English | En español

The Phoenix Zoo has a variety of educational programs designed to connect children of all ages with the natural world.  Our programs are offered for children starting at 18 months old and are designed to support their growing needs and abilities. We truly hope that your child will grow up with the Zoo! Many programs offer opportunities for parents/caregivers and children to learn and explore together, making it an experience for the entire family. See our many program offerings below and join our programs family today.

Interested in learning more about programs at the Phoenix Zoo? Sign up for Phoenix Zoo Family Programs Newsletter!

Farm Tots (Ages 18 months – 2 years)

Fun on the Farm is what this program is all about! Designed around introducing our youngest animal lovers to some of the friendliest animals at the Zoo, Farm Tots teaches children the basics of animal respect and care. Free-play, activities, and up-close animal encounters are all part of the fun with each month focusing on one of our farm animals.  For children 18 months – 2 years and a caregiver. Take home a plush animal as a keepsake of your Zoo experience for only $6 if ordered when making reservations.

Program Topics:

  • January – May 2014

January: Sheep

Are you feeling a little sheepish?  There are plenty of sheeply shenanigans going on down at Harmony Farm, and you can join in on the fun by joining us for the Farm Tots sheep program!  Here, you will learn all about sheep while playing at the farm.  Children join with their caregivers for a morning of free-play sheep activities, followed by the unique opportunity to meet one of our wooly sheep friends!

Guests meet their instructor at Harmony Farm and get started on fun activities right away.  Once finished with the activities, we head over to the Petting Zoo for an interaction with the farm sheep.

Dates, Times & Registration

February: Farm Visitors

What types of animals visit the farm at night?  Have you ever heard an owl hoot?  How many legs does a spider have?  Are there un-invited guests that also call the farm their home?  By joining us at the Farm Tots farm visitors program, you will learn about some farm animals which you might not even know are there!  Children join with their caregivers for a morning of free-play activities, followed by the unique opportunity to meet and touch some of these secret farm visitors.

Guests meet their instructor at Harmony Farm and get started on fun activities right away.  Once finished with the activities, we’ll meet some of these animal visitors up close.

Dates, Times & Registration

March: Horse

Who says hay is just for horses?  Come join us for a morning of learning, excitement and an up-close horse encounter during our Farm Tots horse program!  Children join with their caregivers in free-play, horse themed activities, followed by a unique opportunity for a one-on-one encounter with the “mane” animal attraction of this program!

Guests meet their instructor at Harmony Farm and get started on fun activities right away.  Once finished with the activities, we head over to the horse barn and spend time learning and playing in the horse play yard. But the fun does not stop there… guests will have the unique opportunity to enter the horse barn at Harmony Farm to meet one of our horses.

Dates, Times & Registration

April: Cow

Have you ever felt a cow nose?  Was it smooth and slippery or sticky and slimy?  Do cows really say moo? Join us for the Farm Tots cows program, and you will learn all about cows while playing at the farm!  Children join with their caregivers for a morning of free-play cow activities, followed by the unique opportunity to meet our bodacious bovines!

Guests meet their instructor at Harmony Farm and get started on fun activities right away.  Once finished with the activities, we head over to the petting zoo to meet our cows.  Want even more up-close encounters?  This program also includes the unique opportunity to assist keepers when we “browse the cows.”

Dates, Times & Registration

May: Goat

Sure, we all know them as a favorite animal on the farm, but what exactly makes goats so special? Join us for the Farm Tots goat program, and you will have a blast learning about goats and playing at the farm.  Children join with their caregivers for a morning of free-play goat activities, followed by the unique opportunity to enter our private stall and meet a goat!

Guests meet their instructor at Harmony Farm and get started on fun activities right away.  Once finished with the activities, we head over to the Petting Zoo and spend some time interacting with these gregarious goats before a special one-on-one meeting with one of the favorite farm goats.

Dates, Times & Registration

Breakfast with the Animals (Ages 2 – 5)

Have you learned what a giraffe wants for breakfast? Have you watched a warthog wake up in the morning? Have you fed a giant tortoise breakfast? Join us for Early Childhood Animal Breakfasts and YOU CAN! Enjoy a light morning meal of “people food” along with child-focused and parent-directed activities which include a variety of movement, discovery, reasoning, crafts, songs, guided and free play opportunities. Children and parents are encouraged to explore the activities at their own pace and instructors help facilitate an engaging and fun experience for all. We’ll finish the fun with an amazing animal encounter. For children 2-5 years and a caregiver. Take home a plush animal as a keepsake of your Zoo experience for only $6 if ordered when making reservations.

Program Topics:

  • January – May 2014

January: Gentle Giants – Giraffe

Our program focuses on giraffes this month … We’ll learn about what giraffes eat, how they use their tongues, and much, much more! After breakfast and activities we’ll have a unique experience as we go behind the scenes to meet the tallest animals at the Zoo!

Dates, Times & Registration

February: Wild Cats and Dogs

Our program focuses on wild cats and dogs this month … We’ll learn how wild cats and dogs are different from our pets, why they are highly successful predators, and much, much more! After breakfast and activities we’ll have a unique experience as we take a behind-the-scenes tour of either the cheetahs’ or the wild dogs’ night house. We will then assist keepers by making and delivering behavioral enrichment to our African carnivores!

Dates, Times & Registration

March: Monkey Madness

Our program focuses on monkeys this month … We’ll learn how monkeys use their tail, how intelligent they are, and much, much more! After breakfast and activities a monkey keeper will show us how behavioral enrichment items are prepared for the squirrel monkeys of Monkey Village. We can ask the keeper monkey questions, and then we will follow the keeper into Monkey Village before the zoo opens to watch as the monkeys receive their breakfast!

Dates, Times & Registration

April: Bear Bonanza

Our program focuses on bears this month…We’ll learn about the many types of bears that live around the world, what bears eat, why some bears hibernate, and much, much more! After breakfast and activities program participants will get a behind-the-scenes view of the Andean bears’ nighthouse and help a zookeeper deliver behavioral enrichment to our bears!

Dates, Times & Registration

May: Incredible Elephants

Our program focuses on elephants this month … We’ll learn how elephants use their trunks, what an elephant likes to eat, and much, much more! After breakfast and activities we’ll get to assist keepers in their daily enrichment by hiding “elephant cookies” in the elephant yard.  Then we will watch as the elephants search for our hidden treats and learn about our elephants from one of the elephant keepers!

Dates, Times & Registration

Gifts for the Animals (Ages 2 – 5)

Whether it’s for a holiday or “just because” – giving gifts is fun! Giving gifts allows us to show how much we care, and the same is true for the animals at the zoo. Join us for some generous fun, animal style, at our Gifts for the Animals program. Children age two to five will join their caregiver and their instructor on a guided safari around Harmony Farm. We’ll take time to stop and observe animals and participate in hands-on learning activities.  Activities are informal, fun learning opportunities, designed to foster excitement and learning between caregiver and child. This program offers the amazing opportunity to assist keepers by providing enrichment for many of our farm animals – in the form of special gifts!

April 5 & 6, 2014

Dates, Times & Registration

Nature Explorer (Ages 6 – 9)

The Phoenix Zoo is excited to introduce a new kind of program — Nature Explorer. This program consists of two distinct experiences, designed with nature play as their goal! Understanding that boys’ and girls’ interests often develop differently, particularly with regard to playtime as well as in the sciences, we’ve created these single-sex programs to provide kids with the opportunity to explore those interests.

Princess Explorer

The Princess Explorer program, for girls ages 6-9, invites girls into a different world, where they can dress-up and get messy, while learning about famous female explorers and scientists who have played a key role in our understanding and appreciation of the environment. This program encourages young girls to explore all their interests, learning that tiaras and trekking are not mutually exclusive.  During Princess Explorer, girls will participate in nature play-based activities and problem solving adventures, creative group and individual projects, and experience the Zoo in a new and different way. Girls can (and are encouraged to) come dressed in princess attire or any other dress-up they choose, but please understand we’ll have fun getting dirty while we learn and play.

Dates, Times & Registration

Science Superhero

The Science Superhero program, for boys ages 6-9, provides a unique experience for boys to enter into a world of the unknown, an untamed environment ripe for research, exploration and super fun!  This program is play and imagination based, embracing the various interests of many young boys and allowing for science and exploration to coexist with action-adventure and role-play. During Science Superhero, boys will travel through uncharted terrain, facing challenges requiring teamwork, creativity, logic and critical thinking, while on the hunt for new adventures. Boys are encouraged to dress as any super hero, “real” or imaginary, keeping in mind that adventure and dirt are often synonymous.

Dates, Times & Registration

Critter Keeper (Ages 6 – 10)

Experience what it’s like to be a zoo keeper! During this non-stop, fun-filled afternoon young Critter Keepers participate in all aspects of animal care including: cleaning, distributing diets, and preparing enrichment items for our animal collection. Small class sizes, allow us to offer an exclusive and personalized adventure in which children experience the excitement, hard work, and patience required to be a zookeeper and care for our Phoenix Zoo animals. All Critter Keeper kids will be outfitted with a t-shirt and water bottle. For children 6-10 years.

Program Topics:

  • January – May 2014

January: Show Animals

Have you ever wondered how zoo keepers train the amazing animals that you’ve seen in our show? Have you ever wondered where all of the Phoenix Zoo’s programs animals live? This Critter Keeper program is focused on the Phoenix Zoo’s show animals, and is designed to support children in discovering the answers to many questions while having incredible encounters with zoo animals and within zoo exhibits. The non-stop program parallels the daily schedule of a zookeeper and begins when children meet their instructor on the bridge and walk to a zoo classroom to get outfitted and briefed for the day of “work.” The small group of future animal caretakers moves right into all aspects of caring for show animals, including: preparing animal diets, observing animal training and husbandry, and touring the behind-the-scenes home of our programs animals! Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to learn about the fun, challenging, and always entertaining job of a zookeeper!

Dates, Times & Registration

February: Children’s Trail

What is an ocelot’s favorite food? Does a warty pig really have warts? Our Critter Keeper program on the Children’s Trail, is designed to support children in discovering the answers to many questions while having incredible encounters with zoo animals and within zoo exhibits. The non-stop program parallels the daily schedule of a zookeeper and begins when children meet their instructor on the bridge and walk to a zoo classroom to get outfitted and briefed for the day of “work.” The small group of future animal caretakers moves right into all aspects of caring for some very fun zoo animals, including: cleaning an animal enclosure with the animal still inside, learning to properly handle a Zoo animal, making and delivering behavioral enrichment, and preparing diet for an elusive carnivore! Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to learn about the fun, challenging, and always entertaining job of a zookeeper!

Dates, Times & Registration

March: Reptiles

Does a snake feel different than a lizard? How can you tell a turtle and a tortoise apart? This Critter Keeper program is focused on reptiles, and is designed to support children in discovering the answers to many questions while having incredible encounters with zoo animals and within zoo exhibits. The non-stop program parallels the daily schedule of a zookeeper and begins when children meet their instructor on the bridge and walk to a zoo classroom to get outfitted and briefed for the day of “work.” The small group of future animal caretakers moves right into all aspects of caring for these radical animals, including: cleaning an animal enclosure with the animal still inside, learning to properly handle a Zoo animal, and feeding and touching a giant reptile! Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to learn about the fun, challenging, and always entertaining job of a zookeeper!

Dates, Times & Registration

April: Raptors

What makes raptors different from any other bird? Can an owl really turn its head all the way around? This Critter Keeper program is focused on raptors, and is designed to support children in discovering the answers to many questions while having incredible encounters with zoo animals and within zoo exhibits. The non-stop program parallels the daily schedule of a zookeeper and begins when children meet their instructor on the bridge and walk to a zoo classroom to get outfitted and briefed for the day of “work.” The small group of future animal caretakers moves right into all aspects of caring for these feathered animals, including: delivering behavioral enrichment to our vultures, using observation skills to identify and classify raptors, and observing a raptor being trained by our animal resources staff! Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to learn about the fun, challenging, and always entertaining job of a zookeeper!

Dates, Times & Registration

May: Savanna Animals

What is one of the smartest animals on the savanna? Where do the giraffes go every night to sleep? This Critter Keeper program is focused on the animals that call our savanna exhibit home, and is designed to support children in discovering the answers to many questions while having incredible encounters with zoo animals and within zoo exhibits. The non-stop program parallels the daily schedule of a zookeeper and begins when children meet their instructor on the bridge and walk to a zoo classroom to get outfitted and briefed for the day of “work.” The small group of future animal caretakers moves right into all aspects of caring for savanna animals, including: visiting the commissary and preparing animal diets, cleaning the giraffe’s night house, meeting a very smart savanna animal up-close and delivering behavioral enrichment! Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to learn about the fun, challenging, and always entertaining job of a zookeeper!

Dates, Times & Registration

Lunch with a Keeper (Ages 6 – 10)

This program is like a coveted backstage pass to meet the band! Enjoy a pizza lunch while you make friends with and learn from the animal experts – our zookeepers. Ask questions that only a keeper could answer and listen to stories that only a keeper could tell. After lunch, get treated to a behind-the-scenes tour and awesome animal experience led by the person that knows the animals best.  This unique experience is one of the best at the Zoo – you’ll truly understand the passion and dedication involved with being a zookeeper. For children 6-10 years and a caregiver.

Program Topics:

  • January – May 2014

January: Conservation Center Keepers

Want to come face-to-face with one of North America’s most endangered mammals?  Would you like to learn how zookeepers care for snails as small as a grain of rice? Come find out these answers and many more during an afternoon of fun and excitement as we discover what it takes to care for threatened native Arizona species. We’ll enjoy a pizza lunch alongside one of our conservation center zookeepers, who will answer questions and tell stories about the animals and their job. Following lunch, we will take a behind-the-scenes tour of the conservation center, where we will see some of the current conservation projects in action here at the zoo!

Dates, Times & Registration

February: Giraffe Keepers

Why do giraffes have such long necks?  How do keepers reach that high to feed them? Come find out these answers and many more during an afternoon of fun and excitement as we discover what makes the giraffes such a favorite animal at the zoo. We’ll enjoy a pizza lunch alongside one of our giraffe zookeepers, who will answer questions and tell stories about the animals and their job. Following lunch, we will take a behind-the-scenes tour of the giraffe barn (the giraffes’ very large night house).  Once we have appreciated their true size by touring the barn, we will make our way to the giraffe deck where we will have the opportunity for a private, up-close interaction with one of our giraffes!

Dates, Times & Registration

March: Elephant Keepers

What is it like to work with a 9,000 pound animal?  Are elephants really as intelligent as some claim? Come find out these answers and many more during an afternoon of fun and excitement as we discover what it takes to work with elephants. We’ll enjoy a pizza lunch alongside one of our elephant zookeepers, who will answer questions and tell stories about the animals and their job. Following lunch, we will prepare cardboard boxes stuffed with treats and melon heads for behavioral enrichment for our elephants.  After a short walk to a behind-the-scenes elephant area, we will watch as the keepers deliver our handmade enrichment items to the elephants.

Dates, Times & Registration

April: African Carnivore Keepers

Enjoy an afternoon of fun and excitement as we discover what it takes to work with African’s most successful hunters. We’ll 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, we will take a behind-the-scenes tour of the wild dogs’ night house.  Delivering enrichment items to the animals will be thrilling as we watch them demonstrate some of their amazing adaptations!

Dates, Times & Registration

May: Orangutan Keepers

What is an orangutan’s favorite food? Do they like to play just like we do? What are some of the challenges of working with such an intelligent, unique and strong animal? Come find out these answers and many more during an afternoon of fun and excitement as we discover what it takes to work with orangutans. We’ll enjoy a pizza lunch alongside one of our orangutan zookeepers, who will answer questions and tell stories about the animals and their job. Following lunch, participants will get a special behind-the-scenes look at the Phoenix Zoo’s orangutan exhibit.

Dates, Times & Registration

Wild Science Academy – Wild Science Workshops (Ages 5 – 13)

Wild Science Academy lets you explore the world of science with the Zoo as your classroom! These affordable and educational two-hour classes teach science through animal interactions, behind-the-scenes experiences, laboratory investigations, group projects, Zoo hikes, and other inquiry-based learning activities. Wild Science Academy is perfect for any young student with a desire to learn more about the science of zoos. Each class is also developed using the AZ State Science Standards.

Wild Science Workshops: These broad topic, multi-age science courses focus on science and ecology concepts such as physical and behavioral animal adaptations, habitats, niches, food chains, predator prey relationships and other important subjects relating to Arizona Science Standards.

Program Topics:

  • March – May 2014

March: Around the World, Ages 5 – 8

The Phoenix Zoo houses animals from every corner of the world. Come learn about different animals from every continent and the unique habitats they survive in. With animal interactions and up-close animal experiences students will leave the Zoo feeling like a world traveler!

Dates, Times & Registration

March: Wild Trek, Ages 9 – 13

Famous field scientists have trekked and explored through lands and seas to study animals in the wild. This class mimics some of these treks with an orienteering race through Scientific History. Strap on your hiking boots and learn about those who came before.

Dates, Times & Registration

May: Extreme Animals, Ages 5 – 8

Animals are adapted to survive. Some animals survive in below freezing temperatures, some in the deepest of deep parts of the ocean, and some in the driest and most remote of deserts. Come learn about these extreme animals that can survive where others cannot with in depth investigations and hands-on encounters!

Dates, Times & Registration

May: Veterinary Science, Ages 5 – 8

Taking the best care of the Zoo’s animals to ensure their health and safety is one of the most important things here at the Zoo. A lot of time and effort is put into the well-being of our animal collection so that guests can view happy and active animals every time they visit. In this course, students will learn all about zoo veterinarian work as they get an exclusive tour of the Phoenix Zoo’s Animal Care Center and find out what it takes to care for the Zoo’s animal collection.

Dates, Times & Registration

Wild Science Academy – Wild Science Investigations (Ages 5 – 13)

Wild Science Academy lets you explore the world of science with the Zoo as your classroom! These affordable and educational two-hour classes teach science through animal interactions, behind-the-scenes experiences, laboratory investigations, group projects, Zoo hikes, and other inquiry-based learning activities. Wild Science Academy is perfect for any young student with a desire to learn more about the science of zoos. Each class is also developed using the AZ State Science Standards.

Wild Science Investigations: These courses delve deeper into conservation issues, specific animals and environments, and specialized scientific systems. In just two hours you’re part-way to becoming an expert!

  • January – April 2014

January: Biome Studies: Rainforests, Ages 5 – 7

Rainforests are the most diverse ecosystems in the world, with literally millions of different types of animals calling them home! In this course students will learn all about the complexities of a rainforest environment. Students will gain knowledge of these precious and productive lands through instructive activities, up-close encounters with our rainforest animal ambassadors, and amazing animal experiences that won’t soon be forgotten!

Dates, Times and Registration

January: Creature Connections: Symbiotic Relationships, Ages 8 – 10

Everyone needs a friend. The world is full of animals that depend on other living things to survive. In “Creature Connections” we investigate animal associations all around us. Participants will use the Zoo to learn about symbiotic relationships and how different animals interact with one another. With up-close animal discoveries around every corner and a wild journey through the Zoo, students will see wildlife connections all around them!

Dates, Times and Registration

January: Biomimicry: Part 1, Ages 11 – 13

Students probe into intellectual discoveries and the scientists who have used amazing wildlife as inspiration for revolutionary ideas. From Velcro to night-vision goggles, many animals have been studied as part of the creative process for developing new technologies. Through animal interactions and hands-on activities, students will study a variety of remarkable inventions that were inspired by nature.

Dates, Times and Registration

February: Biome Studies: Savannas, Ages 5 – 7

Savannas and prairies are home to many of our favorite animals, from African lions to warthogs, to prairie dogs! In this class students will learn all about what defines these unique grassland ecosystems. Students will engage in fun, learning activities and will even meet animal ambassadors who call the amazing savannas and prairies “home.”

Dates, Times and Registration

February: Raptor Science, Ages 8 – 10

Join us to learn about and meet the ultimate predators of the sky – raptors! In this course, students will learn all about these amazing birds by studying some of the Zoo’s owls, hawks, vultures and other raptors. Up-close animal encounters experiences, hands-on experiments, and other fun learning activities will have students leaving the Zoo feeling like raptor experts.

Dates, Times and Registration

February: Biomimicry: Part 2, Ages 11 – 13

Students will look at wildlife-inspired designs and create their own nature-inspired inventions. Perfect for creative young minds and budding inventors! Using animal interactions for inspiration, students will brainstorm and even create a prototype for one of their unique ideas.

Dates, Times and Registration

April: Nature’s Illusionists, Ages 5 – 7

Some animals blend in their surroundings and some animals look like ferocious predators (but aren’t!). This month come to the Zoo and explore awesome adaptations intended to trick other animals. Learn about moths that trick predators into thinking they’re owls or insects that look like sticks! Through hands-on learning activities, games and up-close animal experiences, students will see first-hand camouflage and mimicry throughout the animal kingdom.

Dates, Times and Registration

April: Amazing Arizona, Ages 8 – 10

Our desert home is a harsh environment for living things. Discover the different ways animals and plants survive in Arizona, and the ecological, geological, and spatial characteristics that make this state unique!

Dates, Times and Registration

April: Sustainable Resources, Ages 11 – 13

Understanding conservation issues is a delicate balance of science, history, and debate. There is a growing awareness of and movement toward encouraging the sustainable harvesting of natural resources, which could change fishing and farming forever! Find out what defines sustainable harvesting, why it’s important, and the ways animals around the world such as tigers, elephants, and orangutans are affected.

Dates, Times and Registration

Roots & Shoots (Ages 10 – 14)

The Phoenix Zoo is excited to introduce Roots & Shoots, a new education program in collaboration with the Jane Goodall Institution. Roots & Shoots is a worldwide environmental and humanitarian effort that supports youth in action. It’s a fun and exciting way for young people to learn about environmental issues at local, national, and international levels, and find out ways they can help.

Participants will learn about a specific environmental issue focused on improving the lives of people, animals, and the environment. Through the development of an interactive media-based outreach campaign children will be empowered to raise awareness in their own communities. This is grassroots conservation for kids by kids!

February 2014 – A Look at Sustainable Resources

People enjoy natural resources such as wood, palm oil and seafood every day. As demand grows, the use of these resources affects many species of wildlife such as orangutans, tigers and sea turtles. This month we spread the word about how we can safely and sustainably use the resources we love (there’s no need to stop eating sushi!) without hurting endangered species.

Dates, Times and Registration