Imagine being inches away from a lion. Well, now that experience is possible at the Utica Zoo. Matt and Naomi had the chance to experience it first-hand.

The Utica Zoo is now offering "Animal Encounters," which gives visitors a special 'VIP,' up close meeting with some of the animals. Visitors can get more information and get a behind-the-scenes look at the sea lions, red pandas, lions, and other animals in the park.

Matt and Naomi had the chance to experience "Animal Encounters" with African Lions at the Utica Zoo, and go inside their den to learn more about them, and get up close to them - Seriously, they were just a few feet away from those giant cats! It was an experience unlike anything else.

First, they took Matt and Naomi inside the lion's area. There, they explained the feeding for the lions, and talked a lot about the relationship between the three lions at the zoo (FYI - they're all related). This is where Matt and Naomi stood just a few feet away from the lions. As soon as they walked in, one of the lions started making noises (like grunting, or a low-growl), which was enough to scare Naomi. She thought he was going to roar (and being that close, it would have been pretty scary).
Being within an arm's reach of the lions, you can really see how big they are. Everyone already knows lions are pretty big, but that close - You actually see how big their paws are, and when they yawn?? Look out for that jaw - These cats aren't big, they're huge!

After Matt and Naomi experienced this special close encounter with the lions, they were given boxes to spray down with cologne. This is part of the lions 'enrichment,' which keeps their minds fresh, and keeps them on-their-toes. Mike Beck, the Communications Coordinator at the Utica Zoo explains more on 'enrichment' for the lions in the video above.

Also in the video, Mike explains what it was like behind the scenes, and that 'Animal Encounters' is available for the public. You can get details on pricing, hours, and more information on this feature at the zoo on their website here.

You can also get more information on other events happening at the Utica Zoo, features, pricing, and everything you need to know at:



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