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.

As a Phoenix-based community steward, along with a shared mutual love of animals, PetSmart and PetSmart Charities are proud Presenting Sponsors of ZooReach. ZooReach schools are Title 1 schools grades K-12 that have at least 50 percent 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 more about ZooReach scholarship opportunities, visit the Scholarships section below.

      

  • At the Zoo
  • Homeschool
  • Classroom
  • Teacher
  • Scholarships

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 to use during your field trip are being updated. 

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).

Guided Field Trips

Guide-led, walking field trip tours happen in conjunction with your daytime field trip to enhance your students’ experience. All of our programs are designed to support academic standards, are grade-level appropriate and include a variety of inquiry-based techniques. 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.You have the flexibility to choose one tour from several different programs, each covering a wide span of animal and conservation sciences. Each guided field trip is 45 minutes in length.

Subject to availability. Does not include behind the scenes viewing areas.  

  • $2 per person
  • Minimum 15 guests. Groups larger than 25 may be split into multiple groups.
  • Grades K – 12
  • Zoo admission not included in tour price. However, youth-oriented groups receive an educational rate of $5 per person. (If qualified as a ZooReach school, you are eligible for a $2 per person rate.)
  • Available on a daily basis; excludes holidays and special event days
  • Must be scheduled two weeks in advance

Crazy Classification: Exploring Animals (K-2)
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 (3-4)
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 discussion groups to uncover how various Arizona animals survive in the harsh extremes of our local ecosystem.

Nature’s Niche: Exploring the Rainforest (3-6)
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 (6-12+)
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 (7-12+)
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!

Science in Zoos (9+)
How many scientists does it take to run a zoo? There’s a lot of science happening every day at the Phoenix Zoo that many never even notice. Throughout the Sciences in Zoos Guided Tour, students will view the Zoo from a different perspective. A Zoo instructor will lead the group in discussions and activities, while exploring many of the science disciplines necessary to run a successful zoo and conservation program. Students will discover the importance of the Phoenix Zoo’s role in conservation while uncovering many STEM career opportunities along the way.

Custom Guided Tours

Custom Guided Tours are directed towards your specific wants and needs. Our trained Zoo staff works with you to create a completely customizable 60-minute educational walking tour of one of our Zoo trails – covering the exhibits and topics you are interested in.

Subject to availability. Does not include behind the scenes viewing areas.  

  • $5 per person
  • Minimum 10 guests. Groups larger than 25 may be divided into multiple groups.
  • No age restrictions
  • Zoo admission not included in tour price. However, youth-oriented groups receive an educational rate of $5 per person. Discounted rates for groups of 25 or more are available.
  • Available on a daily basis; excludes holidays and special event days
  • Must be scheduled three weeks in advance

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.

All tours occur in any weather condition.

Special Needs Programs

The Phoenix Zoo offers a multisensory 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. Students are introduced to live animal ambassadors to reinforce concepts and to allow students an opportunity to reach beyond their comfort zones. The animal families discussed are: invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. The “Animal Families” program is presented by Zoo Volunteers.

“Each station was filled with great learning tools. There were words associated with photos and objects, habitat information, and pelts to touch. I also think the presentation of animal families with live creatures was phenomenal. I would recommend the program to other teachers.” – High School SPED Teacher

Programs are offered on Mondays, 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.

Education Program for Students with Special Needs Booking Form

Homeschool Day for Students with Special Needs

Join us at the Phoenix Zoo for a special program designed for homeschool students with special needs. This 45-minute program engages students and demonstrates concepts of “animal families” using live ambassador animals, photographs, skull models, pelts and activities that target different modalities of learning. As students move between stations to learn about invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, they are encouraged to interact using a variety of senses.

This program is designed for participants of all ages and functioning levels, and offers participants hands-on and individualized attention to meet their needs. Phoenix Zoo Volunteers facilitate the program.

Monday, January 15, 2018
10 – 10:45 a.m. & 11 – 11:45 a.m.
FREE with Zoo admission.
Participants must register in advance. Registration is for one child and one adult caregiver. Additional children are not permitted due to space restrictions.

To register for the event, complete the following form and the program coordinator will contact you to confirm details.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Nightcamp

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 five different themes that are designed to meet Arizona Department of Education Academic Standards as well as the Next Generation Science Standards. Camps can be scheduled Tuesday – Saturday, 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.

2017-2018 Pricing

  School Group Rates*
  1st-12th grades  
Twilight Camp $45.00**  
Standard Overnight Night Camp $55.00**  
Wilderness Experience $70.00  

*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.

Puppet Shows (included with Phoenix Zoo admission) (60 people max)

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 10:30 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. 

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.

Field Trip Reservation Form

Zoo Map – This Zoo map is 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.

School Group Lunch Order Form

Need additional field trip information?

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Wild Science Academy – SOLD OUT

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.

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.

Project WILD and Growing Up WILD Curriculum Training at the Zoo or At Your Site!

Project WILD Curriculum Training
Project WILD is an opportunity to explore and share the fascinating world of wildlife and ecosystems using fun, hands-on educational activities. It is an award-winning environmental education program that includes subjects from science and language arts to math and music. The K-12 guide contains more than 150 interdisciplinary activities in lesson-plan style cross-referenced to grade, subject, topic, skill and length, all correlated to state and national standards. The goal of Project WILD is to develop awareness, knowledge, skills and commitment that will lead to informed decisions, responsible behavior and constructive actions concerning wildlife and the environment.

This workshop offers exciting new teaching ideas for use in science, math, social studies, language arts, physical education, music, art and more! Learn how to use these hands-on activities to fit into your school or organization’s STEM program.

All participants will receive…
CEU instruction time including:

  • Review of pedagogy behind the projects
  • Time working with the format
  • Ideas on integration into curriculum
  • Time with references and extensions
  • Project WILD Guide full of innovative, teacher-tested activities for grades K through 12

Check back for future workshop dates, or if you are interested in having the training at your school, please contact the Call Center at 602.914.4333 for more information.

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.

Check back for future workshop dates, or if you are interested in having the training at your school, please contact the Call Center at 602.914.4333 for more information.

~ Check back later for Fall programs ~ 

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. ZooReach Scholarships are available for Arizona Department of Education designated Title I schools (grades K – 12) that have 50 percent 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. ZooReach Scholarships are available in September beginning the Tuesday after Labor Day. 

ZooReach Outreach – Let us bring the Zoo to You!

Choose between one of the following:

ZooToYou: Live on Location 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. Additional consecutive presentations can be scheduled at a cost of $150 for each additional hour.

Live on Location! ZooReach Scholarship programs can be scheduled on Mondays or Tuesdays throughout the year based on availability.

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.

OR

ZooToYou: 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 ZooReach Scholarship programs can be scheduled on weekdays, August – May, based on availability.

ZooReach Night Camp

Standard Night Camp Program – An overnight experience at the Phoenix Zoo for 36 children and four adults.* Includes pizza dinner and souvenir water bottle, live animal presentations, activities, hikes on Zoo grounds, healthy snack, a continental breakfast and Zoo admission for the following day. Night Camp t-shirts are also provided for students attending the camp. Adult shirts are not included, but can be purchased at the gift shop.

A minimum of 25 campers (children and chaperones) is required to hold a camp.

Night Camp ZooReach Scholarship programs can be scheduled Tuesday – Saturday evenings, late September – February.

*If you wish to add campers above the number covered by the Night Camp ZooReach Scholarship, the costs are as follows and must be paid for 16 days prior to your camp date:

$55/person (one free adult chaperone for every 10 paying campers under the age of 18)

Pizza $5/person

T-shirts $14/person

All ZooReach Scholarship programs are based on Arizona State Academic Standards. Call 602.914.4333 for reservations.