Zoo Etiquette and Guest Policies


Zoo Etiquette

Ever wonder what the zoo animals would say makes a great Zoo Visitor?  Here are some of the things we think they would want you to know.

1. Use quiet voices

Loud voices can startle animals.  Please speak softly and avoid shouting.  If an animal is resting, please allow them to do so peacefully.

2. Stay on pathways

The Zoo is designed to keep everyone safe.  Do your part by staying on pathways and respecting barriers.  Never, ever cross or reach over a barrier, or climb on railings or fences.  Children should be closely monitored at all times.

Walk, don’t ride.  Bicycles, rollerblades, skateboards and motorized scooters/vehicles (other than those allowed by ADA) are prohibited on Zoo Grounds for safety and courtesy reasons.  Please use the bike rack near the Zoo entrance to secure your items. 

3. Be courteous to the animals

Animals have feelings, too!  Please respect our friends - do not yell, tease or taunt them, bang on exhibit glass, or throw things into animal habitats.

4. Please don’t feed the animals

Zoo animals are on scientific diets designed to closely match the nutrition they would receive in the wild.  Human foods are not on the menu!  Please refrain from sharing your snacks with the animals.

5. Clean up after yourself

Help keep the Zoo a clean and tidy home for our animals.  Trash and recycling receptacles are located around the Zoo for your convenience.  Please make sure your trash makes it to its proper place.

6. Leave weapons, firearms and fireworks at home

Enjoy these items safely at home, but their presence at the Zoo is discouraged.  City of Lafayette and Tippecanoe County ordinances regarding these items are strictly enforced. 

Remember, you are a guest in the animals’ home!  Please mind your manners.

We reserve the right to escort from Zoo grounds any individuals or groups who are acting in ways deemed harmful to the animals or the park, or that impinge upon the enjoyment of the Zoo by other guests.  


Zoo Policies 

Visitor Dress Code  

Shirt and shoes are required.  Clothing with profanity, obscenities, or other content deemed inappropriate for the Zoo’s family setting is prohibited.

Pet Policy  

For the safety and well-being of our animal friends, pets are prohibited from Zoo grounds (disability service animals are welcome, please see Service Animal Policy below.)  Please do not leave pets unattended at the Zoo gate or in your vehicle.  

Service Animal Policy  

Service animals are permitted on Zoo grounds.  See our Accessibility page for more information.

Photography Policy  

Photography for personal use is permitted.  Inquiries regarding professional or commercial use of photographs taken at the Zoo should be made by contacting the Zoo Director.

All visitors entering Zoo grounds or participating in an off-site program of the Zoo grant permission to Columbian Park Zoo, City of Lafayette and Friends of Columbian Park Zoo to use his/her image or any recordings for any purpose without compensation.

Tobacco, Drug & Alcohol Policy

The Zoo is a tobacco-, alcohol- and drug-free free environment.  These items are not permitted on Zoo grounds, or in surrounding Columbian Park.  Guests who appear to be under the influence may be asked to leave. 

Animal Contact Policy

Physical contact with animals is permitted only in designated contact areas or in the context of an animal encounter facilitated by Zoo staff (for example, when invited to touch during an education program).  Please do not attempt to touch any animal otherwise. 

Animals may bite or kick and may carry germs that can lead to illness.  We strongly recommend that visitors wash their hands with soap and water after touching any zoo animal or items with which animals have had contact.  According to the CDC, immune compromised individuals, pregnant women, and children under the age of 5 years may be at increased risk and should consider taking additional precautions. 

Personal Property Notice  

The Zoo is not responsible for the loss or damage of any personal property.  Personal items left behind will be held in Lost and Found for a period of time and then discarded. 


Solicitation Policy

No solicitation is allowed.  Distribution of any advertisement, circular or handbill, sales, or solicitation of funds/pledges of contributions are not permitted on Zoo grounds without the express prior approval of the Zoo Director or Parks and Recreation Superintendent.