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Education Outreach Programs

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During outreach programs, we come to you and your students to share inspiring stories of our conservation work focused on species found all over the Zoo. Please note there will no longer have live small animal contact in our programs.  We are excited to see you soon!

Early Childhood Programs

These programs are intended for ages 3-years-old to 2nd grade.

Grades: PS-2nd
Program Length: 30 or 45 minutes
Audience size: minimum 10, maximum 30

Soar like an eagle! Stalk like a lion! In this class, students will learn all about how animals move and why. Children will have a chance to move like animals with hands-on station activities and an interactive game.

Grades: PS-2nd
Program length: 45 minutes
Audience size: minimum 10, maximum 30

NOTE: This program is ONLY available in a 45 minute format.

Students will use their imaginations to go on an adventure in a backyard. Together, we will discover animals, plants, and other backyard treasures without ever leaving the classroom. This class includes touching furs and open exploration of a wormery!

Grades: PS-2nd
Program length: 30 or 45 minutes
Audience size: minimum 10, maximum 30

Animals are always on the lookout for danger. They use their senses, body coverings, and behaviors to protect themselves. Whether showing their teeth and claws, oozing slime, hiding in their shells, or simply holding still to blend in, every animal has a way of keeping safe. This program includes biofacts and an open-ended craft.

Grades: PS-2nd
Program length: 30 or 45 minutes
Audience size: minimum 10, maximum 30

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.)

Adult Outreach Programs

The Saint Louis Zoo delivers adult outreach programs to libraries, senior centers, and various other community groups. Each program offers educational content and objects from the animal world.

Have you ever wondered why animals do certain things? Is animal behavior important in a zoo? In this program, we will discover why and how scientists study animal behavior as it relates to reproduction at the Saint Louis Zoo. Information from mating and mate selection studies about cheetahs, Somali wild asses, and hellbenders is included.

Have you ever heard a lemur love song? Has a rabbit ever told you that he’s ‘not listening?’ Videos and biofacts will tell the story of how researchers believe animals communicate.

Using the science of animal enrichment, keepers create zoo environments that provide a stimulating life for our animals, with opportunities to engage in natural behavior, be more active, and have more control over their environment. Enrichment helps satisfy both the physical and psychological needs of animals and allows them to make choices.

One of the most exciting things at a zoo is when babies are born! In this program, we’ll look at pictures, watch videos, and hear stories of our newest residents. We’ll also learn how animals and their keepers care for the babies at the Zoo.

The 1904 World's Fair in Forest Park put St. Louis on the map. Discover interesting facts about the Fair and the animals that were brought there. We'll also discuss how Forest Park has changed over the past 100 years. Learn about the animals that you could currently find hiding out in the Park.

In our memory care programs we understand the need for our seniors to have familiar sights, tactile experiences and an understanding educator eager to connect with them.

In this series we will visit memories of the Saint Louis Zoo, explore its history and learn how we care for the animals today. These programs include visual and tactile experiences to enrich the lives of our beloved seniors.

Programs in this series can be booked as an individual program or by the whole series.

History of the Saint Louis Zoo - Memory Care Series:

  • History of Bears and Carnivores at the Saint Louis Zoo
  • History of Penguins and Other Birds at the Saint Louis Zoo
  • History of Elephants and other Large Animals at the Saint Louis Zoo
  • History of Primates at the Saint Louis Zoo

Student and Community Outreach Programs

The programs listed here are options for community groups, including libraries, scout groups, and camps.

Program length: 45 minutes
Target Audience: children ages 2 to 8 years
Audience Size: minimum 10, maximum 30

This storytelling program is fun for all ages. We'll read and act out stories with animal characters in them. Participants will have an opportunity to touch furs and other biofacts as part of the storytelling process, as well as be a part of the story themselves!

Target Audience: children ages 6 to 10 years
Audience Size: minimum 10, maximum 30

Can you run as fast as a cheetah or leap like a lemur? Test your knowledge as we learn how adaptations help us and animals! This interactive programs includes hands on exploration stations.

Program Length: 45 minutes
Target Audience: children ages 6 to 10 years
Audience Size: minimum 10, maximum 30

Singing, dancing, designing, and building all sound like fun things people do, but animals do them too! Come find out how and why animals create artistic works. You will leave inspired to make your own art!

Book Today

Due to incredibly high demand for programs, please request dates that are at least 4 weeks in advance and provide multiple date options. Dates are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Request Form

Important Information

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.

Special notes:

  • Any evening program (a scheduled start time of 5 p.m. or later) will be charged a $50 premium service fee, in addition to any program fees.
  • The program prices below are for locations within a 45-mile drive radius of the Zoo; if we have to drive outside of that radius, there will be an additional cost of 60 cents per each mile beyond 45.

Outreach Programs 30 minutes in length (available on select Early Childhood programs)

Within the ZMD (Zoo-Museum District)

$200, for the first two required 30-minute programs

$75 for each additional 30-minute program beyond the first two programs, scheduled for the same visit

Outside the ZMD

$250 for the first two required 30-minute programs

$90 each additional 30-minute program beyond the first two programs, scheduled for the same visit

Note: A minimum of two 30-minute programs are required to be scheduled, back to back. See class descriptions for which early childhood programs are available in a 30-minute format.

Outreach programs - 45 minutes in length

Within the ZMD

$185 for the first program, $115 per program for any additional 45-minute programs scheduled for the same visit, either concurrently or back to back

Outside the ZMD

$230 for the first program, $140 per program for any additional 45-minute programs scheduled for the same visit, either concurrently or back to back (outside Zoo-Museum District)

Community Event/Booth programs – cost dependent upon length of time

Within the ZMD

$175 for the first hour and $125 each additional hour

Outside the ZMD

$220 for the first hour and $160 each additional hour

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

For groups scheduling at least 8 weeks in advance, an invoice will be sent promptly. Full payment is due 30 days from invoice date. If your payment is not received within 30 days, your program will be canceled. For groups scheduling with less than 8 weeks’ notice, with a minimum of 4 weeks’ 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 four weeks' notice.

Four Weeks Prior to Program:

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

Two Weeks Prior to Program:

You are entitled to a 50% program fee refund if you notify the Education Department two - four weeks prior to your program date.

Less than Two Weeks 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 may be requested based on our ability to reschedule you. Transfers are determined by space 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.

1. Payment of amount due: Advance reservations and full payment of any and all fees are required for all programs. If paying by check, a minimum of eight weeks’ notice is required for all programs. Full payment is due 30 days from the invoice date. If your payment is not received within 30 days, your program will be canceled. Programs scheduled with less than 8 weeks’ notice, but with a minimum of four weeks, require full credit card payment at the time of scheduling.

  • Transfer fees: Please schedule programs carefully. Program transfers may be requested based on our ability to reschedule your program and are determined by space 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 a credit card at the time requested. We cannot accommodate same day or next day transfers.
  • Cancellations: Please notify the Education Department at (314) 646-4544 or the Outreach Administrative Assistant at (314) 646-4677 immediately if you need to cancel your program(s). A full refund, minus a $5 cancellation fee per program, will be issued for programs canceled four weeks prior to the scheduled program date. A 50% program fee refund will be issued for notification received two to four weeks prior to the program date. There is no refund for groups that cancel with less than two weeks’ notice. In the event that your organization 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.

2. Group size: For a high quality and engaging experience, as well as to plan appropriately for program supplies, Outreach programs are designed for a maximum of 30 participants per program. We can book multiple programs per site. For larger group programs, please visit the Virtual Programs webpage, which can host up to 500 participants per program.

3. Program schedules: When you receive your invoice, please check all dates and times to ensure accuracy. If there is a conflict, please contact the Outreach Coordinator immediately. The day of your program(s), the instructor(s) will make every effort to arrive 10-15 minutes early before the program start time, to set up. The program will begin and end promptly on time. If there is unanticipated traffic and the instructor may be late, he or she will contact you at the phone number provided.

4. Photographs: Photo-taking of the programs is always welcome, provided that is does not interrupt the program experience. We do request that if an official media representative will be an attendance during the program(s) that the individual identifies him or herself to the Outreach Instructor prior to the start of the program. Additionally, the Zoo may take photographs during the program. These photos may be used by the Zoo for both internal and external publications, including on the Zoo website and/or social media channels. If you wish that photos are NOT taken of your program, it is your responsibility to notify the Manager of Learning Experiences prior to the program date.

5. Extreme weather: In the event that a program must be canceled due to extreme weather, or other circumstances beyond the control of the Zoo, the Manager of Learning Experiences will work with you to reschedule the program(s) or issue a full refund.

6. Social distancing and mask requirements: The Zoo no longer requires indoor mask/facial coverings for most Conservation Education program participants, but still recommends participants wear them while indoors. Please continue to be kind and considerate of others' decision to wear or not wear masks. If a program session is cancelled due to COVID-19 related issues, we may offer a virtual program if applicable, or issue a full refund.

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 outreachrequests@stlzoo.org.