Experience the Serengeti of Salt Lake City at our Elephant Encounter exhibit! Watch our African elephants and white rhinoceroses flourish on an expansive re-creation of the African plains.
The Elephant Encounter provides a stimulating environment for our elephants and rhinoceros by providing them with a range of activities and habitats. The diverse environment promotes natural behaviors, giving the animals the physical and mental stimulation they need to stay healthy and happy.
At the Elephant Encounter, guests will have an incredible view of the world’s largest and second-largest land mammals at rest and play. Catch a daily training demonstration where keepers demonstrate how they check our elephants’ health and praise their good behavior with positive reinforcement.
Don’t miss the swimming channel at the east end of the Elephant Encounter exhibit. Here, our animals can cool off in an area that’s deep enough for an elephant to swim fully submerged in water!
Elephant Encounter features four outdoor habitats as well as the African Lodge. Guests first encounter a naturalistic habitat on the east end of the exhibit that features a swimming channel, deep with enough room for an elephant to completely submerge and swim from one end to another.
Overlooking the Working Yard of the Elephant Encounter exhibit, you’ll find the African Lodge. Constructed of wood and thatch materials, the African lodge helps to create an emotional connection between guests and our elephants and rhinos. From here, visitors can see where our animal husbandry procedures are done, offering the public a sneak peek at the care that elephants receive in a zoo setting.
Walking further down, guests can get a nose-to-nose view of our elephants and rhinos near the Kopje. The Kopje (co-pea) is a part of our West Habitat and is made to resemble the small hills that rise from the African veld. It features a watering hole and a feeding area to attract the animals for a better view. At the Kopje, you’ll be able to observe the animals up close through safety windows that are two inches thick.
At the edge of our West Habitat, there is a smaller lodge that gives guests another vantage point to see the animals. There you’ll find educational activities like our Elephant Scale. The Elephant Scale encourages guests to pile on together to find out if they collectively weigh as much as a baby elephant, a newborn rhino, or week’s worth of elephant food.
A smaller lodge on the edge of the West Habitat gives guests another vantage point to see the animals, as well as additional educational activities. Several guests can pile on the “Elephant Scale” and see if they collectively weigh as much as a baby elephant, a newborn rhino, or as much as an elephant can eat in a week.
Capture a memorable moment with your family by snagging a photo next to our elephant sculpture that’s 13 feet tall! This work of art looks like a soapstone carving of an elephant and can be found at the entrance of the Elephant Encounter.
Near the sculpture, you’ll find some fun facts about how high an elephant can reach, why elephants like water, and other information regarding the elephant’s reproduction cycle. While you’re there, be sure to keep an eye out for elephant footprints!