If you don’t want to be the tour guide, a Zoo Educator can guide your students through the Zoo while enthralling them with inside information. All tours include a bus tour, behind-the-scenes visits, and up-close animal encounters.
We have a variety of grade appropriate tours that you can reserve to enhance your visit. Choose the one that best fits your educational objectives.
Once Upon a Time (Grades K–6) —This educational adventure begins with a special animal story: Best Beak in Boonaroo Bay for grades K–3 and The Iguana Brothers for grades 3–6. Then it’s on to the Children’s Zoo for a meeting with an animal. Students will do some food prep work and even hand-feed a critter as part of the theme of animal diets and adaptations. Literature/Life Science
Whodunit? (Grades K–8) —There’s a mystery afoot and it’s up to students to help discover which Asian animal has disappeared and who is responsible. The program provides a wealth of information about the Zoo’s collection of Asian animals. Students will visit various locations to collect clues about the nine suspects and have a close encounter with an Asian animal. Life Science/Conservation
Inside Story Tour (Grades K–12) —Students learn the fundamentals of running a zoo: animal health care, exhibit design, feeding, breeding, and more via an exclusive bus tour. A Zoo educator, ready to answer your students’ questions, will provide up-close animal encounters and behind-the-scenes visits. Life Science/Careers
Dr. Harry’s Time Machine (Grades 1–8) —Dr. Harry Wegeforth played an integral part in the creation of the Zoo, and students will “travel through time” to learn all about who Dr. Harry was and how his influence still guides the Zoo today. Visits to historical animals and exhibits help demonstrate the important relationship between people and the animal world and how we can improve it. History
Free guided visit—Second grade classes in San Diego County are invited to participate in a FREE guided visit at the San Diego Zoo. Dr. Harry Wegeforth, the founder of the San Diego Zoo, dedicated the Zoo to the children of San Diego. In honor of this dedication, the free second grade program has been a long-standing tradition at the Zoo. The program includes a bus tour and an animal presentation. This special program is very popular among teachers who are “in the know,” so reservations are required and must be made early in the school year!
Small group experiences are available in the Zoo’s Otto Center auditorium.
Fisher-PriceCritter Coverings, presented by Fisher-Price (Grades Preschool–2)—Using animal presentations, hands-on helpers, and magic, Critter Coverings is a program designed for young children. A reptile, a bird, and a mammal are used along with props to help children focus on the coverings of each animal group. A short interactive slide show and closing song are also part of the program. Participants can spend the rest of the day at the Zoo following their program. Also available as an assembly at your school.
“I loved the tour bus ride, the life cycle assembly, and all the other wonderful things you showed us!
My most favorite animal in the world is a giraffe! I love the Zoo! “—Sophia, 2nd grade student