the Zoo. You'll receive a birth announcement and an invitation to schedule a private tour as soon as a baby is born.

The $745 VIP dollar package focuses on the wild wonders of the African savannah with a guided safari. From lion trainings to feeding giraffes, you'll have your choice of two adventures:

      Giraffe Feeding & Meerkat Behind the Scenes; Lion Training Wall & Fennec Fox Behavioral Enrichment
      Ruppell's Vulture Behavioral Enrichment; or Sulcata Tortoise Tour.

For those willing to pay more, an $800 dollar VIP package will have you teamed up with a zookeeper, who will guide your tour as you observe an animal painting session with your choice of animal artist - an elephant, a porcupine, an armadillo, or a penguin. At the end of the 30-min. session, you'll have a unique souvenir that you can take home.

The sixth and most expensive VIP package will set you back $845 dollars and involves a private tour for up to 6 at three VIP animal encounters from among the following, including:

   - Elephant Feeding
   - Lion Training Wall
   - Snow Leopard Behind the Scenes
   - Giraffe Feeding
   - Reptile House Behind the Scenes
   - Penguin Encounter
   - Penguin Fish Toss Raptor Encounter,
   - Meerkat (must be paired with Giraffe Feeding from List 1),
   - California Condor Feeding,
   - Asian Small-Clawed Otter Behind the Scenes,
   - Anteater Feeding,
   - Crested Porcupine Feeding,
   - Tortoise Encounter
   - Channel Island Fox Behavioral Enrichment
   - Bird Behavioral Enrichment

A portion of these purchases -- 10% to 20% -- will go towards wildlife conservation efforts.

These limited VIP packages are only available on Click on the following link for more information:

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