I Pet a Giraffe!

Giraffes became my favorite animal in the spring of 2011. I was a high school teacher then, and we took the students on a field trip to the Houston Zoo. It was then I learned that for a mere $5, you can feed the giraffes three pieces of lettuce. I’d never cared for giraffes one way or another until then, but something about being so close to them just won me over and I was in love.


Since then, I’ve fed the giraffes a LOT. I also started learning more and more about them and I just realized everything they do is weird! Their tongues, the way they fight, the way they sleep, the way they have to drink water… So now when people think of me, they think giraffes.

Anyway, for my 28th birthday my parents got me a behind the scenes tour of the giraffe barn at the zoo! It took a couple of months but I recruited a friend to go with me and we scheduled the tour for June 3 (almost a month ago!). Here’s how it all went down.

We met the tour guide near the front of the zoo just before noon. There were 6 people total on the tour and the guide said that was a good number because we’d get more giraffe time. We met the keepers at the barn and they led us up to the second story platform to meet the giraffes!

giraffe2First we fed them lettuce, and then came the giraffe kisses, which is when you put a piece of sweet potato in your mouth and let the giraffe take it from you. “The closer you get, the less tongue they use,” said the keepers.

giraffe3The giraffes that were bottle raised, like Miles, like to be pet.

giraffe4One of the giraffes definitely got a little tongue in my mouth too, so that was pretty gross (and it was caught on video!).

Basically it was like the $5 feeding you can do most days, except there’s no line behind you to rush you and you can pet them! It was such a relaxed environment and the keepers kept using the word “intimate” when comparing it to the standard feeding. I couldn’t agree more and I really REALLY want to do it again!

Click here to see the options available for tours at the zoo. They cost $75 for non-members and $50 for members. It is so worth it! My uncle wants us to do the lion/tiger tour so look for a post on that someday!