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 or 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 Zoo? Sign up for Phoenix Zoo Family Programs Newsletter!

Littlest Critters (Ages 0 – 18 months)

Get wild with your little one at the Phoenix Zoo! This all-new program allows our youngest visitors and their caregivers the chance to explore the world of animals. Spend the morning together in this inside/outside program featuring animal-themed music, games, movement activities and nature explorations. Each program focuses on animals from unique habitats all around the world and offer a chance to meet an animal up-close. For children 0 – 18 months and a caregiver

Dates and Times
April 8, 2015, 10 – 10:45 a.m.
May 6, 2015, 10 – 10:45 a.m.

Program Fee
Member Adult/Child Pair: $15
General Adult/Child Pair: $35
Register Here

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.

Take home a plush animal as a keepsake of your Zoo experience for only $6 if ordered when making reservations.

For children 18 months – 2 years and a caregiver

Program Topics:

March: Horse

Dates and Times
March 13, 2015, 10 – 10:45 a.m.
March 14, 2015, 10 – 10:45 a.m.

Program Fee
Member Adult/Child Pair: $15
General Adult/Child Pair: $35
Register Here

Who says hay is just for horses? Join us for an exciting morning of learning and an up-close horse encounter during our Farm Tots Horse program. Children join their caregivers in free-play, horse-themed activities and 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 have the opportunity to enter the horse barn to meet one of our horses.

April: Cow

Dates and Times
April 10, 2015, 10 – 10:45 a.m.
April 11, 2015, 10 – 10:45 a.m.

Program Fee
Member Adult/Child Pair: $15
General Adult/Child Pair: $35
Register Here

Have you ever felt a cow’s nose? Was it smooth and slippery or sticky and slimy? Do cows really say moo? Join us for the Farm Tots Cow program and you learn all about cows while playing at the farm! Children join 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.”

May: Goat

Dates and Times
May 8, 2015, 10 – 10:45 a.m.
May 9, 2015, 10 – 10:45 a.m.

Program Fee
Member Adult/Child Pair: $15
General Adult/Child Pair: $35
Register Here

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 have a blast learning about goats and playing at the farm. Children join 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 gregarious goats before a special one-on-one meeting with one of the farm’s favorite goats.

Breakfast with the Animals (Ages 2 – 5 years)

Would you like to learn what a giraffe eats for breakfast? Interested in watching a warthog wake up in the morning? What about feeding a giant tortoise? 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 that include a variety of movement, discovery, reasoning, crafts, songs and guided and free play opportunities. Children and parents are encouraged to explore the activities at their own pace and instructors are always there to help facilitate an engaging, fun experience for all. Your breakfast will finish with an amazing animal encounter!

Take home a plush animal as a keepsake of your Phoenix Zoo experience for only $6 if ordered when making reservations.

For children 2-5 years and a caregiver

Program Topics:

March: Monkey Madness

Dates and Times
March 6, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
March 7, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
March 8, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
March 13, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
March 14, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
March 15, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
March 20, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
March 21, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
March 22, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
March 27, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
March 28, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
March 29, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.

Program Fee
Member Adult/Child Pair: $30
General Adult/Child Pair: $50
Register Here

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

April: Bear Bonanza

Dates and Times
April 3, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
April 4, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
April 5, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
April 24, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
April 25, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
April 26, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.

Program Fee
Member Adult/Child Pair: $30
General Adult/Child Pair: $50
Register Here

Our program focuses on bears this month. You’ll learn about the many types of bears that live around the world, what they eat, why some bears hibernate and much, much more! After breakfast and activities, participants help a zookeeper deliver behavioral enrichment to our bears!

May: Incredible Elephants

Dates and Times
May 1, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
May 2, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
May 3, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
May 7, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
May 8, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
May 9, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
May 10, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
May 14, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
May 15, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
May 16, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
May 17, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
May 21, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
May 22, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
May 23, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
May 24, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.

Program Fee
Member Adult/Child Pair: $30
General Adult/Child Pair: $50
Register Here

Our program focuses on elephants this month. You’ll learn how elephants use their trunks, what they like to eat and much, much more! After breakfast and activities, you’ll learn about our elephants and assist an elephant keepers with their daily behavioral enrichment by hiding “elephant cookies” in the elephant yard and watching as the elephants search for the hidden treats!

Gifts for the Animals (Ages 2 – 5 years)

Whether it’s for a holiday or “just because” – giving gifts is fun! It allows us to show how much we care. 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 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 zookeepers by providing enrichment for many of our farm animals — in the form of special gifts!

For children 2 – 5 years and a caregiver

Dates and Times
April 18, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.
April 19, 2015, 8 – 9 a.m.

Program Fee
Member Adult/Child Pair: $20
General Adult/Child Pair: $40
Register Here

Critter Keeper (Ages 6 – 10 years)

Experience what it’s like to be a zookeeper! 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 Zoo animals. All Critter Keepers are outfitted with a t-shirt and water bottle.

For children 6 – 10 years

Program Topics:

March: Reptiles

Dates and Times
March 7, 2015, 12 – 2 p.m.
March 8, 2015, 12 – 2 p.m.

Program Fee
Member: $40
General: $50
Register Here

Does a snake feel different than a lizard? How can you tell a turtle and a tortoise apart? Critter Keeper Reptiles is designed to support children in discovering answers to 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 their 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!

April: Raptors

Dates and Times
April 4, 2015, 12 – 2 p.m.
April 5, 2015, 12 – 2 p.m.

Program Fee
Member: $40
General: $50
Register Here

What makes raptors different from any other bird? Can an owl really turn its head all the way around? Critter Keeper Raptors is designed to support children in discovering answers to 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 their 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!

May: Savanna Animals

Dates and Times
May 2, 2015, 12 – 2 p.m.
May 3, 2015, 12 – 2 p.m.

Program Fee
Member: $40
General: $50
Register Here

What is one of the smartest animals on the savanna? Where do the giraffes go every night to sleep? Critter Keeper Savanna Animalsis focused on the animals that call our savanna exhibit home and designed to support children in discovering answers to 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 their 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 deliver behavioral enrichment. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to learn about the fun, challenging and always entertaining job of a zookeeper!

Lunch with a Keeper (Ages 6 – 10 years)

Lunch with a Keeper is like a coveted backstage pass to meet the band! Enjoy a pizza lunch while you make friends with and learn from animal experts – our zookeepers. 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 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:

March: Elephant Keepers

Dates and Times
March 14, 2015, 12 – 1:45 p.m.
March 22, 2015, 12 – 1:45 p.m.

Program Fee
Member Adult/Child Pair: $50
(1 Additional Adult $15)
General Adult/Child Pair: $75
(1 Additional Adult $30)
Register Here

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

April: African Carnivore Keepers

Dates and Times
April 11, 2015, 12 – 1:45 p.m.
April 19, 2015, 12 – 1:45 p.m.

Program Fee
Member Adult/Child Pair: $50
(1 Additional Adult $15)
General Adult/Child Pair: $75
(1 Additional Adult $30)
Register Here

What makes the African painted dog the most successful hunters on the African savanna? What special care do carnivores require every day? Find out these answers and many more during an afternoon of fun and excitement as we discover what it takes to work with Africa’s most successful hunters. Enjoy a pizza lunch alongside one of our carnivore zookeepers who answers questions and tells stories about the animals and their job. Following lunch, take a behind-the-scenes tour of an African carnivore’s night house. Delivering enrichment items to the animals is thrilling as we watch them demonstrate some of their amazing adaptations!

May: Orangutan Keepers

Dates and Times
May 9, 2015, 12 – 1:45 p.m.
May 17, 2015, 12 – 1:45 p.m.

Program Fee
Member Adult/Child Pair: $50
(1 Additional Adult $15)
General Adult/Child Pair: $75
(1 Additional Adult $30)
Register Here

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. Enjoy a pizza lunch alongside one of our orangutan zookeepers who answers questions and tells stories about the animals and their job. Following lunch, participants have an up-close look at the Zoo’s orangutans!

Nature Explorers (Ages 6 – 9 years)

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 may develop differently, particularly with regard to playtime as well as the sciences, we’ve created these programs to provide kids with the opportunity to explore their interests in a single-sex environment. We encourage participants to dress-up however they choose for their adventure, but keep in mind … we will be getting messy as we learn and play!

Nature Explorers for Girls

Girls, ages 6-9, are invited into an unexplored side of the Zoo! Traverse uncharted terrain and learn about famous female explorers and scientists who have played a key role in our understanding and appreciation of the environment. This program inspires young girls to explore all of their interests, encouraging fact-finding and exploration in conjunction with fiction and fairy tales, all while engaging with their natural surroundings. Girls will encounter problem-solving and critical thinking adventures, creative opportunities and challenging group engineering and science-themed projects. Participants are encouraged to attend Nature Explorer dressed in their favorite adventure attire — be it pirates, princesses or pachyderms!

Dates and Times
February 28, 2015, 1 – 3 p.m.

Program Fee
Member: $25
General: $45

Nature Explorers for Boys

Boys, ages 6-9, are invited to participate in a unique Zoo experience! Journey through a world of the unknown and explore an untamed environment ripe for research and super fun. This program inspires young boys to pursue their interests, while promoting natural sciences and discovery through action-adventure and nature-based role-play. Boys will trek through novel environments, face challenges requiring teamwork, creativity and critical thinking, all while on the hunt for new adventures. Participants are encouraged to attend Nature Explorer dressed in their favorite adventure attire — be it knights, ninjas or night crawlers!

Dates and Times
March 21, 2015, 1 – 3 p.m.

Program Fee
Member: $25
General: $45
Register Here

Wild Science Academy (Ages 5 – 8 years)

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. Designed for home school students, but open to all, 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 Arizona Science Standards.

For children ages 5 – 8 years.

Program Topics:

March: Animal Relationships

Dates and Times
March 25, 2015, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.
March 28, 2015, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Program Fee
Member: $18
General: $30
Register Here

During this course, students explore the myriad animals and how they interact with one another in an ecosystem via competition, predation and symbiotic relationships. Students discover, through interactive demonstrations, data collection and behind-the-scenes experiences, that all ecological relationships, even parasitic ones, are integral to the stability of an ecosystem.

April: Animal-Habitat Relationships

Dates and Times
April 15, 2014, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.
April 18, 2014, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Program Fee
Member: $18
General: $30
Register Here

All animals must have a habitat and they often share this habitat with both living and non-living features and factors. Using ecology field techniques and methodologies, students investigate the intimate and integral relationships animals have with the non-animal life forms and non-living components of their environment, as well as the lasting impact animals have on their surroundings.

May: Biomes

Dates and Times
May 13, 2015, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.
May 16, 2015, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Program Fee
Member: $18
General: $30
Register Here

All living and non-living things coexist in harmonious balance on the grand biome scale, from desert and savanna to deep ocean trench. Students in this course explore the world’s biomes through the lens of ecological and biological concepts and investigate ecosystem services and calculate the value of biomes. Additionally, students collaborate to create complex, miniature biomes to showcase all they’ve learned about the science of animals and express their appreciation for all life.

Wild Science Academy (Ages 9 – 13 years)

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. Designed for home school students, but open to all, 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 Arizona Science Standards.

For children ages 9 – 13 years.

Program Topics:

March: Nutrition

Dates and Times
March 25, 2015, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.
March 28, 2015, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Program Fee
Member: $18
General: $30
Register Here

A balanced diet is essential to a healthy life for humans and this rule applies to animals as well. During this course students discuss and compare balanced diets for predators and prey, carnivores and herbivores. Students investigate the nutritional content of various food items and roles of different nutrients in animal diets, then get up-close with some hungry Zoo residents.

April: Endurance

Dates and Times
April 15, 2015, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.
April 18, 2015, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Program Fee
Member: $18
General: $30
Register Here

In order to move muscles and perform the work necessary to live, animals require energy — some more than others. During this course, students investigate extreme examples of animal energy consumption and conservation and perform investigative research in behavioral and structural adaptations, while getting up-close to animal ambassadors.

May: Ecosystem Energy

Dates and Times
May 13, 2015, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.
May 16, 2015, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Program Fee
Member: $18
General: $30
Register Here

The productivity of an ecosystem is essential to all the species that thrive there, as well as conservationists. During this course, students track energy through an ecosystem from the sun, up through the top predators and back into the ground. Students calculate a habitat’s productivity and investigate the costs and benefits of conservation action in different regions around the world. Using animal ambassadors, students develop a new understanding of the role energy plays in daily life for all living things, as well as the important role the sun plays in all biological function.