Field Trips

Virtual Field Trips: Zoos

Virtual Field Trips: Zoos

Originally published in TEACH Magazine, March/April 2022 Issue

Zoos can play an important role in teaching students all sorts of things about animals. From behaviour, to endangered species, to wildlife and habitat conservation, there’s plenty of learning (and excitement!) to be had on a trip to the zoo. Now, these fun-filled field trips have also been adapted to virtual learning environments. For a new twist on a classic school field trip, use these virtual zoo programs to take students on wild journeys through the animal kingdom—all from the comfort of the classroom!

Denver Zoo
Denver, CO
Grade Level: K–6

The Denver Zoo’s virtual Classroom Safari programs offer several options for various age groups. Younger students can learn how to use science skills to discover animal characteristics and adaptations for survival. Older grades can explore the life cycles of insects, birds, mammals, and more! Several all-ages programs are available as well, along with free resources for students and teachers.

Minnesota Zoo
Apple Valley, MN
Grade Level: K–12

These 30–45 minute virtual classes are a fun and engaging way to teach students about wildlife and the environment. Topics range from penguins, coral reefs, or animal adaptations, to designing a successful zoo exhibit. Educators can also browse through free online resources in the zoo’s Learning Corner.

Omaha’s Henry Dooly Zoo and Aquarium
Omaha, NE
Grade Level: K–12

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Choose from a wide selection of distance learning programs offered by the Henry Dooly Zoo. From 60-minute programs that focus on ocean life, endangered species, the rainforest, or nocturnal animals; to 30-minute programs all about animal sounds, zoo babies, or camouflage, there’s sure to be a good fit! The zoo has free educational resources available as well.

Phoenix Zoo
Phoenix, AZ
Grade Level: K–8

The Phoenix Zoo’s interactive presentations include a combination of live discussions, pre-recorded guided tours with animals, and accompanying worksheets. Topics include: food webs, survival adaptations, human impacts, genetics, and more. Note that Title 1 schools may qualify for the ZooReach Scholarship Program.

Toronto Zoo
Toronto, ON
Grade Level: K–12

The Toronto Zoo offers two types of virtual field trips: a shorter “Meet & Greet,” which involves a special appearance from an animal ambassador; and a longer “Workshop” that focuses on a curriculum-related topic of your choice. Workshops also include a Q&A session and an additional video and activity package. Be sure to check out the zoo’s online resource page as well.