For the Phoenix Zoo, high-quality education is an integral part of our mission. We offer a wide variety of programs and materials to support students and teachers as they learn about science and nature concepts. All of our programs for schools and teachers are based upon Arizona State Academic Standards. Look below to see how we can enhance learning at the Zoo and in your classroom.
- At the Zoo
- In Your Classroom
- Teacher Programs
Let the Zoo be your outdoor classroom with a field trip. Visit us during the day for a self-guided field trip or add an educational program with our staff to enhance your visit. Our Night Camp programs offer a great learning experience for students, and parents can spend the night, too.
Downloadable activities and lesson plans are available to use during your field trip.
Educational Programs for Field Trips
Reserve an educational program in conjunction with your day-time field trip, to enhance your students’ experience. All of our programs are designed to support academic standards, are age-appropriate and include a variety of hands-on and inquiry based techniques. To register for a program please contact our Reservations Department at 602.914.4333 (or check off program choice on reservation form).
An education specialist will take your students on a 45-minute interactive hike through part of the park. During the tour, students will gain valuable information about the amazing animals that call the Phoenix Zoo home. Tours are adapted for each grade level.
Exploring Animals (Kindergarten – 2nd)
During this guided tour, a Zoo educator will guide your students through a section of our Arizona Trail where they will explore the characteristics that are used to divide animals into categories. This tour also helps students learn to explore their surroundings with multiple senses and guides the students to actively view the animals on exhibit.
Exploring the Rainforest (Kindergarten – 3rd)
Students will discover the four layers of the rainforest and the inhabitants found therein. A Zoo instructor will lead them through an exploration of the Forest of Uco to uncover the many reasons rainforests are important around the world.
Exploring Arizona (2nd – 6th)
Students will explore Arizona Trail by comparing and contrasting the habitats and the animals that live in them. A Zoo education specialist will guide discussions covering how various Arizona animals have adapted to their habitats and the role that each animal plays in its environment.
Tropical Treasures Guided Tour (4th – 12th)
Students will discover the importance of rainforest ecosystems, the resources acquired from them and the interdependence of the inhabitants found therein. They will gain an appreciation for the challenges we face in attempting to maintain a stable and diverse ecosystem. A Zoo instructor will lead them through an exploration of the Forest of Uco to uncover the value of rainforests around the world.
Each 60-minute workshop includes a classroom session with age-appropriate, hands-on activities as well as an up-close visit from one of the Zoo’s Programs animals. Our Programs staff can customize this program to fit your curriculum needs.
Amazing Adaptations (Kindergarten – 6th)
This workshop helps students explore the reasons that adaptations are so important for animal survival. Older students will explore such concepts as competition, limited resources and ecological niches.
Desert Diversity (Kindergarten – 8th)
In this workshop students will use activities and discussion to investigate how animals have adapted to survive in the harsh environment of the desert. They will also explore how a desert compares to other habitats and the important roles each animal plays in its desert environment.
Critter Conservation (3rd – 8th)
This workshop serves to introduce students to the complications species face (human and natural) and how those factors affect their ability to survive. Students will explore why species are important to the survival of their ecosystems, and how they can participate in conservation efforts. The class will also focus on ways that the Phoenix Zoo is working to help species all around the world.
Wonders of Flight Wild Workshop (9th – 12th)
Students will explore various forms of organic flight including active flying, soaring and gliding to discover the physical forces involved and the diversity of adaptations necessary for a living organism to take to the skies. They will also uncover the role of biomimicry in the development of man-made flight. A Zoo instructor will guide students through a variety of inquiry stations involving animal artifacts, activities and live animals where they will observe, manipulate and investigate flight forms, adaptations and the mechanics of flight.
Careers in Animal Care (7th – 12th) $150
During this hour-long workshop, students will explore science-based zoo careers and use critical thinking skills to solve problems. This workshop includes a behind the scenes tour of our Animal Care Center** as well as an up-close experience with one of the Zoo’s programs animals.
**Due to the unpredictable nature of caring for animals, a tour of the Animal Care Center may not be possible at all times. On these occasions, a similar experience will be provided elsewhere at the Zoo.
A 30-minute animal presentation designed to make a school’s field trip more valuable. One of the Zoo’s Programs Assistants will present animals and be available for a question and answer session. Program themes include: Animal Kingdom (K-2nd), Creepy Crawlies (k-2nd), Desert Connections (2nd-6th), and Predator/Prey (4th-8th).
The Phoenix Zoo offers a program developed specifically for students with special needs. Live animals, photographs, skull models, pelts, animal figures, and more are used to engage students and demonstrate concepts. Our program utilizes a sensory motor approach – students move between stations and are encouraged to touch, smell, and feel all appropriate items. This program can be geared towards students of all ages and functioning levels. The animal families discussed are: insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The “Animal Families” program is presented by Zoo Volunteers.
Programs are offered on Mondays only, October – April by reservation only (at least two weeks in advance) and are free with paid admission to the Zoo. Call us at 602.914.4333 for more information.
The Phoenix Zoo offers overnight programs especially for school groups. Spend the night with us and your experience at the Zoo will be like no other! Night Camp adventures include up-close interactions with animals, hands-on activities, night hikes, snacks, breakfast and more. Choose from six different themes that are designed to meet Arizona Department of Education Academic Standards as well as the Next Generation Science Standards. Camps can be schedule almost any night of the year, depending on availability. A minimum of 25 paid campers* are necessary to book a camp. Camps must be booked and paid in full at least three weeks in advance. To reserve your camp date, call Reservations at 602.914.4333.
The Phoenix Zoo offers a variety of Nightcamp types and program themes. To learn more about Nightcamp programs, locations and other info please visit our Nightcamp page.
|School Group Rates*|
|1st-6th grades||7th grade and up|
|Overnight Night Camp||$45.00**||$50.00**|
*For all camps: School groups receive one FREE adult chaperone for every ten campers under the age of 18. One adult chaperone (at least 18 years of age) is required for each 10 children that attend. Free chaperones do not count toward the 25 paid camper minimum.
** Twilight and Overnight Night Camps have the option to add Hungry Howie’s Pizza for an additional fee of $5.00 per person, including chaperones.
Field Trip Information and Documents
The Phoenix Zoo offers an educational rate for all youth-oriented groups of $5.00 per person (including both children and adults) for admission to the Zoo for a minimum of 15 people. In order to qualify for these rates, all students must be accompanied by at least one adult per 10 children. If you qualify as a ZooReach** school you are eligible for the $2.00 rate per person.
Groups are welcome to schedule field trips throughout the year. Please note however, that we are closed to field trips during the month of March due to high visitation, and school reservations are limited each day in February and April. If you are planning a trip for the spring, please check the cover page of the Field Trip Reservation Form for sold out dates.
To schedule your field trip, complete the Field Trip Reservation Form and fax it to 602.914.4328. If you have questions, please contact our Reservations Department at 602.914.4333.** ZooReach schools are Title One Schools grades K-12 that have at least 50% of their entire enrollment in a free or reduced lunch program as listed by the Arizona Department of Education Health and Nutrition Services. To learn about all of our ZooReach scholarship opportunities visit the our Scholarships section of this page.
Additional Reservation Forms:
School Lunch Order Form – Use this form to pre-order school lunches for your field trip. To qualify for the group lunch rate you must order at least ten days in advance of your visit.
Zoo Souvenir Bag Order Form – Use this form to pre-order a souvenir bag from our Gift Shop. All orders must be received at least ten days in advance of your visit.
Download Forms for Your Visit:
The forms below are required for your field trip. Please contact our Reservations Department at 602.914.4333 if you need assistance.
School Group Map – This Zoo map is designed specifically to aid in your field trip.
School Bus Driver Letter (Academic Year) – Give this to your bus driver for information about parking during the regular academic year.
School Bus Driver Letter (Summer) – Give this to your bus driver for information about parking if you are visiting during the summer.
Let us bring the Phoenix Zoo to You! Our ZooToYou, Zoomobile, and Distance Learning programs align with Arizona Department of Education Academic Content Standards at primary and secondary levels.
Inspiring people to live in ways that promote the well-being of the natural world is part of the Phoenix Zoo’s mission statement. Our Outreach program fulfills this mission by delivering educational and exciting programs to your organization. Phoenix Zoo Outreach Specialists strive to engage audiences about the wonders of our earth and the animals with whom we share it.
Phoenix Zoo Outreach has three different programs depending upon your location in Arizona:
ZooToYou (within Metro Phoenix) | Zoomobile (outside Metro Phoenix)
Distance Learning (to anywhere)
Please visit our Outreach Programs page for more information on the currently available outreach programs.
Growing Up Wild Curriculum Training: Exploring Nature with Young Children
Growing Up Wild is an early childhood education activity guide that builds on children’s sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. Through a wide range of activities and experiences, it provides a foundation for developing positive impressions about nature while also building lifelong social and cognitive skills. Workshop participants will receive a copy of the guide and 4 hours toward continuing education.
Growing Up WILD’s activity guide:
- Is written for early childhood educators of children ages 3-7.
- Features 27 field-tested, hands-on, nature-based activities in a full-color 11”x17’’ activity guide.
Includes crafts, art projects, music, conservation activities, reading and math connections and much more.
- Involves social, emotional, physical, language, and cognitive domains to help foster learning and development in all areas.
- Supports developmentally appropriate practice allowing children to learn at levels that are individually, socially, and culturally appropriate.
- Is correlated to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Standards and the Head Start Domains.
Fee: Members: $20, Non-members: $20
Our next scheduled public workshop is: November 16 • 8:30 a.m. – 12: 30 p.m.
To make reservations call 602-914-4333. Group workshops can be scheduled for groups of 25 or more. Contact Gabby Hebert at 602.286.3822 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Free Teacher Orientations
Free orientations are available to orient current and pre-service teachers to how the Zoo can support your classroom teaching. For more information contact Liesl Pimentel at 602.286.3859 or email@example.com .
Earn Your Master’s Degree with the Zoo
The Phoenix Zoo is partnering with Miami University of Ohio and Project Dragonfly to offer a ground-breaking and low-cost graduate degree for anyone interested in science education and community engagement. If you’re looking for a program that is student-driven, community-focused and can be completed while you work, this program is for you. Visit our main Graduate Program page for more information.
Through generous donations from local individuals, corporations, and foundations the Phoenix Zoo is able to offer discounted and free rates for some of our educational opportunities under our ZooReach scholarship program. The ZooReach Scholarship is available for Arizona Department of Education designated Title One schools grades K-12 that have 50% or more of their enrollment on a free or reduced lunch program. Below you’ll find the variety of scholarships that are available.
Zoo Field Trips
Your school group is welcome to enjoy a day at the Zoo anytime for a reduced rate. The ZooReach Scholarship provides a $3 discount off the already discounted school/youth group rate. When you make a reservation, you will be quoted a rate of $2/person (including chaperones, teachers and/or parents) for a minimum group size of at least 15.
Discounted rate is available for multiple trips, different teachers, or classes.
Each qualifying ZooReach School is also eligible to receive the following programs for their school each year until funds are exhausted. Programs are based on Arizona State Academic Standards. Call 602.914.4333 beginning September 2nd, 2013 for reservations.
ZooReach Outreach – Let us bring the Zoo to You!
A one hour presentation at your school for a group of up to 75 people.
Presentation includes live animal ambassadors presented by engaging and knowledgeable instructors.
ZooReach Outreach programs can be booked on Mondays or Tuesdays throughout the year.
Additional consecutive presentations can be scheduled at a cost of $150 for each additional hour.
Estimated Value of scholarship: $190
Note: If your school is located outside the Phoenix Metropolitan area, call our ZooMobile office at 602-914-4329 to see if we are coming to your area this year.
ZooReach Night Camp
An unforgettable overnight experience!
Includes dinner, live animal presentations, activities, hikes on Zoo grounds, continental breakfast, and zoo admission for the following day.
A minimum of 25 campers (children & chaperones) is required to hold a camp.
ZooReach Scholarships provide funds for 36 children and 4 adults to attend Night Camp, including a pizza dinner.
Scholarship includes up to 36 t-shirts for the students attending the camp. Adult shirts are not included but can be purchased at the gift shop.
ZooReach Night Camp scholarships become available September 2nd and can be scheduled for any night from September 17th until March 1st.
Final numbers need to be submitted 16 days prior to your arrival. You are responsible for the total number you have reserved – there are no refunds for no-shows!!
*IMPORTANT: If less than 16 days notice is given for a cancellation, or if your group arrives for Night Camp with less than the 25 person minimum, your school will not be permitted to reschedule using scholarship funds this year nor will it be permitted to participate in the ZooReach Scholarship the following year. Night Camp has arranged for food and instructors for the number of people reserved so the ZooReach Scholarship program is still charged for these no-shows, and funds are limited.
*If you wish to add campers above the number covered by the scholarship, the costs are as follows and must be paid for 16 days prior to your camp date:
$45.00 (1st through 6th grade campers)
$50.00 (7th grade & above, including teachers/chaperones)
(One free adult chaperone for every 10 paying campers under the age of 18)
Estimated value of scholarship: $2,324.00
Please call 602.914.4333 with any questions, to make a reservation, or be put on a wait list. Thank you.