PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The giraffe is an animal you can’t help looking up to.

And visitors to the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium have always viewed the long-necked mammals at a distance. But this weekend, it will be possible to get a closer look. Much closer.

A 17-foot giraffe named Lewis loves to come face-to-face with people. He even likes to be petted.

“He was hand reared, so he likes people,” curator of mammals Ken Kaemmerer explains.

He says the smaller giraffe, named Sox, was raised by her mother, and is a bit more standoffish. But both giraffes are prepared for the Labor Day weekend’s “Meet and Greet” events.

“Two to 3 p.m., each Saturday and Sunday, and now, this Monday, people have an opportunity to get close up to our giraffe,” Kaemmerer says.

For a $5 fee, he says, you can get up close and personal.

“Pet him on the nose. They can take ‘selfies’ with their phones. And it’s something new that we’ve never had a chance to do before, that we can offer to the public,” says Kaemmerer.

It’s been a couple of weeks since the giraffes and brand new zebras moved into the new exhibit space together. Sox was delighted to meet her new friends.

“She got so excited, she was running after them, and playing, and that you never see,” the curator laughs.

Usually, it’s not easy to meet a giraffe head to head, even in a zoo. But Lewis savors the attention.

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