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).
Experience the Zoo in a whole new way and make your next field trip unforgettable with a Guided Tour! These 45-minute programs are specially designed for groups of up to 35 students, allowing them to participate in an inquiry-based walking tour of select Zoo trails. Your Zoo instructor will encourage critical thinking and deductive reasoning as your students explore their surroundings using multiple senses, including actively viewing animals on exhibit. Your students are also challenged to explain a variety of scientific concepts evident in the natural world.
Guided Tours are popular programs for school groups, so teachers and schools are encouraged to make reservations early. When making your reservation, please inform us of any cultural or religious aversions to any animal species or type of animal. We can adjust the tour to fit your needs. Please be sure to arrive early for your program, as extended time cannot be guaranteed past 10 minutes.
Crazy Classification: Exploring Animals (kindergarten – 2nd)
Mammal, bird or reptile? How do you know what kind of animal you’re looking at? Through the Exploring Animals Guided Tour, students discover the five major traits that scientists use to categorize animals. A Phoenix Zoo instructor leads students on a tour of the Zoo’s Arizona Trail, classifying vertebrate species. The instructor challenges students with interactives and inquiry to improve their observation and critical thinking skills.
Desert Discoveries: Exploring Arizona (3rd – 4th)
Food, water and shelter are hard to find in the Sonoran Desert. Avoiding predators and scorching temperatures are just some of the challenges living organisms must face. Through the Exploring Arizona Guided Tour, students explore and learn about several desert animals along the Phoenix Zoo’s Arizona Trail by comparing and contrasting their habitats and adaptations. Utilizing manipulatives, a Zoo instructor will guide small discussion groups to uncover how various Arizona animals survive in the harsh extremes of our local ecosystem.
Nature’s Niche: Exploring the Rainforest (3rd – 6th)
More than half of all the plant and animal species call tropical rainforests home. Just how do so many unique and valuable organisms manage to coexist in such tight quarters? By carving their own niche, finding their “job” to minimize competition and actually benefit one another and their environment. A Phoenix Zoo instructor leads students on a tour of the Zoo’s Forest of Uco Trail to explore some of the many interesting inhabitants of a tropical rainforest and determine just what niche they fill in their environment. Through observations and discussions, students are challenged to identify various components of a balanced ecosystem, including biotic and abiotic elements, as well as producers and consumers, and discover how valuable each one is to the other.
Tropical Treasures (6th – 12th)
Tropical rainforests are fragile ecosystems requiring a delicate balance for sustainability. So just what happens when you lose a rainforest? Through the Tropical Treasures Guided Tour, students explore the Forest of Uco at the Phoenix Zoo, discovering the importance of rainforests, the resources acquired from them and the interdependence of the inhabitants found therein. While a Zoo instructor facilitates a group examination and discussion of real life conservation projects, students gain an appreciation for the challenges we face in attempting to maintain a stable and diverse ecosystem and uncover the value of rainforests around the world.
Enriching Experiences: Exploring Behavioral Enrichment (7th – 12th)
Movies, music and video games provide us with hours of entertainment, but what does a zoo do to keep a monkey from getting bored or a zebra from being stressed? Behavioral Enrichment! By providing mental and physical stimulation through naturalistic settings and environmental enhancements, managed setting animals’ lives are greatly improved. The benefits include increased natural behaviors and healthy, stress-free individuals. The Enriching Experiences Guided Tour provides students with the opportunity to explore and learn about seven types of behavioral enrichment used by the Phoenix Zoo through comparing and contrasting a variety of exhibits and species. Utilizing manipulatives, a Zoo instructor will facilitate observations and discussions to discover some of the intricacies involved in the behavioral management of managed setting animals — making life more stimulating for the Zoo’s animals and guests alike!
Are you looking for a fun and interactive way to get your students engaged during your next field trip to the Zoo? Then join us for a Wild Workshop! These one-hour workshops are suited for groups of up to 35 students to participate in numerous hands-on, inquiry-based activities. Your Zoo instructor will encourage discovery and critical thinking as your students explore a variety of scientific concepts. Following the activity portion, some workshops will be visited by a member of our Programs Animal Collection. Depending on the nature of the class and the comfort of the animal, some animal touching opportunities may be available!
Wild Workshops are popular programs for school groups, so teachers and schools are encouraged to make reservations early. When making your reservation, please inform us of any cultural or religious aversions to any animal species or type of animal. We can adjust the animal presentation to fit your needs. Please be sure to arrive early for your workshop, as extended time cannot be guaranteed past 15 minutes.
Desert Connections (3rd – 4th)
Frigid ice or scorching sand? Arid, barren wasteland, or a variable and fascinating treasure? What makes deserts unique, and how have animals adapted to live in such harsh environments? Through the Desert Connections Wild Workshop, students discover how organisms are connected to biotic and abiotic elements in their ecosystem in order to survive such environmental extremes. A Phoenix Zoo instructor leads an interactive classroom workshop and hands-on discovery of some of the characteristics that define a desert biome. This workshop challenges your students’ perceptions of and appreciation for deserts and includes an up-close animal encounter with one of our program animals. Depending on the nature of the class and the comfort of the animal, touching opportunities might be included.
Amazing Adaptations (3rd – 6th)
How have animals adapted in order to survive? How do habitats influence those adaptations? Through the Amazing Adaptations Wild Workshop, students learn how ecosystems can change naturally and by the actions of humans, and how those changes can impact a variety of species. A Phoenix Zoo instructor leads the workshop with hands-on, inquiry-based activities to uncover the remarkable ways species are perfectly suited for their environment. Students also explore various types of physical and behavioral adaptations and discover the importance of versatility.
Kids Who Care Conservation Club (3rd – 8th)
What’s the purpose of biodiversity and what causes some species to become threatened or endangered? Through the Kids Who Care Conservation Club Wild Workshop, students examine some causes of endangerment and ways we can all make a difference. A Phoenix Zoo instructor leads your students through an interactive classroom workshop and exploration of what living organisms need to survive and how we can ensure the preservation of those resources and wildlife. This workshop challenges your students to seek out every day, attainable solutions to common conservation issues and includes an up-close animal encounter with one of our program animals. Depending on the nature of the class and the comfort of the animal, touching opportunities might be included. Discover the importance of wildlife conservation!
Wonders of Flight (9th – 12th)
What is biomimicry, and how has it influenced the development of man-made flight? Through the interactive Wonders of Flight Wild Workshop, a Phoenix 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. Students 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.
Introduction to Animal Care (9th – 12th) $150
How do you treat an elephant with a cold or a Komodo dragon with a toothache? Where do Phoenix Zoo animals go when they are sick or injured, and how do we meet the nutritional and behavioral needs of such a large animal collection? Through the interactive Careers in Animal Care Wild Workshop, a Phoenix Zoo instructor leads a class that challenges students to problem-solve and think critically about some of the issues animal caretakers face when working with exotic species. The program will conclude with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Zoo’s Joyce Corrigan Animal Care Center!
**Due to the unpredictable nature of caring for animals, a tour of the Corrigan Center may not be possible at all times. On these occasions, a similar experience will be provided elsewhere at the Zoo.
Are you looking to make your next field trip to the Zoo more memorable? Then join us for an Animal Discovery and observe animals up-close! These 30-minute programs are suited for groups of up to 75 students. Depending on the class and the comfort of the animal, some animal touching opportunities may be available. Your Zoo instructor will encourage an exploration of what makes each animal unique and provide opportunities for questions.
Animal Discoveries are popular programs for school groups, so teachers and schools are encouraged to make reservations early. When making your reservation, please inform us of any cultural or religious aversions to any animal species or type of animal. We can adjust the animal presentation to fit your needs. Please be sure to arrive early for your program, as extended time cannot be guaranteed past 10 minutes.
Animal Kingdom (kindergarten – 2nd)
I am cold blooded, lay eggs, am covered in scales, breathe air with lungs and have a backbone. What am I? Through the Animal Kingdom Animal Discovery program, students discover the five major traits that scientists use to categorize animals and utilize those traits to determine what animal they are observing. A Phoenix Zoo instructor leads students in a classroom presentation of program animals from different categories as students identify a variety of species based on common characteristics. The instructor challenges students with interactives and inquiry to improve their observation and critical thinking skills.
Creepy Crawlies (kindergarten – 2nd)
Spiders, snakes, bats and cockroaches! Why do some people think these animals are so creepy? Through the Creepy Crawlies Animal Discovery program, enter the world of crawly creatures and discover just how cool and very important these unique organisms are to the ecosystems in which they live. A Phoenix Zoo instructor leads students in a classroom presentation of program animals, allowing them to discover how learning about these creepy crawlies can dispel myths and actually change how we feel about them.
Desert Diversity (3rd – 4th)
Cactus, rocks, sand and heat are all components of the Sonoran Desert, but what else do we find there? Through the Desert Diversity Animal Discovery program, students learn what five elements all living organisms require to live and what adaptations enable these animals to survive in the harsh desert. A Phoenix Zoo instructor leads students in a classroom presentation of program animals, while your students design their own desert habitat and discover many of the important residents who call this challenging place home.
Predator/Prey (4th – 8th)
What makes the ultimate predator and how does prey successfully avoid becoming lunch? Through the Predator Prey Animal Discovery program, students identify a variety of adaptations necessary for predators and prey to survive. A Phoenix Zoo instructor leads students in a classroom presentation of program animals, as they assess the interdependence of predator prey relationships and the effectiveness of various survival strategies and techniques. The instructor challenges students with interactives and inquiry to improve their observation and critical thinking skills.
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.
Introduce young children to friendly and fierce animals in a light-hearted and entertaining way! Join us for a live 20-minute puppet show featuring a fun and fantastical animal fantasy that encourages sing-along, interaction and laughter.
Performances are presented by our talented volunteers and offered on Thursdays, October through April in the C.W. & Modene Neely Education and Event Center at 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. All shows are available for school groups and general Phoenix Zoo guests alike; however, in order to guarantee seating for large groups, a two- week advance reservation is required.
Choose from three premier puppet pageants specially developed for pre-K through second grade audiences.
Barnyard Buddies (Pre-K)
Old MacDonald had a menagerie down on Harmony Farm! Sing along and meet some of the animals who make their home on the range, many of whom you might actually encounter at the Zoo’s very own Harmony Farm. Learn about Charlie Horse’s shoes, Thomasina’s turkey trot and why goats love to recycle. It’s a hand-clappin’ good time on the farm!
Parade of the Desert Animals (K – 2 grade)
Who’s who in the desert, and just how do they all survive in this hot and interesting habitat? Join Cala and Coyo the coyotes as they introduce us to some of their desert neighbors and find out just what it takes to be a desert native. It’s quite an adventure out there!
Rare and Special Animals (2 – 3 grade)
Pandas, tigers and polar bears are all quite unique and rare. They face many challenges today, but there is something we can all do to help! Meet some of the special animals found around the globe and find out why they are so important to us. Explore the world and be inspired!
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!
Choose between one of the following:
ZooToYou Outreach Program – 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. ZooToYou scholarship programs are available on Mondays or Tuesdays throughout the year based on availability. 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 metro area, but within Arizona , you are eligible to receive a free visit from our Zoomobile Outreach Program. Call our Zoomobile office at 602-914-4329 for more details.
Distance Learning Outreach Program – A 45 – 60 minute live web broadcast presentation designed for a class size of up to 40 people. Presentation includes live animal ambassadors and engaging visual content presented by knowledgeable instructors. Distance Learning scholarship programs are available on Wednesdays or Thursdays throughout the year based on availability.
Estimated value of scholarship: $90
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.