The Phoenix Zoo offers several programs to help teens explore careers, learn more about science and animals, and get directly involved with conservation. View the program descriptions below to learn more.

Available Programs:

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:

  • September – December 2014
  • January – May 2015

September: Flight

Dates and Times
September 24, 2014, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.
September 27, 2014, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.

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

Many animals have adapted for life in the air, but none so elegantly as birds. This course explores the avian adaptations for flight through live animal interactions, artifact observations and investigations. Students experiment with the physical forces and avian mechanics that make flight possible through guided inquiry projects and meet some feathered friends along the way.

October: Structure

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

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

Why does a cheetah have such long legs? Why are some predatory fish warm-blooded? This course explores the incredible internal mechanisms that power the speediest species on earth. Students conduct comparative investigations of animal skeletal systems and get up-close to observe animals with intriguing anatomical adaptations.

November: Strength

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

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

Muscles are measurably more than just mechanisms for movement. For many animal species, the body’s muscles work overtime to ensure survival, constantly exerting force to cause motion. In this course, students investigate the three types of muscles through hands-on exploration and activities, scientific calculations and animal encounters to foster an appreciation for the part muscles play in animal survival.

December: Defense Mechanisms

Dates and Times
December 17, 2014, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.
December 20, 2014, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.

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

Animals are constantly exposed to chemical, biological and physical challenges they must overcome in order to survive. In this course, students encounter the unique defenses animals have developed, explore the development and biological impact of venom, toxins and poisons, investigate camouflage and mechanics involved in color changing species and get up-close to Zoo animals with some amazing abilities to stay alive.

January: Communication

Dates and Times
January 14, 2015, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.
January 17, 2015, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.

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

Communication is a key to success, and for many animals, the key to survival! This course introduces the various forms of communication, from chemical cues to infrasonic sound waves,that are employed by animal ambassadors in order to stay alive. Students investigate the nervous system and how various forms of communication are generated, received and interpreted.

February: Animals Big and Small

Dates and Times
February 11, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.
February 14, 2015, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.

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

Animals come in myriad shapes and sizes, but all must perform basic functions to stay alive. This course explores biological phenomena of gigantism and dwarfism by taking an in-depth look at some of the Zoo’s resident giants. Students investigate the mechanics required to sustain life on these opposing scales through inquiry-based study and cost-benefit analysis to determine what factors might allow animals to get so big or so small.

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.

ZooTeens (Ages 14 – 17)

ZooTeens is a great opportunity for teens to get started early in volunteering and learning about science, conservation, animals and much more. The program also helps develop a keen sense of responsibility, self-confidence, public speaking abilities and career skills. In addition to gaining valuable professional skills, ZooTeens receive the same Phoenix Zoo benefits as our adult volunteers.

ZooTeens primarily spend their time interacting with the Zoo public through games, crafts, activities and the presentation of animal artifacts. Occasionally, ZooTeens may also present small animals to Zoo guests to demonstrate caregiving or natural history concepts.

Any teenager age 14 – 17 that has an interest in the Zoo, natural world and helping their community is welcome to apply.

Please visit our ZooTeens program page for more information.