Bring the Zoo to You
Animal encounters enliven STEM-aligned subjects
The habitat of the Delaware Valley is crawling with creatures large and small, many residents of the area’s exceptional zoos, aquariums and nature refuge centers. When weather or budget precludes a field trip to these venues, it’s still possible to give students an enriching animal encounter to remember.
The following organizations provide traveling outreach programs that essentially bring the zoo to you. They provide everything from grade-specific class presentations and workshops (preK-9th grade) to full-school assemblies. Most options include a visit from two to five live animals, birds, reptiles, insects or sea creatures — armadillos, raptors, boa constrictors, hissing cockroaches, hedgehogs, bearded dragons, owls, just about any portable beast you can think of — plus touch tanks and/or tactile adjunct materials (feathers, furs, skeletons, skins, etc.). Others incorporate stories and crafts for further student interaction.
The wild kingdom-spanning array of programs listed here align to PA, DE and/or NJ Core Curriculum standards in science, ecology and/or geography. Many of the venues also offer the ability to custom-design your own session based on classroom learning; discounts are typically available if you book more than one program on the same day.
Zoo-to-You Provider Key
3 Palms Petting Zoo (Clayton, DE), 3palmszoo.org/traveling-zoo; rates on request
Adventure Aquarium (Camden, NJ), Aquaticsciences.org; $175-$375, $995 5-hr Aquarium Day, travel fees apply for 75+-mile round trip
Brandywine Zoo (Wilmington, DE), Brandywinezoo.org/travel-zoo.html; $175-$400 + travel fees; 50% off scholarships for Title 1 schools and preschools that serve DE low-income students
Cape May County Park and Zoo (Cape May Court House, NJ), Cmczoo.com/zootoyou; $150-$200, $1 per mile outside Cape May Co., $50 for additional 30 minutes with approved animal and artifact encounter station
Elmwood Park Zoo (Norristown, PA), Elmwoodparkzoo.org/zoo-on-wheels.php; rates on request
Great Valley Nature Center (Devault, PA), Gvnc.org/education-and-outreach.html; $130-$250
Jenkinson’s Aquarium (Point Pleasant Beach, NJ), Jenkinsons.com/aquarium/teachers-corner/outreach-programs; rates on request
Paws Farm Nature Center (Mt. Laurel, NJ), Pawsfarm.com/?page_id=11; $175-$250
Philadelphia Zoo (Phila.), Philadelphiazoo.org/learn/bring-the-zoo-to-you/school-programs.htm; $250-$425
Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge (Medford, NJ), Cedarrun.org/content/education/row.asp; $150-$375
ZooAmerica (Hershey, PA): Zooamerica.com/education_groups/schools.php; rates on request