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Classroom Programs

These programs take place at the Zoo.

Class Size

Small Classroom programs: no more than 25 students and two chaperones  (one chaperone must be the teacher)

Large group program*: no more than 100 people (students, teachers, chaperones, siblings, etc.) total
*select titles only

Education classes take place in our classrooms, including The Living World and Exploration Outpost and on Zoo grounds. Classes may include biofacts, activities, demonstrations, and/or discussions. Most classes are offered in 45-minute formats, Monday through Friday, Labor Day through Memorial Day.

Classroom Programs

For learners PK through 12th grade

Get excited about engineering and all the creative ways to build animal habitats! Students will consider the four needs all animals have (food, water, shelter and space) and the specific needs of individual animals. This program includes biofacts and a chance for students to build unique miniature habitats (students will not take habitats home, but teachers are welcome to take pictures to share with students and their families). This title is not available for large group bookings.

Length: 45 minutes

MO Standards: K.LS1.C1, KESS3.A.1  

NGSS: K-LS1-C, 1-LS1.A, 2-LS4.D  

A vet’s job is very important in caring for animals at our Zoo, but they can’t do it alone! It takes a whole team, from vets to keepers, vet technicians to nutrition keepers. Learn about the ways that our animal care team makes sure our animals are happy and healthy. This title is not available for large group bookings.

Length: 45 minutes

MO Standards: K.LS1.C.1, 1.LS3.A.1, K-2, ETS1.A.1

NGSS: 1-LS1-1.A, 1-LS1-1.B, K-2-ETS1-1.A

At the Saint Louis Zoo you can see animals in different stages of life! Join us as we examine the life cycles of different species as they grow and transform into adults. This title is not available for large group bookings.

MO Standards: K.ESS3.A.1, K.ESS2.E.1, 1.LS3.A.1, 1.LS1.A.1, K.ETS1.B.1, 1.ETS1.B.1, 2.ETS1.B.1, K.1B.a., 1.1B.f., K.1A-1C.c., 1.1A-1C.c., 2.1A-1C.c.

NGSS: K-LS1-1., SL.K.5, 1-ESS1-1, 1-ESS1-1, 1-ESS1-2, W.1.7., 2-LS4-1, W.2.8

(program adjusted to appropriate grade level)

What makes a penguin different from a sea lion, or a snake different from a bee? As scientists, students will work in groups to create their own classification methods and learn how and why scientists sort animals based on their characteristics.

Length:45 minutes

NGSS: 2-LS4-1

(program adjusted to appropriate grade level)

Through student-led observations in the classroom, participants will learn how animals are connected, to people and each other, as they use their physical and behavioral adaptations to survive in their habitat.

Length: 45 minutes

MO Standards: 3.LS1.A.1, 4.LS1.A.1, 3.LS3.C.1, 3.LS3.D.1

NGSS: 3-LS4-2, 3-LS4-3, 4-LS1-1, MS-LS1, MS-LS2-1

Surf the web of life from sunlight to decomposition. Discover who eats what (or whom) as you investigate how energy moves through a food web and explore how animal dentition impacts what they eat. Learn about the Zoo’s Orthwein Animal Nutrition Center and how the Zoo nutrition team meets animal dietary needs. This title is not available for large group bookings.

Length: 45 minutes

MO Standards: 2.LS2.A.2, 2.ETS1.A.1,

NGSS: K-LS1-1, K-ESS3-1, 2-LS4-1

Veterinarians and the entire animal health team keep our Zoo animals happy and healthy! From vet technicians to nutrition keepers, learn how people use science, creative thinking, math and more as part of their dedication to caring for all animals. This title is not available for large group bookings.

Length: 45 minutes

MO Standards: 3.LS1.B.1, 5.LS2.B.1, 3-5.ETS1.A.1,

NGSS: 3-LS1-1, 3-LS3-1, 3-5-ETS1-1, 3-5-ETS1-2

This hands-on dissection class will introduce students to appropriate scientific tool use to explore what owls eat by dissecting an owl pellet. A Zoo educator will lead the class on techniques to successfully find potential bones, fur and feathers in the pellet, as well as answer owl-specific questions. Students will work in small groups during this class. This title is not available for large group bookings.

Length: 45 minutes

MO Standards: 5.PS1.B.1, 5.PS3.D.1, 5.LS2.B.1, 3.LS3.C.1, 3-5.ETS1.B.1

NGSS: 4-LS1-1, 5-PS3-1, 5-LS2-1

Big Muddy, Old Man River, the Mighty Mississippi… no matter the name, rivers are an important part of our home state of Missouri. Through stories and other hands-on experiences, we will delve into how people and animals use our rivers, and how our rivers connect us to the rest of the world. This title is not available for large group bookings.

Length: 45 minutes

MO Science Standards: 3.LS3.B.1

NGSS: 5-ESS3-1, 5-ESS2-1

Why did the chicken cross the road? We still don't know, but at the Zoo we might ask, why did the bear climb the tree? In this program students will learn why animal behavior is an important area of study for zoos. Students will spend time outdoors observing the Zoo animals and will learn how behavior observations are used to make decisions about animal care.

MO Standards: 5.LS1.A.1, 6.W3A.1.a., 6.W3A.1.b., 7.W3A.1.a., 7.W3A.1.b., 8.W3A.1.a. 8.W3A.1.b., 5.W1A3.c., 5.W1A3.e., 5.W1A3.g., 5.W1A3.h

NGSS: RI.5.9, (5-LS2-1), (MS-LS2-2), RST.6-8.1, RST.6-8.8, WHST.6-8.9, MS-LS1-4.

(program adjusted to appropriate grade level)

How important are apex predators or tiny pollinators? In this program, students will reflect, discuss and learn about how the variety of life on Earth is important to animals, habitats and humans, while engaging in biofact exploration. Discover how the Zoo is helping out in biodiversity hotspots around the world and ways everyone can make a difference. This title is not available for large group bookings.

Length: 45 minutes

MO Standards: 6-8.LS1.B.1, 6-8.LS2.A.1, 6-8.LS2.A.2, 6-8.LS2.C.1, 6-8.ESS3.C.1,

NGSS: MS-LS2-1, MS-LS2-4, MS-ESS3-4, MS-LS1-4

Additional Class Programs

Read the brochure to learn about classes tailored to learners who are six months to five years old.

Early Childhood Class Programs

The program below takes a deeper dive into Zoo topics. It is longer in length and has a unique price.

Keeper Creativity: Engineering for Animals - 1st-5th grade

COST: $230 ($180 ZMD)

Program length: 2 1/2 hours

Do you love getting surprise packages or new toys? Animals do too, and it’s healthy for them! At the Zoo we call it enrichment. Enrichment helps animals move around, use their senses, and keep their brain busy! In our hands-on program, students will learn what enrichment is, what we use, and how it’s made. Students will have the opportunity to brainstorm and draw their own animal enrichment design! Students will also compare and contrast enrichment items for Zoo animals and discuss which would be better and why. This program will be conducted outside, on Zoo grounds. A short enrichment-themed Zoo tour is also included. Let’s get creative!

MO Standards: 1.ETS1.A.1, 2.ETS1.A.1, 3.ETS1.A.1, 4.ETS1.A.1, 5.ETS1.A.1, 1.ETS1.B.1, 2.ETS1.B.1

NGSS: 1.ETS1.2, 2.ETS1.2

To schedule this program, please contact the Education office at (314) 646-4544 #6 (see Scheduling Information).

Important Details

Groups within the Zoo-Museum District of St. Louis City and County receive discounted pricing on some programs. Please note: all programs require full payment to be received before the program date.

  • 45-minute program fee: $110 ($90 ZMD) for small groups (maximum 25 students, 2 chaperones)
  • 45-minute program fee: $275 ($220 ZMD) for large groups (maximum 100 people; students, teachers, chaperones, siblings, etc.) - only available for select titles.
  • 45-minute tour fee: $25 ($20 ZMD) for docent-led tours (maximum 9 students, 2 chaperone per group)

You will need to book as many programs as needed, in order to adhere to our group size safety guidelines.

Advance reservations and pre-payment of any fees are required for all programs. To schedule a classroom program or educational tour, please call (314) 646-4544, #6 (see scheduling information). Program reservations can be made by phone, Monday - Friday, from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. To schedule an in-depth program, click here.

A minimum of two months' notice is required for all programs if you want to pay by check. Programs scheduled between one to two months in advance, require full credit card payment at the time of scheduling. We are unable to schedule programs less than one month's notice.

Have the following information available when scheduling programs:

  • School name, address, phone number
  • Teacher or other adult in charge of the group
  • Grade level and number of students
  • Age appropriate program choice(s) and alternative choices
  • Preferred date and time, as well as alternative date and times
  • Know your travel plans, including what time you can arrive and what time you will need to leave the Zoo
  • Credit card information if paying by credit card
  • If booking multiple programs, we will need each teacher’s name and e-mail address

Please note: Groups may register for only one classroom program and/or one guided tour per day.

For groups scheduling at least two months in advance, an invoice will be sent promptly. Full payment is due one month from invoice date. If your payment is not received within one month, your program will be canceled. For groups scheduling with less than two months’ notice, with a minimum of one months’ notice, full credit card payment is required at the time of scheduling. Your reservation is not confirmed until complete payment is received. We are unable to schedule programs with less than one month’s notice.

Please note, the Zoo is a rain or shine location! If rain is in the forecast, we suggest bringing ponchos and/or umbrellas. In the case of severe weather, the Zoo does have Severe Weather Shelter Areas.

Please notify the Education Department at (314) 646-4544 immediately if you need to cancel. Another group may be able to take your place.


One Month Prior to Program:

A full refund will be issued minus a $5 cancellation fee if you notify the Education Department at least one month prior to your program. There is a $5 cancellation fee per program.

Between ten business days and one month Prior to Program:

You are entitled to a 50% program fee refund if you notify the Education Department between 10 business days and one month prior to your program date.

Less than ten business days Prior to Program:

There is no refund for groups that cancel with less than two weeks' notice.

Please note: In the event that your school and/or the Zoo is closed the day of your program due to weather, we will try to reschedule your program or issue a full refund.

Program transfers must be requested a minimum of one month in advance and may be approved based on our ability to reschedule you. Transfers are determined by resource (space, instructor, etc.) availability. A $5 transfer fee will be charged per program for the first transfer date. A $10 transfer fee will be charged for additional transfers. Transfer fees must be paid with credit card at the time requested. We cannot accommodate same day or next day transfers.

Boeing Company Grant

Via the generosity of The Boeing Company, grant funding is available through December of 2023 for under-resourced students. Please click this link to apply. The online grant application will take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

You will be required to upload a letter, on school letterhead, explaining why your students are under-resourced (please provide statistics and examples, as appropriate) and how they will benefit from receiving a Saint Louis Zoo educational program. Please have that letter in a PDF or Word document prepared, prior to starting the application. Letters must be submitted by the classroom teacher, school representative, or school administrator and be written on school letterhead.

Additionally, you will need to know your preferred type of program (virtual, on Zoo grounds, or outreach), as well as know the program titles you are requesting.

Questions (?) Please contact the Manager of Learning Experiences at