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Discover Your Mammal Brain at the Zoo

Rated 5.0 out of 5 from 6 reviews.Oakland, United StatesPart of the Airbnb Animals collection

Paused through August 27.

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Animal experience hosted by Loretta

2 hours
Includes food
Up to 10 people
Hosted in English

What you'll do

Watch the animals while I explain the brain chemicals that motivate them. It's easy to see how animals respond to dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, endorphin & cortisol; and that helps us recognize these chemicals in ourselves.

Our natural happy chemicals reward you with a good feeling when you meet a survival need. Unhappy chemicals alarm you with a bad feeling when you see a survival threat. To see how this works, we'll start with small-brained animals and work up. You'll discover the survival choices animals make in every moment and see amazing parallels with our daily lives. We'll talk about the stress chemicals too. It's not easy being mammal!

- Your questions are welcome! I can address your specific interests since I have studied the animal brain a lot.
- Well-behaved children are welcome because I address reproductive behavior with family-friendly euphemisms.
- I speak Spanish & French. The tour is in English but I can translate some phrases.
- It's fun! You will come away with a deep respect for the happy power of your brain!
- Logistics: You purchase your own admission tickets. (In advance if possible) We meet at the MAIN entrance. I can provide transportation advice.
- The focus is on wild animals since our brain evolved in the wild, but domesticated animals (zoo + pets) can teach us something.
- Flexibility: I'm happy to schedule other times/places on request.
Watch the animals while I explain the brain chemicals that motivate them. It's easy to see how animals respond to dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, endorphin & cortisol; and that helps us recognize these chemicals in ourselves.

Our natural happy chemicals reward you with a good feeling when you meet a survival need. Unhappy chemicals alarm you with a bad feeling when you see a survival threat. To see how this works, we'll start with small…

Loretta's commitment to safety

This host committed to Airbnb’s COVID-19-related safety and cleaning guidelines—including adhering to social distancing guidelines, practicing good hygiene, and ensuring that all participants wear a mask.
Guidelines created with World Animal ProtectionLearn more

What's included

  • Food
    Healthy snacks, which we'll eat animal style. What does that mean? Come and...
From $39
/ person
Sat, Aug 29
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
$39 per person
$39 per person
Sun, Aug 30
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
$39 per person
$39 per person
Thu, Sep 3
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
$39 per person
$39 per person

Meet your host, Loretta

Host on Airbnb since 2013
  • 6 Reviews
  • Identity verified
I'm Founder of the Inner Mammal Institute, where I teach people about the brain chemicals we've inherited from earlier mammals. Our emotions come from chemicals that motivate animals to seek rewards and avoid harm. I've written many books on this, and was a docent at the Oakland Zoo. I love teaching people about our mammal brain since I retired from a career as Professor of Management. I'm happy to schedule alternative times/places on request. Details about me at: InnerMammalInstitute.org
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Responsible interactions

All hosts must follow guidelines created with World Animal Protection.

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Where you'll be

The Oakland Zoo.
We'll meet at the MAIN entrance Members Desk. I'll give you my mobile number just in case. (If Main parking is full, you'll be sent to the Lower Entrance. I'll find you)
We'll start with reptiles and move on to herd mammals, carnivores, elephants, monkeys, and chimps. (Guests can visit the other animals after the tour, including the Gondola to the exciting new California Trail.)
I'm happy to schedule tours at other times/places.

Rated 5.0 out of 5 from 6 reviews.

Thomas
January 2020
This was just fascinating. Loretta was a great guide with a fun personality and tremendous knowledge of the animals, the zoo, and the underlying brain chemistry that drives animal behavior. She knows the best spots to view the animals, has lots inside-baseball type stories about the zoo and the animals there, and has an excellent grasp of evolutionary psychology, and how different species have evolved different behavior patterns and physical characteristics to adapt to their environments. This would be a great tour for all ages and all levels of education. I’m a clinical psychologist and I found this to be extremely informative and educational.
This was just fascinating. Loretta was a great guide with a fun personality and tremendous knowledge of the animals, the zoo, and the underlying brain chemistry that drives animal…
Lynn
June 2019
Loretta gives a unique tour of the Oakland zoo, animal behavior and dynamics. This wasn’t our first time here, but seeing the zoo with Loretta gave us new insight into these wonderful creatures....and us as well. We did this as part of a birthday outing, and had a great time!
Loretta gives a unique tour of the Oakland zoo, animal behavior and dynamics. This wasn’t our first time here, but seeing the zoo with Loretta gave us new insight into these wonder…
Ron
May 2019
I really enjoyed my visit to the Oakland Zoo guided by Loretta. Although the subject matter was unique for a zoo visit, (how the brain works in the context of animal behavior) she also has good knowledge of the animals and the zoo from having worked for the zoo previously as a guide. So, on all levels she was well informed/informative. She communicated well and in an engaging way which conveys her own interest and enthusiasm for the knowledge she shared with us.
I really enjoyed my visit to the Oakland Zoo guided by Loretta. Although the subject matter was unique for a zoo visit, (how the brain works in the context of animal behavior) she…
Deborah
May 2019
This was one of the most fun, exciting, informative, meaningful, illuminating experiences of my life! Loretta's background as a zoo docent who knew all the "insider" secrets, as well as her profound mastery of neuroscience and animal behavior, made this tour so worthwhile and fun. We got to ask all our questions, and Loretta provided extremely fascinating responses to each one. She couldn't have been more kind, gracious, generous, smart, or funny. MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
This was one of the most fun, exciting, informative, meaningful, illuminating experiences of my life! Loretta's background as a zoo docent who knew all the "insider" secrets, as we…
Stuart
May 2019
Loretta's deep knowledge of the mammal brain based on her years of research proved to be one of the most fascinating days ever. She beautifully drew the parallels between human and animal brains, plus gave us constant, surprising insights as to why animals (and we!) acted the way we did. We will never look at animals in quite the same fashion thanks to her. I cannot recommend a tour with Loretta any more highly. You'd be lucky to enjoy it!
Loretta's deep knowledge of the mammal brain based on her years of research proved to be one of the most fascinating days ever. She beautifully drew the parallels between human an…
William
June 2019
Loretta told entertaining and insightful stories about the animals and their interactions. I recommend her highly.

Choose from available dates

5 available

Things to know

Cancellation policy

Any experience can be canceled and fully refunded within 24 hours of purchase, or at least 7 days before the experience starts.

Guest requirements

Up to 10 guests ages 10 and up can attend. Parents may also bring children under 2 years of age.

More tips

No special knowledge is needed or expected.
Come ready to laugh. The mammal brain creates the drama of daily life!

What to bring

walking shoes, camera, rain gear as needed

money for zoo admission; buy your ticket online in advance to avoid lines