The Phoenix Zoo has a variety of educational programs designed to connect children of all ages with the natural world. Our programs are offered for children starting at 18 months old and are designed to support their growing needs and abilities. We truly hope that your child will grow up with the Zoo! Many programs offer opportunities for parents or caregivers and children to learn and explore together, making it an experience for the entire family. See our many program offerings below and join our programs family today.

Zoo Play Date (6 – 18 months + caregiver)

Social interactions are an important part of learning and engaging – for children and adults! The Zoo Play Date program provides an environment for your child to interact with others through play and exploration of the natural world with you by their side. Natural “loose parts” elements that encourage gross and fine motor skill development and an introduction to guided activities designed to support the physical, cognitive and emotional growth of your child are the focus of this program along with inspiration for adult engagement and fun!

For children 6 – 18 months (sitting independently and early walking) and a caregiver. Each month features different activities coupled with repetition and routine that can help your early learner thrive. Programs take place indoors and outdoors.

Program time: 10 – 10:45 a.m.
Program fees:

Member Adult/Child Pair       $ 15       Extra Adult $5       Extra Child (includes 1 adult) $11

General Adult/Child Pairs       $ 20       Extra Adult $7       Extra child (includes adult)   $15

Dates:

October 10, November 14, December 12, January 16, February 13, March 19, April 16, May 14

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Zoo Tots (18 months – 3 yrs. + caregiver)

Positive interactions with animals and nature help lay a foundation for children to develop empathy and respect for the natural world. The Zoo Tots program introduces young children and their caregivers to some of the Zoo’s friendliest animals and provides activity opportunities to help children learn and practice the basics of animal care. Vocabulary development, fine motor skill development, space for children to play independently and an up-close animal encounter are important and fun parts of this program.

For children 18 months – 3 years (toddlers) and a caregiver. Each month features a different theme coupled with repetition and routine that can help your early learner thrive. Programs take place indoors and outdoors.

Program time: 10 – 10:45 a.m.
Program fees:

Member Adult/Child Pair       $ 20       Extra Adult $7       Extra Child (includes 1 adult) $15

General Adult/Child Pairs       $ 27       Extra Adult $10       Extra child (includes adult)   $20

Dates/Themes:

  • October 5, 11 – Nocturnal
  • November 2, 8 — Farm
  • December 7, 13  — Bugs
  • January 11, 17 — Jungle
  • February 7, 8  — Desert
  • March 6, 14  — Forest
  • April 4, 10 — Savanna
  • May 2, 8  — Aquatic

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Breakfast with the Animals (3-5 yrs. + caregiver)

Join us for a continental breakfast of “people food” and activity stations that include a variety of movement, art, songs and learning exploration, followed by an amazing animal encounter. The activities in this program focus on promoting curiosity, fostering empathy, encouraging discovery and introducing/reinforcing age appropriate learning about numbers, letters, words, shapes, colors, textures and more! Children and parents are encouraged to explore the activities together and instructors help facilitate an engaging and fun experience for all.

For children 3 – 5 years and a caregiver. Each month features a different animal-focused theme. Programs take place indoors and outdoors.

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Program time: 8 – 9 a.m.
General Program fees:

Member Adult/Child Pair      $30     Extra Adult $11          Extra Child (includes 1 adult) $23 

General Adult/Child Pair        $40     Extra Adult $14          Extra Child (includes 1 adult) $30

Program topics:

September: Tortoises

This month’s breakfast adventure is a “shell-abration” of all things tortoise! Through hands-on activities and exploration, you will learn all about tortoises – shells, lifespan, eggs, habitats and much, much more! After breakfast and activities, you’ll enjoy a unique experience as we visit and feed the Galápagos tortoises in their exhibit! 

October: Vultures (NEW!)

Something spooky is flying in for this month’s breakfast adventure; could it be some misunderstood and special animals? Vultures’ bald heads might make them appear a little scary, but join us to learn about this and other unique adaptations of nature’s clean-up crew! After breakfast and activities, we will meet a bird keeper and get to know the vultures of the Arizona Trail as we help prepare and provide breakfast enrichment items. 

November: Chickens (NEW!)

In this month’s breakfast adventure, we will meet the closest living relative to the T. rex: the anything-but-ordinary chicken! Find your place in the pecking order as we learn all about chicken eggs, adaptations they use to hunt and eat their food, the different types of sounds they make and more! After breakfast and classroom activities, we will have an up-close and personal animal discovery experience with the Zoo’s ambassador chickens and will feed the them their breakfast! 

January: Monkeys

Swing by for some “monkey business” in this month’s breakfast adventure! Learn how these precocious primates use their tails, how intelligent they are and much, much more! After breakfast and classroom activities, a primate keeper will show us how behavioral enrichment items are prepared for the squirrel monkeys of Monkey Village. You can even ask the keeper monkey questions and we will follow the them into Monkey Village before the Zoo opens to watch as the monkeys receive their breakfast! 

February: Giraffe

Stretch as high as you can as you prepare to learn all about the tallest animals at the Zoo: the giraffe! In this month’s breakfast adventure, you’ll learn about what giraffes eat, how they use their tongues and much, much more. After breakfast and activities, you’ll enjoy a unique experience going behind the scenes to meet the tallest animals at the Zoo!

March: Flamingos

“Flamingle” with the flock in this month’s breakfast adventure! Join in on the fun to discover what a flamingo nest looks like, learn about unique flamingo adaptations and, most importantly, how flamingos get their pink color!  Following breakfast and activities, we will get up close with the flamingos as we join bird keepers to hand deliver their breakfast. 

April: Elephants

They say elephants never forget, and we are certain YOU will never forget this amazing experience! In this month’s breakfast adventure, discover how elephants use their trunks, what they like to eat and much, much more! After breakfast and activities, you’ll learn more about the elephants that call the Phoenix Zoo home as we get an up-close look at their exhibit. We will assist elephant keepers with their daily behavioral enrichment by hiding “elephant cookies” in the elephant yard and watching as the elephants search for the hidden treats!

May: Alligators

Get ready for a thrill as we learn about some of the most prehistoric animals to still walk the earth! In this month’s breakfast adventure, you’ll learn all about the Zoo’s amazing alligators. Discover what they like to eat, the unique adaptations they have to survive in their freshwater ecosystems and more. After breakfast and activities, participants will enjoy a front-row view as we observe these amazing animals receive their breakfast and/or enrichment items from their keepers!

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Critter Keeper (6-9 yrs.)

Experience what it’s like to be a zookeeper! During this non-stop, fun-filled afternoon, young Critter Keepers participate in all aspects of animal care including cleaning, distributing diets and preparing enrichment items for our animal collection. Small class sizes allow us to offer an exclusive and personalized adventure in which children experience the excitement, hard work and patience required to be a zookeeper and care for Zoo animals. All Critter Keepers are outfitted with a t-shirt and water bottle. For children 6 – 9 years old.

For children 6 – 9 years.
Program time: 12 – 2 p.m.
Program fees

Members        $50

General           $67

Dates/Themes:

  • October 12, 13 – Forest of Uco
  • November 10, 16 – Tropics I
  • December 1, 21 – AZ Trail
  • January 15, 18 – Ambassador Animals
  • February 15, 16– Children’s Trail
  • March 8, 21 – Tropics II
  • April 8, 21 – Farm
  • May 13, 16 – Africa Trail

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Critter Keeper Careers  (10-13yrs.)

Have you ever wondered what a career at the Zoo might be like?  In this exciting program, you can find out! Critter Keeper Careers provides children with the opportunity to explore a variety of animal care careers through this non-stop, fun-filled afternoon! Critter Keepers participate in all aspects of animal care including cleaning, distributing diets and preparing enrichment items for our animal collection. Small class sizes allow us to offer an exclusive and personalized adventure in which young people experience the excitement, hard work and patience required to be a Zoo professional and care for Zoo animals. All Critter Keepers are outfitted with a t-shirt and water bottle. For children 10-13 years.

Program time: 12 – 2 p.m.
Program fees

Members        $50

General           $67

Dates/Themes:

  • October 6 – Animal Trainers
  • November 11 – Behavioral Enrichment I
  • December 15 – Conservation
  • January 19 – Zookeepers I
  • February 16 — Behavioral Enrichment II
  • March 16 – Zoo Vets
  • April 20 – Zoo Chefs
  • May 18 – Zookeepers II

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Lunch with a Keeper for families (6- 9 yrs. + caregiver)

Lunch with a Keeper is like a coveted backstage pass to meet the band. Enjoy a pizza lunch while you make friends with (and learn from) animal experts – our zookeepers! Ask questions that only a keeper can answer and listen to stories that only a keeper can tell. After lunch, be treated to an exclusive glimpse into the day-to-day experiences of our keeper staff through an animal experiences or behind-the-scenes tour. This unique experience is one of the best at the Zoo; you’ll truly understand the passion and dedication involved with being a zookeeper. For children 6-10 years and a caregiver.

Program time: 12 – 1:45 p.m.
Program fees

Member Adult/Child Pair       $54      Extra Adult $20           Extra Child $40

General Adult/Child Pair         $72      Extra Adult $25           Extra Child $54

Dates/Themes:

  • November 25 – Giraffe
  • January 27 – Elephant
  • March 3 – African Carnivore
  • May 5 — Orangutan

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