Ways to encourage learning at the zoo

If you have kids, then you will probably be visiting a zoo at some point in their childhood. Use your visit to the zoo as an opportunity to help them learn and discover more about animals and take advantage of the educational resources available.

Ways that you can engage in meaningful learning experiences with your children include:

  • Reading informational signs to them or having them read the signs
  • Talking about things they learned
  • Asking them to name their favorite animals
  • Doing a scavenger hunt
  • Letting them navigate the zoo with the map
  • Petting or feeding certain animals
  • Talking to a zookeeper or attending a zookeeper informational talk
  • Having them describe different animals in their own words
  • Talking about animal habitats and behaviors
  • Discussing animal diet and how it compares to our own diets
  • Journaling about their visit to the zoo
  • Checking the zoo website for any information about special events (i.e. Endangered Species Day, World Oceans Day, etc)

Right now until June 30, 2017, the Oklahoma City Zoo has a FREE scavenger safari for kids ages 3-11. Pick up the green scavenger safari card at Guest Services or the ZooFriends office and then set out to hunt for green signs at 8 different animal exhibits. Each sign contains information about conservation and how certain people are helping animals. There is also a symbol the kids will look for on the sign and match it to the one on the card that they can scratch off to reveal a letter. Once they have found all 8, they can return the card to the Safari Gift Shop for a prize!


We have also designed a FREE field trip guide printable that you can bring along on your next visit to the zoo. It includes a scavenger hunt, key vocabulary words that you can talk about throughout your field trip, a matching activity and more. The second page of the guide is the spiritual component and mini-devotional that highlights an attribute of God related to the zoo. You can download, share or print the guide below.


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6 Replies to “Ways to encourage learning at the zoo”

  1. This is great we spend hours at the zoo. My daughter wants to be wild life vet so we do talk to zoo keeper and probably spent more time at an exhibit an most people do. We have a yearly membership. And i enjoy it just as much. Thank you for posting

    1. I’m so glad you’ll be able to use it! Let me know how it goes and if you have any suggestions to make it better.

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