The Zoo is not just for kids, adults can join in the fun too. From our famous Horse Hands programs, to custom Night Camps, the Zoo has something for you. You can even earn your Master’s Degree with the Zoo. Looking for something unique and fun for your next business event or social outing? Spend the night at the Zoo with a custom Night Camp program or have us come to you with our ZooToYou Outreach programs.

Our program prices will be changing soon. Register today to take advantage of early-bird special rates* and get this year’s programs for last year’s prices! The more programs you register for, the more you will save.

FREE Conservation Speaker Series

Presented by the Arthur L. and Elaine V. Johnson Foundation, these evening events showcase engaging speakers from around the world sharing stories about projects benefiting wildlife, habitats, and people. Many of these projects have been funded through the Zoo’s Conservation & Science Grants program, while others highlight important native species recovery efforts in our region. Our speaker series events are free to the public. Everyone is welcome, but content may be most appropriate for ages 10+.

RSVP is required

Susan Dicks Conservation Event Flyer

Click to enlarge

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

5:30 – 7 p.m. (program begins at 5:40 p.m.)
Phoenix Zoo | C.W. & Modene Neely Event Center
Light refreshments provided
RSVP required by September 14 to ensure adequate seating. Seating is limited.

Mexican Wolf Recovery in the Southwest
lecture by Susan Dicks, DVM, Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mexican Wolf Recovery Program

Mexican wolves (also known as Mexican gray wolves or lobos) are a unique and very rare type of wolf indigenous to the southwestern United States and Mexico. Wild Mexican wolf populations fell to almost none by the 1970s, and their recovery and subsequent reintroduction to the wild is an ongoing process and a testament to the assistance of zoos and many others in endangered species conservation. This presentation will cover a wide range of topics including the species’ natural history, medical and veterinary issues, novel techniques such as pup fostering, what endangered species recovery biologists do and face daily, population trends and monitoring, and more.

Dr. Susan Dicks is a native New Mexican who recently moved to Arizona. She graduated from Colorado State University with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree and worked many years in private pet practice. She began helping with Mexican wolves in 2003 and was hooked right away. Dr. Dicks first volunteered, then was on contract, and eventually was hired by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 2008 where she serves as a biologist for the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program. She found her calling with wildlife and outdoor conservation work, as well as the many unique issues faced in wolf recovery.

NEW! Lunch with a Keeper (for adults)
Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of a zookeeper might be like? Do you want to experience a behind-the-scenes tour led by a person who knows the animals best? In this adults-only program, we provide an exclusive opportunity to learn from the animal experts—our zookeepers! Enjoy a pizza lunch while you ask questions that only a keeper can answer and listen to stories that only a keeper can tell. After lunch, be treated to a behind-the-scenes tour and animal experience. This unique experience is one of the best at the Zoo; you’ll truly understand the passion and dedication involved with being a zookeeper.

Register Now

For adults ages 18+.
Program time: 12 – 1:45 p.m.
Program fees:

Member Adult Ticket  $30      Adult Pair $54

General Adult Ticket   $40      Adult Pair $72

October 23 – African Carnivore Keepers
What special care do carnivores require every day? How do zookeepers enrich the lives of these predatory species? Find out these answers and many more during an afternoon of fun and excitement as we discover what it takes to work with carnivores here at the Zoo. Enjoy a pizza lunch alongside one of our carnivore zookeepers who will answer questions and tell stories about the animals and their job. Following lunch, take a behind-the-scenes tour of a carnivore’s night house and help deliver enrichment items to the animals as we watch them demonstrate some of their amazing adaptations!

November 6 – Animal Care Center Keepers
The Phoenix Zoo is fortunate to have our very own Animal Care Center, complete with designated veterinarians and animal care staff. It is a special place that serves as a hospital, doctor’s office and holding area for the many animals that call the Zoo home. Discover what it’s like to work in the animal care center and the rewards and challenges of caring for a variety of animals. Enjoy a pizza lunch alongside our animal care staff, who will answer questions and tell stories about the animals and their job. Following lunch, take a behind-the-scenes tour and see for yourself what it’s like to be an animal care professional!

February 5 – Giraffe Keepers
What special care do the tallest residents at the Zoo need? How do zookeepers reach that high to feed them? Find out these answers and many more during an afternoon of fun and excitement as we discover what makes giraffes such a favorite animal at the Zoo. Enjoy a pizza lunch alongside one of our giraffe zookeepers, who answers questions and tells stories about the animals and their job. Following lunch, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the giraffe barn and have the opportunity for a private, up-close interaction at the giraffe deck with one of our giraffes!

NEW! Photography Walkabouts

Dates: Varies by instructor. (see below)

Price: $15 member/$15 general + admission to the Zoo (separate ticket or use membership)

Minimum program guests: 1

Maximum program guests: Maximum program participants: 6

Program Description:

Tips, tricks and technique guidance abound in this casual walkabout program led by one of the Zoo’s expert volunteer photographers. This program is entirely focused on practicing skills, getting instant feedback and having fun while capturing great images at the Zoo. While some dates may have a specific focus, participant interest shapes each class making this a dynamic and social experience for all. Whether your camera is professional quality or simply a phone camera, there is a walkabout program for you!

More info/How to be prepared:

  • Walkabout programs are open to photographers with any type of camera or skill level, unless specifically noted otherwise.
  • These programs have a casual, conversational feel and participants are encouraged to help guide the direction of the walkabout by expressing their interests and asking questions of the instructor.
  • Being familiar with your camera (how to access settings, etc.) prior to the program is always appreciated. The walkabout programs focus on practice with (and feedback from) an expert photographer; this is not a lecture class.
  • Bring your camera manual to the walkabout. Each camera brand and model can be slightly different. Our instructors are extremely talented photographers, but we’d never expect them to be fully versed in operating every single camera on the market. Your camera manual can be a useful tool for you and for the instructor.
  • Consider signing up for multiple photo walkabouts. Our photographers each have different styles of instruction, personal interests and experiences which contribute to the walkabouts they lead. Additionally, engaging with fellow participants to learn from and share with each other makes each of these programs unique and dynamic.
  • The Photo Walkabout program fee does NOT include admission to the Zoo. Non-members must purchase a Phoenix Zoo admission ticket along with the program.

Photo Walkabout Instructors:

These walkabout programs are led by Phoenix Zoo Volunteers, who are accomplished photographers with many years of experience and a unique level of expertise in a Zoo setting. You can frequently see their photographs featured on the Zoo’s social media pages and website.

wj-wheatonWJ Wheaton is a self-taught photographer who just wants to make good pictures. Focus, composition and exposure are more important to him than equipment and technology. However, don’t let his “not fancy” approach fool you! WJ has been taking photographs for over 44 years including shooting major concerts, local fashion shows, stills for movie sets and even a few weddings. Now in his fourth year as a Phoenix Zoo volunteer, WJ also takes lots of photos of animals as well.

Recently switching from over 40 years of using Nikon, WJ now uses Fujifilm mirror-less equipment and also an iPhone6. He’s a strong believer that the best camera to take photos with is whatever camera you have. He hopes to help photographers in the Photo Walkabouts he leads to be able to photograph what they see the way they see it and to produce professional looking images by thinking about what they are doing.

  • Wednesday, October 26, 2016, 9:30 – 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday, November 16, 2016, 9:30 – 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday, December 7, 9:30 – 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday, December 14, 9:30 – 11 a.m.

carol-urbanCarol Urban has been taking photographs at the Zoo for over nine years after the purchase of her first DSLR camera. Carol is a self-taught photographer who learns by reading all sorts of magazines and books, experimenting within her practice and talking with other photographers. Her images have appeared in Phoenix Zoo publications, the American Association of Zoo Keepers auctions, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and wildlife conservation groups. Carol most enjoys photographing the Sumatran tigers at the Phoenix Zoo and loves to focus on shapes, patterns (like tiger stripes!) and capturing the beauty of a scene.

Canon equipment is Carol’s preference though she feels there’s no right or wrong way to take a photo, which is why so many photographers have different styles, different techniques and different equipment! Carol hopes to adapt to each photographers’ level within the Photo Walkabouts she leads so she can help them work towards improving their skills and feeling ownership and comfort in using their camera.

  • Friday, October 7, 3 – 4:30 p.m.
  • Friday, November 25, 9:30 – 11 a.m.
  • Saturday, December 10, 9:30 – 11 a.m.

jq-progile-picJohn Qoyawayma has been taking photographs at the Phoenix Zoo for four years, but has been working in the field of visual media and marketing for over 30 years. He got his start in photography by color correcting photographs taken by others, specifically landscape panoramas. Around five years ago, he began doing commercial photography in his own studio. In addition to the commercial work he does, John enjoys photographing nature and wildlife, and capturing portraits.

John uses Nikon equipment and his favorite animal to capture images of at the Phoenix Zoo is the Ruppell’s griffon vulture. His style of teaching is to “keep it fun,” and he enjoys listening to what others want to learn and sharing with them in practical ways. John hopes to help photographers in the Photo Walkabouts he leads to truly enjoy the scenery and animals at the Zoo while continuing to perfect their photography skills.

  • Saturday, October 15, 9:30 – 11 a.m.
  • Sunday, November 6, 3 – 4:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 17, 9:30 – 11 a.m.

cordell-hauglieCordell Hauglie has been taking photographs for over 40 years and has taught photography in various venues for 30 years. Mostly self-taught, he previously owned his own photography business through which he captured images of weddings, portraits, corporate accounts and studio work, graduation photos and more. Taking photographs at the Phoenix Zoo for the last three years, Cordell now enjoys capturing images of tigers, especially their captivating eyes (however, it’s hard for him to choose which animal is his favorite to photograph). The challenge in photography he finds most interesting is discovering a unique and interesting perspective from which to photograph any subject.

Cordell uses Canon equipment and is most comfortable working with people who have DSLR cameras. Cordell’s style of instruction is personable and he thoroughly enjoys one-on-one and small group instruction (the Photo Walkabouts are a perfect fit!). Cordell hopes to help photographers in the Photo Walkabouts he leads more comfortable with DSLR cameras and how basic functionality can improve everyday photos and help overcome common obstacles to taking photos in the Zoo.

  • Friday, November 11, 3 – 4:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 19, 9:30 – 11 a.m.
  • Saturday, December 10, 3 – 4:30 p.m.
  • Monday, December 19, 9:30 – 11 a.m.

dave-seibertDave Seibert took some of his first photographs as a child at the Phoenix Zoo in 1965! He has been working in professional photojournalism for more than 40 years and is currently freelancing in photography and video storytelling with a variety of valley companies. Dave also teaches photojournalism and multimedia at the Walter Cronkite Journalism School at Arizona State University.

Dave uses Canon equipment. Though he has worked with the Phoenix Zoo both professionally and personally for many years and is a talented photographer of animals, he most enjoys capturing the emotion of those at the Zoo that walk on two legs – the people! Dave hopes to help photographers in the Photo Walkabouts he leads to learn how to see light, frame with composition techniques and wait for the right moment to take a photo.

  • Saturday, November 12, 9 – 10:30 a.m.
  • Tuesday, November 29, 5 – 6:30 p.m.  (ZooLights*)
  • Tuesday, December 6, 5 – 6:30 p.m.  (ZooLights*)
  • Wednesday, December 14, 5 – 6:30 p.m.  (ZooLights*)
  • Monday, December 26, 5 – 6:30 p.m.  (ZooLights*)

*Zoolights walkabouts require a DSLR or mirrorless camera.

Horse Hands Program
If you have never been on a horse before, or if you are somewhat experienced with horses but would like to learn more about their behavior and caregiving, or just generally brush up on your horsemanship skills, then this program is for you. Each Horse Hands Program is a four-week series. Participants must attend all four sessions to develop riding skills and receive a certificate.  Participants will learn about horsemanship, animal observation, behavior, and bonding. For more information please visit our Horse Hands page.