Zoo School - Visit the Zoo!

Zoo School classes, on or off site, provide school-age children with experiences that are fun and exciting while informational and instructional. These programs include class time where students will meet some of our animals, may have activities, lessons and meet an animal or two up close!

Our programs incorporate hands-on, inquiry-based learning opportunities which inspire investigation and stimulate minds. School programs incorporate multidisciplinary lessons, covering science, math, technology, language arts and creative arts.

What program should I book for my group?

A field trip to the Zoo for a standards-based program? Looking for something less structured?

Check out our Zoo School brochure for more detailed information and fees for all our programs to help you guide your decision! This guide features Zoo classes, tours, and outreach (Traveling Zoo).

  • STEP ONE: Complete the online Group Visits Registration Form or download a  Registration Form and follow the direction on the form for submitting.
  • STEP TWO: The Education Department will check program and staff availability and get back to you within two weeks of your registration. If you do not hear back after this time, please email us.
  • STEP THREE: You will receive a contract with your program date (based on availability) within two weeks of your program registration submission. Please email the Education Department (Education@BrandywineZoo.org) if you have not received a confirmation.
  • STEP FOUR: Submit your 50% deposit for your program to the Brandywine Zoo with a copy of your contract. Program reservations are not considered complete until we receive your 50% deposit for your program. Note that a 15 person or $100 minimum is required for all on-site Zoo School Programs. 

PROGRAM BROCHURE

Check out our School Programs Brochure, download it, print it, or just view it!



Traveling Zoo

Can’t Come to the Zoo? We will bring the Zoo to YOU!

Our Traveling Zoo visits schools, libraries, day care centers, and other institutions with programs that educate and entertain through hands-on and minds-on learning.

Check out our Zoo School brochure for more detailed information and fees for all our programs to help you guide your decision! This guide features Zoo classes, tours, and outreach (Traveling Zoo).

REGISTRATION

  • Step Two: Someone from the Education Department will check program and staff availability and get back to you within two weeks of your registration. If you do not hear back after this time, please email us.
  • Step Three: You will receive a contract with your program date (based on availability) within two weeks of your program registration submission. Please email the Education Department (Education@BrandywineZoo.org) if you have not received a confirmation.
  • Step Four: Submit your registration in advance of your program. Traveling Zoo Programs are not considered booked until full payment is received. 

Special Events for Schools

The Brandywine Zoo hosts several special events that are geared toward school groups and families of all ages. These events are free with paid admission to the Zoo!

Animal Encounter Fee: $2/extra per person for a live animal encounter with three of our animals in the Education Building. This encounter must be booked in advance, as time slots fill quickly.

NOTE: School Groups MUST register with the Education Department for access to all event activities, as events may be cancelled if no registrations are received.

Earth Day Event for School Groups!

Friday, April 20, 10 am – Noon
Rain Date: Monday, April 23

Celebrate Earth Day at the Zoo! Groups, take a self-guided tour through the zoo as we Party for the Planet! Stop at various conservation activity stations and learn how you can become a better steward of our planet. Plus, sign up for a time for your school group to have a special live animal program in our Education Building (space is limited).


Biomimicry STEM Day School Event

Friday, May 4, 10 am – Noon
Engineers and scientists have been taking inspiration from Mother Nature for hundreds of years to design incredible new technologies. Biomimicry STEM Day discusses how nature inspires our engineers and scientists! Explore the world of Science, Engineering, Technology and Math and learn how biomimicry goes from inspiration to application! How does the structure of hair help us to build bridges? How do birds and airplane fly high in the sky?  Stop by various STEM activity stations set up throughout the Zoo to learn and do hands-on activities.

*Scholarships for Title 1 Schools are available for STEM Day. Check out our application today. 


Endangered Species Day School Event

Friday, May 18, 10 am – Noon
Rain date: Monday, May 21

Endangered Species Day encourages people of all ages to learn about the importance of protecting endangered plants and animals and what actions can be taken to help preserve the future of these species here in Delaware and beyond. Visit various learning stations  to learn what you can do to End Extinction! Plus, sign up for a time for your school group to have a special live animal program in the Zoo’s Education Building.

Register your group today!

OR

Wild Scholarships

Some scholarships may be available for Title 1 Schools and preschools that serve low income students (such as Head Start) in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Applications are typically awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Current Scholarships Available

2017-18 School Year- Funding is available for STEM programming on site or at your facility with our Traveling Zoo. This includes our Animal Behavior Lab Zoo School field trip and Conducing an Ethogram Traveling Zoo. Additionally, scholarship can be used for our Biomimicry STEM Special Event for Schools day (Friday 5/4/18, 10 am – 12 pm). See below for eligibility requirements.

Eligibility
Funding for scholarships changes yearly. Current funding dictates that schools/organizations applying for scholarships must meet the following criteria:

  • Title 1 Public Schools classrooms, as well as rec. centers, after school programs, and youth programs that serve Title 1 populations are eligible to receive these zoo program scholarship funds.
  • Scholarships for school-year programs are available Monday – Friday, September 2017 – May 15, 2018.
  • Scholarships must be for classes of 15 or more students. Applications for entire grades will be given special consideration. Please list all teachers involved in the application.
  • Only one WILD Scholarship per age/grade level per school/organization may be received each school year. It is advised that similar age groups for one organization work together to apply for scholarship funds.
  • This current scholarship is available for up to 50% of the total cost of the program or a maximum of $200, whichever comes first.

Plan your program

What time of year can I book a program?

  • Zoo School programs are available during the school year (typically Sept. – middle of June) and take place between the hours of 9:30am and 4pm.
  • Traveling Zoos are available year-round. The Traveling Zoo can work with your timing schedule, but typically operates during the workday, 9am – 4pm. After hours programs are available upon request.
  • Group Visits are offered year-round, but are the only on-site programs we offer during the summer (June – August).You have three options to choose from for camps, schools and other groups to visit the zoo between 10am – 4pm:
    1. 30 Minute Zoo Tour: Groups of 15+ can schedule a 30 minute tour of the zoo. Take a guided tour through the zoo with an educator or zoo docent who will share facts, stories and information about our animals. Price is per person, and includes group admission. Please note there is a $100 minimum for booking a guided tour.
    2. Live animal meet & greet: Groups of 15+ can schedule a live animal meet & greet for their trip to the zoo. This will include meeting three (3) of our zoo program animals up close. Program delivered by a zoo educator or volunteer. Price is per person, and includes group admission. Please note there is a $100 minimum for booking a meet and greet.
    3. Tour + Live Animal Meet & Greet: Groups of 15+ can schedule a 30 minute tour of the zoo as well as a live animal meet & greet. Meet three (3) program animals up close and take a guided tour (group size limited to max 35 participants at a time) through the zoo with an educator or zoo volunteer who will share facts, stories and information about our animals during your visit. Price is per person, and includes group admission. Please note there is a $100 minimum for booking a guided tour

How much time should I allot for a zoo program?

  • Zoo School Programs: Please refer to our program guide for program length, as time is dependent upon on program topic. Depending on the size of your group, you may choose to add a zoo tour (min 15, max 35 per tour time slot). Allowing time for bus unloading and loading, as well as visits to the petting zoo yard, gift shop and bathrooms, and lunch, you should typically plan for at least 2-3 hours.
  • Traveling Zoo: programs are typically 30-50 minutes, depending on your group’s age. Walk by programs are booked by the first hour, than each additional 30  minutes after that.
  • Group Programs: Live Animal Encounters or Tours are 30 minute programs, or 1 hour if combining both options.

How much do school or group programs cost?

  • Please check out our Zoo School Brochure for the most up to date prices for formal programs, or visit our Group Visits page for informal programs or general group admission rates.

How do I book a program? How is payment handled?

For a Group Visits:

  • Let us know you’re coming by filling out our Group Visit Form. This form will allow you to contact us with your group’s information for a general zoo visit, or start the process to register your group for a program like a Live Animal Encounter.
  • Or, your group can simply pay at the front gates when they arrive (only use this option if you do NOT want a program).

For a Zoo School 

  • Step 1: Complete Group Visit Registration Form
  • Step 2: Someone from the Education Department will check program and staff availability and get back to you within two weeks of your registration. If you do not hear back after this time, please email us at Education@BrandywineZoo.org
  • Step 3: You will receive a contract with your program date (based on availability) within two weeks of your program registration submission. If you have not received a confirmation after this time, please email us.
  • Step 4: Submit your 50% deposit for your visit to the Brandywine Zoo via the link in your contract or by mailing to the below address with a copy of your contract. Zoo School reservations are not considered complete until we receive your 50% deposit for your program. *Note that a 15 person or $100 minimum is required for all on-site programs.*

For a Traveling Zoo

  • Step 1: Complete Traveling Zoo Registration Form 
  • Step 2: Someone from the Education Department will check program and staff availability and get back to you within two weeks of your registration. If you do not hear back after this time, please email us at Education@BrandywineZoo.org
  • Step 3: You will receive a contract with your program date (based on availability) within two weeks of your program registration submission. If you have not received a confirmation after this time, please email us.
  • Step 4: Submit your payment in advance of your Traveling Zoo program date. Programs are not considered booked until they are paid in full.

Plan our Traveling Zoo Visit to You!

Is there a maximum to the number of participants we can have?

Yes, due to the nature of our programs, there are limitations for the audience size that can be accommodated for our outreach programs.

  • Storybook programs: these programs are limited to 35 participants in order to insure everyone’s ability to appropriately see and participate.
  • Standard programs, the maximum audience size is 50 students
  • Assembly programs the maximum is 200. Please note that not all standard programs may be appropriate as an assembly program.
  • Zoo staff will work with you to help select the best program for your needs.

What information do I need to provide the Zoo for my upcoming Traveling Zoo visit?

In addition to the information provided on the registration form, when booking your program, please provide zoo staff with additional detailed information about your site. This includes:

  • Physical address or GPS coordinates where the program will be held (this is sometimes different than billing addresses we’re provided)
  • What entrance should our staff use while unloading program materials and animals
  • Where the zoo vehicle can be parked (we ask for parking as close as possible for easy loading and unloading of animals)
  • Contact person and direct phone numbers for the day-of your program

What do I need to provide at my site for the Traveling Zoo?

Depending on the program, specific details may vary. In general, we ask to be provided:

  • A 4-6′ table which can be placed near a wall or backdrop and only approachable from one side by the public
  • If outdoors, we need to be placed in a shaded or covered area. We cannot bring animals to a site where they will be in direct sunlight.

Plan your trip to the Zoo!

What are the Zoo's hours?

The Brandywine Zoo is open 364 days a year from 10am – 4pm. Brandywine Park is open dawn until dusk. The Zoo is closed on Christmas Day. Check out our visitor information page for more detailed information.

How many chaperones do I need with my group?

We recommend one adult for every 5 students PreK-Grade 2, and one adult for every 10 students grades 3-12 is recommended. Tour groups get one free teacher per class.

Guidelines for Chaperones

  • Chaperones must be 21 or older
  • Chaperones and siblings must pay the program fee and cannot use their Zoo membership for free admission to school and group programs.
  • Middle and High School students must be attended by chaperones. Unattended students will be escorted to the main gate to wait for their teacher.
  • Teachers should set clear expectations about personal conduct for both students and chaperones and then model this conduct throughout the trip.
  • During formal presentations, chaperones should remain as attentive, quiet and engaged as the students. Teacher should always provide these expectations in writing to chaperones and reinforce them throughout the field experience.
  • Chaperones must stay with their students during the entire zoo visit and monitor the group’s conduct at all times.

What time should we arrive?

You should plan to arrive 15 – 20 minutes before your program time to allow for bus unloading time.

Where do we go when we arrive?

Groups that have booked a Zoo School program should report to the Education Building, across the street from the main entrance of the zoo. General Group Visits should report to the Zoo admissions gate to check in. Please see the map of the zoo for locations of Education Building, admissions gate and school bus parking and drop-off areas.

Late Arrivals

  • Due to a very full schedule, programs will not be extended for late-arriving groups beyond the scheduled end time. Please plan on arriving 20 minutes prior to the start of your program to allow time for parking, disembarking from the bus, and checking in with your educator.
  • Staff will make every attempt to cover as much material as possible in the time available.
  • Please obtain information on how to locate the Zoo and the specific meeting location for your group prior to your visit. Refer to the zoo map page or find directions to the zoo for more detailed location information.

Where should buses park?

School buses should park in the lot along the Brandywine River. Please refer divers to the map of the zoo when giving them directions. Parking is free in Brandywine Park.

Do bus drivers have to pay to enter the zoo?

Yes. Either their ticket must be purchased prior to entrance with the rest of the group or at the ticket window upon arrival.

What if parents are driving separately and meeting us at the zoo?

We are thrilled that parents are coming along on your field trip! Please inform parents attending programs that they are responsible for paying the program fee, and will not be permitted to participate with just regular zoo admission or the use of their Zoo membership.

Please encourage parents to arrive in advance of the bus rather than at the same time. Parents can park in the lot along the Brandywine River, which is where the school buses will be parking. By arriving early, they will have the opportunity to park and identify the school bus with their student. We additionally suggest that you share cell phone numbers, or if that is not possible, arrange a second meeting site and time if you happen to miss each other upon arrival.

Can we eat lunch at the zoo?

You may bring your own lunch or snacks into the zoo. However, there is limited seating for large groups inside the zoo. Seating cannot be reserved for any group, and unfortunately we do not have any indoor space to accommodate groups for lunch. We do not have any lockers or lunch storage space available, so you may want to make arrangements to leave lunches on your school bus.

  • Brandywine Park is available right outside the main zoo gate; it offers several public picnic tables for your group to eat lunch. Brandywine Park is a carry in/carry-out park; you will need to provide your own trash bags. Please suggest to the students that they pack lunches in reusable containers to minimize waste.
  • Our concession stand offers a variety of lunch options.
  • There is also a covered pavilion near the Education Building parking lot that may be reserved. You can contact Wilmington State Parks at 302-577-7020 to make your reservations.

What should I do if a child gets separated from our group?

Please proceed immediately to the Admissions Gate or Administrative office (next to concessions), where Brandywine Zoo staff will assist you in reuniting your group. For younger children, attaching school name and contact information to a shirt or nametag can be helpful. We discourage the inclusion of children’s personal information or names for their own protection.

Is there a gift shop?

‘Zootique’ is located at the front gates. If you would like to schedule a trip to the gift shop we ask that you plan that for after your on-site program and regulate your students entering to 10 at a time.

Is there a maximum to the number of participants we can have?

Yes, due to the size of our classroom or outdoor education pavilion, there is a limit to the size of groups we can accommodate at any one time.

  • Our classroom can accommodate about 60 students comfortably, therefore this is the limit on group size for classroom lessons. Groups of 60 or less can also add a tour to their classroom lesson.
  • Our outdoor pavilion can accommodate 30 participants. This pavilion is only used for Animal Encounters on weekdays June-August. Groups of 35 or less can add a tour to their Animal Encounter. Larger groups must book back to back programs.
  • For groups of 60 or more, we can offer consecutive classroom lessons back to back, while the rest of your group explores the zoo on their own. Unfortunately, we cannot offer guided tours for groups larger than 35 students simultaneously. If you are interested in adding on a guided tour to your group program, please contact us with the size of your group and we will do our best to try to accommodate with appropriate staffing or scheduling, but flexibility may be necessary to accommodate your large group.
  • If your group wants a Zoo Tour-only, we require tour group sizes to be 35 participants or less per guide, and can accommodate at most 3 simultaneous group tours at once. Larger groups will have to book back-to-back programs.