Getting Close with a Wild Encounter at Zoo Atlanta

His name is Shuffles and he likes neck scratches. He is a trim 350 pounds and would love to meet you for lunch at his place. He enjoys munching on crunchy carrots, but mangoes are his favorite.

Zoo Atlanta Wild Encounter

Shuffles is one of Zoo Atlanta’s three Aldabra tortoises, and the only male.¬†We met him (and you can too) during one of Zoo Atlanta’s Wild Encounters.

The Aldabra Encounter is the only event where you are in the habitat with the animal. Shuffles well, shuffled to greet us pulling himself from his cool mud pit at the promise of a mango treat.

He tolerated our petting, on his shell (they can feel your touch even on the shell), and his thick dinosaur like legs. His favorite though was the neck scratches. Just like a child, if you stop, he’ll come closer looking for more.

Like the other Wild Encounters, we also fed Shuffles. He was pretty adept at pulling the entire carrot sticks out of the bamboo holders rather than just breaking off pieces. Clearly this wasn’t his first rodeo. However, he did seem to be eyeing my orange pants, considering whether they were the ultimate carrot sticks.

Zoo Atlanta Wild Encounter Feeding the Tortoise

The Aldabra tortoise is the second largest in the world. (the first is the Galapagos). They live off the coast of African on a series of islands that are only accessible by the park service. These are just a few of the facts we came away with after approximately 35 minute encounter.

The Five Wild Encounters at Zoo Atlanta

The Aldabra tortoise encounter is one of five at Zoo Atlanta. Others include:

  • Panda Encounter
  • Elephant Encounter
  • Lion Encounter
  • Lemur Encounter

Know Before You Go

A few things to note about Zoo Atlanta’s Wild Encounters:

  • The Aldabra tortoise encounter is the only one where you go into the habitat. The other encounters will give you a behind the scenes look, but you are not in the cage with the lions (or panda, elephant or lemur).
  • Each Encounter includes feeding the animals.
  • There are age restrictions and other rules, so see read about the Wild Encounter before booking.
  • All Wild Encounters must be booked ahead of time.
  • The fee for Wild Encounters is in addition to Zoo Atlanta Admission.

More Zoo Experiences

If you like behind the scenes Zoo tours, check out these posts on 365 Atlanta Traveler.

 

 

 

Sue Rodman

Sue Rodman

Co-Founder at 365 Atlanta Traveler
Sue came to Atlanta after finishing the Walt Disney World College Program where she was a tour guide then guest relations hostess (and no she did not moonlight as Snow White). Sue spent 25 years in PR before adding freelance travel writing to her resume. Prior to 365 Atlanta Traveler, Sue published an award winning family travel blog called Field Trips with Sue for eight years, and produced a TV segment with the same name on CBS Better Mornings Atlanta. Her favorite place to visit is anywhere with her husband and three sons. Sue believes anytime is a good time for dessert and there are no bad field trips, just better stories.
Sue Rodman

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