Top 10 Behind the Scenes Tours in America

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Jump backstage with us for a look at some of the best behind the scenes tours in America. Wouldn’t you like to see a live filming of your favorite TV show? It’s possible to get backstage with a Studio Tour while in LA. For those who watch the daily news, New York City is a fine place to take a look inside monumental skyscrapers where broadcasts are filmed each day. Some would rather take the kids to a baseball stadium or get a up close and personal with animals at zoos and parks across the US. But, no one would ever guess what lies hidden beneath one of sleepiest cities on the west coast. Here are our top ten behind the scenes tours:

1. Hollywood Studio Tours—Los Angeles

One of the most popular and unique attractions in the neighborhoods that surround Los Angeles is the studio backlot—the place where movies are filmed. The most famous American TV shows and motion pictures were born in Hollywood and Burbank just beyond the city lights of LA. Paramount Studio Tours is an obvious first choice, because it’s the oldest around and home to legendary movies by Paramount Pictures. This is 100 years of Hollywood history we are talking about! You can take a 2 hour Studio Tour for $48 or 4.5 hour VIP tour for an even deeper look into your favorite movies for $165.

You could also take the Warner Bros. Studio Tour to see the film sets of popular TV shows like Ellen, The Big Bang Theory, Conan and others. This tour is 2.5 hours and takes you around the studios on a cart. Universal Studios Tour allows you to explore the backlot of the largest movie studio in the world. Here you will find real scenes straight from legendary movies and big names like Steven Spielburg.

2. Baseball Stadium VIP Tours—New York, Boston, Philidelphia, San Francisco

For all you baseball fans out there—why not take a backstage tour at the home of your favorite team? With a backstage baseball stadium tour, you get to see what its like to be a pro athlete with behind the scenes look into the day in the life of the legends. What makes these particular tours unique is the chance to even meet the players! Check out the full NY Yankees VIP Baseball Tour to meet with members of your favorite team. Parents, this is a kid’s dream come true! Of course, this is the most expensive tour. But, the prices and dates for these events vary, so be sure to take a look what’s listed on the website for something different.

3. News Studio Tours in NYC—New York

When in the Big Apple, check out the backstage tours offered by some of your favorite news stations. Get behind the scenes of ABC’s Good Morning America in Times Square with a backstage tour. You can even join in on a live broadcast! Visit the website to fill out a request with the dates of your vacation to be considered for a broadcast viewing. NBC Studios inside Rockefeller Center closed until further notice to improve the tour experience. Instead, you can still go inside this legendary building with the Rockefeller Center Tours, amongst New York’s most famous places.

4. Walt Disney World Backstage Tours—Orlando

Walt Disney World is the perfect place to step on the other side of the red tape and explore what the public never sees. The Epcot Center is the location of many backstage tours like Backstage Magic for adults or Behind the Sees for preschool kids to adults. Another fun favorite is the Backstage Safari tour offered for adults in Disney’s Animal Kingdom—a great choice for animal lovers! In the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour is also a great favorite for tweens, teens and adults. The prices vary for each tour so check out the website to get an updated list of admission, dates and times for each tour.

5. The Maryland Zoo Behind the Scenes—Baltimore

Many zoos and aquariums across America offer behind-the-scenes tours that allow you to get inside facilities and up close to the animals. At The Maryland Zoo, you get to pick your own animal encounters from the rhinos, okapi, and zebras to the penguins, ostriches and polar bears. These signature tours take you inside the zoo areas where you can watch handlers feed and tend to the animals. The price of the Behind-the-Scenes tour includes general admission, so you don’t have to worry about paying to walk around the zoo afterwards. These tours start at $300 and take groups of up to four people.

6. Behind the Scenes at California Academy of Sciences—San Francisco

Another great favorite for animal lovers is the Behind the Scenes tour at California Academy of Arts and Sciences. With this tour, you get to explore the facilities where research, education and scientific discovery takes place, or check out the marine biology areas with over 38,000 animals on-site. The Behind-the-Scenes Academy tour takes you throughout the facilities for a glimpse at the place where scientists conduct research. The Behind-the-Scenes Aquarium tour gives you a look inside the animal centers where biologist care for penguins, fish, butterflies and even an albino alligator! You even get VIP entrance into the Rainforests of the World Exhibit and seats reserved at the Planetarium. Visit where the animals’ food is prepared, learn about the water filtration system and see the animals with a tour inside. Each tour lasts about an hour and take place daily at three specified times. Tours are $24.95 per non-members and $19.95 for Academy Members. Don’t forget to take advantage of 10% at restaurant and gift shop with your admission ticket.

7. Radio City Music Hall Backstage Tours—New York

Radio City Music Hall—home to the Rockettes—is an amazing treat to see from backstage. This famous theater allows visitors a number of options to explore the stage from behind the scenes. The Art Deco Tour at Radio City Music Hall is perfect for anyone who has a passion for architectural elegance. On this tour, you will be given a full history on the building with highlights on the architectural style and decorative brilliance behind the colossal auditorium, Grand Foyer and even the Roxy Suite! Another option is the Stage Door Tour that gives you insight behind the Great Stage. You even get to meet a Rockette! Admission for these 80 minute backstage tours is $19.95 for adults and $15 for children and seniors.

8. Jubilee! Backstage Tour at Bally’s—Las Vegas

Vegas is a glamorous city with colorful shows and live performances. One of the best ways to get in on the action is with a backstage pass behind Bally’s Casino and Hotel. This tour allows you to explore the theater with a Jubilee Dancer for a chance to learn all the works behind nightly shows. It all takes place on one of the most innovative stages in the world. You also get to see where costumes are kept and watch a make-up demonstration and costume change. Don’t leave the tour without taking a picture with one of the showgirls! These tours take place Monday, Wednesday and Saturday and start at 11 am. The price for admission is $19.50 and only $14.50 with the purchase of a show ticket!

9. SeaWorld Behind the Scenes Tour—San Diego, Orlando, San Antonio

When you find yourself in SeaWorld looking at all the animals from behind the glass, try a behind the scenes tour to get a little closer! This is the perfect opportunity for kids and adults to learn fun facts about marine animals and watch them be fed by trainers throughout the day. At SeaWorld in Orlando, the tour includes a chance to touch a live shark! You also get to feed an endangered species—the sea turtles at Turtle Beach. Other facilities include an inside look into the Humboldt Penguin habitat and Animal Care Center. Admission at these behind-the-scenes tours at SeaWorld cost $29.

10. The Underground Tour—Seattle

One of the most unique tours on the list is the Seattle Underground Tour, since it takes us deep into the city itself. This tour is an absolute charm for history buffs who never knew the city of Seattle once stood 30 feet below its current elevation. That means, there’s a whole city beneath the ground! With this tour, you will be taken below the streets to learn the hidden stories that paint Seattle with colorful character. Tours start at Doc Maynard’s Public House—a restored saloon that takes us back to the 1890s. The tour guides really know how to entertain and make you laugh—especially when they tell you the reason they insist on keeping a genuine ‘Crapper’ toilet on display inside the building. This is the perfect place to get the inside scoop on the deep, dark secrets of Seattle’s past. Admission costs $17 for adults, $14 for seniors and students, and $9 for children.

What’s your favorite behind the scenes tour? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

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Taylor Goldblatt

After years of research, travel, and dreams, I have created this website for people like you who want to experience the things that only America can offer. My passion is to explore and share America's greatest destinations and attractions. Follow me on Twitter @USCityTraveler for additional travel tips and ideas.

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