TAMPA, Fla. - Ever wish you could see eye-to-eye with a giraffe? OK, maybe that's a question of height. How about this: Have you ever wanted to get up close to one of the tallest animals on the African plain?
Now, Zoo Tampa allows you to do just that.
For a limited amount of time each day, zoo visitors can "Be the Assistant" to the zoo's animal care professionals that take care of the giraffes at the park.
This behind-the-scenes tour gives the visitor the chance to experience some of the quirkiness of the tall mammals, while getting to know their care and support needs first-hand.
"Every experience is a lot different," said animal handler Brandi Witmer. "A normal day can vary day to day."
And animal care doesn't take a break or a vacation.
"We're here 365 days a year," Witmer continued. "I spend more time with the giraffes than my own family or friends."
Now zoo visitors can spend time with the giraffes, too.
"The best way to an animal's heart is obviously through food," Witmer explained. "Their favorite is produce."
According to Witmer, one of the most interesting things for visitors is letting the giraffe eat acacia leaves off of a branch. She said that everyone always comments on how hard they have to hold onto the branch while the giraffe is pulling the leaves off. It's like a tug-of-war.
LINK: To schedule your own experience, check out the Zoo Tampa website for more details.