Once in a Wild is so much more than just a regular petting zoo: We’re a traveling educational program that brings the zoo to you! So, not only do you get to meet our amazing animal ambassadors up close, but you also get to learn all about them. Our mission is: to inspire others to make a difference through live animal experiences. This means that we believe through experiencing up-close encounters with all different sorts of species, our guests can learn to love those animals and not fear them, then teach others to respect the animals as well.
Our unique mobile zoo was founded by Amanda Winter and Rikky Moller. Before opening, they had an important goal: to educate people of all ages, while creating an experience that drives empathy towards the world’s creatures through personal interaction.
Amanda our Lead Animal Specialist is educated in a wide variety of animal species from all over the world. Her daily routine consists of spending one-on-one time with all of our animal ambassadors, conducting their training, preparing their diets, and ensuring they have the best care possible. She has over 20 years of experience working professionally with many different types of exotic and domestic animals, and has been employed at several other renowned Zoos and Aquariums.
Another challenge with opening a new “brand” of zoo is deciding how it should all look! Rikky, who is Amanda’s husband, business partner, and co-founder of Once in a Wild, is our Creative Director. He has over 25 years of experience in branding and experiential marketing for many different large and small companies. Thanks to his expertise, we have accomplished a brand that is built to inspire. This works perfectly in our favor because we want nothing more than to stand out from the crowd and make a huge difference.
Once in a Wild also consists of a team of animal specialists (most with a background in Zoology, Biology, Entomology or other related fields) who have years of experience in animal education, animal training, and husbandry. The zoo itself is not an animal sanctuary or rescue, but 75% of the animals we house are surrendered pets, rescued and rehabbed, or rehomed to us in some capacity. And once an animal is adopted into our collection, they stay with us for their entire lives in a safe and permanent home.
We offer different types of animal experiences that are truly for everyone. Any age from young to old can enjoy our animal programs. We bring educational presentations to classrooms, fun activities to birthday parties, opportunities to meet and greet animals at corporate events, and even animal therapy sessions for those who need it most. No matter which type of animal experience we offer, guests are sure to have a wonderful time meeting and learning about our amazing animal ambassadors.
We have a passion to bring public awareness about creatures great and small, and we believe that each and every one of our individual animal ambassadors has an important purpose in accomplishing our vision. We hope to change the world for the better through education and understanding.
“Not only do I want to teach people about animals, I also want to encourage our guests to pay it forward. If they can learn to respect animals they might be nervous around (such as snakes, spiders and opossums) and go tell the people in their lives to do the same, then I’ve accomplished something. I truly believe that we are changing the world for the better through our live animal experiences.”
– Amanda Winter Founder & Lead Animal Specialist
“The only way to fall in love with an animal is to have a relationship with it. The best way to do that is through interaction. When you love and understand someone (or something), you really care about them. Everyone is different and must be loved differently.”
– Rikky Moller Founder & Marketing Director