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.

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.

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! Click here if you would like to download a copy of the School Program Guide.

School Year Zoo Class Rates
PROGRAM APRIL-AUG. SEPT.-MARCH
Zoo Classes* $8 per person $7 per person
STEM Program*
(Max 35/program)
$9 per person $8 per person
Add a tour to any program
(Not available for groups 35+, at a time)
$2 per person $2 per person
Live Animal Encounter $8 per person $7 per person
Animal Encounter + Tour $10 per person $9 per person
Summer Group Visit Rates
PROGRAM JUNE-AUG.
Live Animal Encounter $8 per person
Animal Encounter + Tour $10 per person
(35 participant max for summer programs)

Rates include zoo admission. All participants must pay registration fees.
Groups must have a minimum of 15 paid participants or alternatively pay a $100 minimum program fee.
*Zoo Classes and STEM programs only available September to May. Schools receive one free teacher per class (school year only).


Available Year-Round

Programs for All Ages

ZOO TOUR
Tour: 30 minutes
Walk the zoo with an educator for a personal tour filled with fun wildlife facts and stories about our animals. Minimum of 15 participants required, maximum of 35. Not available for large groups.
*Combine with a Live Animal Encounter!

LIVE ANIMAL ENCOUNTER
Program Length: 30 minutes
Meet three ambassador animals and learn about some of their amazing adaptations! Focus can be customized by request, for example: camouflage, fur patterns, defense mechanisms or other adaptations.
If requested, program can be focused specifically on the following classes of animals: Mammals, Invertebrates, Reptiles, or Amphibians


Available Year-Round

Programs for Students with Disabilities

ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS (Available for all ages)
Program Length: 30 minutes
Minimum of five (5) students, with staff as required based on the needs of the group. Students meet live animals and touch some of our amazing artifacts. Information is adjusted for the age of student. Their interests and questions guide the discussion on animal features and how they are alike and different.


Available School-Year Only

Conservation & Career Programs

Kindergarten-Adult

SAVING SPECIES
Program Length: 30 minutes
We’ll discuss endangered species, climate change, and how zoos, scientists and YOU can be a part of the solution!

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A ZOOKEEPER
Program Length: 45 minutes
Enter the fascinating Zoo world! Learn about why zoos exist and the many different jobs found within. Find out how the Brandywine Zoo takes care of their animals’ special needs.


Assemblies

All Ages
SAFE ENVIRONMENTS: ANTI-BULLYING PROGRAM
Program Length: 50 minutes
This program takes a new approach to anti-bullying programming and helps students better understand each other using animals that are often misunderstood or feared, such as insects, spiders or reptiles. We’ll learn how students can cultivate safe environments not only for each other, but also for the animals with whom we share the world.

Assembly Programs can serve up to 200 students per program at your site, or 60 students at the Zoo.

Available School-Year Only

Standard-based School Programs

PreK-Grade 2
STORYBOOK PROGRAMS
Program Length: 30 minutes
Read a story and discuss relevant themes paired with some animal friends and touchable artifacts from the story. Choose from the following books, or ask about a custom book: Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman, From Head To Toe by Eric Carle, The Mitten by Jan Brett, Z is for Zookeeper by Marie & Roland Smith, Fraidy Zoo by Thyra Heder and Night Animals by Gianna Marino

PreK-Kindergarten
FIVE SENSES (Aligns with Senses Unit)
Program Length: 35 minutes
Different animals use their senses in different ways to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch the environment around them.

Grade 1
ZOORGANISMS (Aligns with Organisms Unit)
Program Length: 35 minutes
Discover the five things all animals need to survive, help construct a food chain (complete with live animal), and use the zoo as an innovative and creative way to learn other concepts, skills, and attitudes.

Grade 2
WONDERFUL INVERTEBRATES (Aligns with Insects Unit)
Program Length: 35 minutes
Explore the world of invertebrates, from body parts to stages of growth. Find out how these “spineless” animals are specially adapted to survive.

Grade 3
ANIMAL SKELETONS  (Aligns with Human Bodies Unit)
Program Length: 45 minutes*
35 participant max per program at the Zoo
What is a backbone? Do all animals have them? Explore skeleton and body structures of humans and other animals, comparing and contrasting people and animal bodies.

Grade 4
STRUCTURES OF LIFE (Aligns with Structures of Life Unit)
Program Length: 45 minutes
Explore how animals are adapted to live in their habitat and discover the importance of biodiversity and conservation of each organism.

Grades 5-7
NATIVE ECOSYSTEMS (Aligns with Ecosystems Unit)
Program Length: 45 minutes
Ecosystems are composed of interdependent organisms! Learn about producers, consumers and decomposers native to Delaware and how they make up what we call food webs!


Available School-Year Only

STEM PROGRAMS

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR UNIT: GRADES 4-HIGH SCHOOL
Use our lesson plans to compliment your classroom! By using animal observation studies or ethology, students will develop skills in observation, inquiry, data collection, statistical analysis, and writing. Concepts and data analysis are scaled by grade.

CONDUCTING AN ETHOGRAM
Traveling Zoo: 45 minutes
This program focuses on ethograms and data collection. Students will learn how to conduct a behavioral analysis of animals from the zoo’s teaching collection. This program makes a great primer for our on-site Animal Behavior Lab.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR LAB
Class at the Zoo: 1 hour + On-grounds Study. 35 max/program
Learn the basics of animal behavior science and make observations to uncover the secret language of the wild. Students will design their own animal behavior study and practice data collection and analysis skills using an ethogram data table.

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. School-age children with have experiences that are fun and exciting while informational and instructional. Click here if you would like to download a copy of the School Program Guide.


Zoo Event Booth or Animal Mingling

Program Length: 1-3 hours
Book our Traveling Zoo for up to 3 hours and we’ll visit your next community, corporate or school event with live animals, cool, touchable artifacts and fun facts! We can set up a table for guests to walk by or mingle with live animals.


Year-Round

Standard-based School Programs

PreK-Grade 2
STORYBOOK PROGRAMS
Program Length: 30 minutes
During storybook programs, we’ll read a story and discuss relevant themes paired with some animal friends and touchable artifacts from the story. Choose from the following books, or ask about a custom book: Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman, From Head To Toe by Eric Carle, The Mitten by Jan Brett, Z is for Zookeeper by Marie & Roland Smith, Fraidy Zoo by Thyra Heder and Night Animals by Gianna Marino

PreK-Kindergarten
FIVE SENSES (Aligns with Senses Unit)
Program Length: 35 minutes
Different animals use their senses in different ways to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch the environment around them.

Grade 1
ZOORGANISMS (Aligns with Organisms Unit)
Program Length: 35 minutes
Discover the five things all animals need to survive, help construct a food chain (complete with live animal), and use the zoo as an innovative and creative way to learn other concepts, skills, and attitudes.

Grade 2
WONDERFUL INVERTEBRATES (Aligns with Insects Unit)
Program Length: 35 minutes
Explore the world of invertebrates, from body parts to stages of growth. Find out how these “spineless” animals are specially adapted to survive.

Grade 3
ANIMAL SKELETONS  (Aligns with Human Bodies Unit)
Program Length: 45 minutes*
35 participant max per program at the Zoo
What is a backbone? Do all animals have them? Explore skeleton and body structures of humans and other animals, comparing and contrasting people and animal bodies.

Grade 4
STRUCTURES OF LIFE (Aligns with Structures of Life Unit)
Program Length: 45 minutes
Explore how animals are adapted to live in their habitat and discover the importance of biodiversity and conservation of each organism.

Grades 5-7
NATIVE ECOSYSTEMS (Aligns with Ecosystems Unit)
Program Length: 45 minutes
Ecosystems are composed of interdependent organisms! Learn about producers, consumers and decomposers native to Delaware and how they make up what we call food webs!


Traveling Zoo Mileage Rates

Be sure to calculate your Traveling Zoo fees to include both program and mileage rates. Fees are measured by distance from the zoo to your site, in one direction.

  • <25 MILES – $20 flat rate
  • EACH ADDITIONAL 10 MILES – $10 per every 10 miles
Small Group Traveling Zoo Rates
PROGRAM STORYBOOK PROGRAMS STANDARD PROGRAMS
Base Fee $190/program + travel fees $210/program + travel fees
Additional program fee $150 each additional, consecutive program $175 each additional, consecutive program
Max per day 3 programs 3 programs
Length & Audience Size Max 35 children (30 min) Max 50 participants (30-45 min)
Large Group Traveling Zoo Rates
PROGRAM Zoo Booth or Mingle Event Assembly
Base Fee $285 $400
Additional program fee $75 each additional (30 min) $275 each additional program
Max per day Max 3 consecutive hours 3 programs
Length &
Audience Size
Up to 3 hours
No limit for participants
Up to 45 minutes
Max 200 students

Assemblies

All Ages
SAFE ENVIRONMENTS: ANTI-BULLYING PROGRAM
Program Length: 50 minutes
This program takes a new approach to anti-bullying programming and helps students better understand each other using animals that are often misunderstood or feared, such as insects, spiders or reptiles. We’ll learn how students can cultivate safe environments not only for each other, but also for the animals with whom we share the world.

Assembly Programs can serve up to 200 students per program at your site.


Available School-Year Only

STEM Programs

CONDUCTING AN ETHOGRAM
Program Length: 45 minutes
This program focuses on ethograms and data collection. In this program, students learn how to conduct a behavioral analysis of animals from the zoo’s teaching collection. This program makes a great primer for our on-site Animal Behavior Lab.

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.


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.

Teacher Resources

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.