Structured Learning at Lincoln Park Zoo
Zoo Explorers is a facilitated, 55-minute, on-grounds program for school groups. Each program focuses on inquiry-based animal investigations aligned with the work of zoo scientists. The field trips are appropriate for students at the K–5 grade levels.
Each program is facilitated by a trained zoo educator with the support of the classroom teacher and accompanying chaperones. During explorations, students complete data sheets that help them carefully observe animals. Hands-on investigation of specimens and objects are also part of the experience.
Explorations are linked to the Illinois State Learning Standards and the Common Core Standards.
Zoo Explorers Fees
Off-Season Programs (September–March): $20
Busy Season Programs (April–June): $40
Please note that Zoo Explorers cancellations made with less than 48 hours notice are subject to a cancellation fee.
Making the Most of Your Field Trip
As you prepare for your visit, we encourage you to visit our Plan a Field Trip page. A few easy steps will help you make the most of trip to Lincoln Park Zoo!
Zoo Explorers Programs
Appropriate for grade levels K–1
From beaks and feet to eggs and feathers, students learn that Lincoln Park Zoo is home to many bird species. Students explore a bird habitat and see many different species of birds. With careful observations, they will identify similarities and differences in how birds look and what birds do.
Appropriate for grade levels K–2
Furry or scaly, feathered or slimy—there are plenty animal coverings to explore! Students will learn how scientists group or classify animals and discover animals can be sorted into groups based on how they look and live. After observing similarities and differences between species, students will classify many different animals at the zoo.
Appropriate for grade levels 1–3
Whether it’s in the water or up in a tree, there’s no place like home. Students discover that animals are specially adapted for each unique habitat. As students explore the zoo, they’ll learn what habitats have in common as well as how each they differ.
Appropriate for grade levels 2–4
How does a lion acquire food? How does a zebra escape predators? Students will learn how animals’ physical and behavioral characteristics help them survive by enabling them to track down prey or elude hungry predators. Students explore predator and prey relationships among zoo animals by identifying the animals they see as predators or prey based on adaptations.
Animals Living Together
Appropriate for grade levels 3–5
Why do jaguars prefer to hunt alone while lions hunt in a group? As students explore the zoo, they will learn the difference between solitary animals that prefer to live alone and social animals that prefer to live in groups. As students observe different species, they will record discoveries and draw conclusions based on what they saw.
Appropriate for grade levels 4–5
Scientist study animals and their behavior to gain a better understanding of wildlife. As students explore the zoo, they will focus their observations on animal behavior, also know as ethology. During their visit, students will record data using an ethogram (a checklist scientists use to record animal behavior) and then draw conclusions about what they saw.
This program is made possible through the generous support of Bank of America Foundation and Quest Foundation.
For more information about a Zoo Explorers program, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 312-742-6230.