Youth Engagement

Writing Contest

Raise awareness of conservation issues by writing a fictional story about real-life problems happening to plants and animals, such as habitat loss, poaching, pollution, climate change, the pet trade, and more! These stories do not have to be sad; they simply need to raise awareness of wildlife issues. They can be written from any point of view—including from the animal’s perspective. There are no page limits required.

Age Categories: Kindergarten-2nd grade; 3rd-5th grade; 6th-8th grade; 9th-12th grade; Adult

Prizes: Choice of a behind-the-scenes animal tour or a painting done by a zoo animal!

Free zoo entry: Anyone who submits a story will gain free entry into the zoo for our Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 11th. Every submitted story will be on display on Earth Day from 9:00-3:00 and winners will be announced at 2:00.

How to submit: Drop story by the zoo or email to  Deadline: April 5, 2020


EcoClub provides an opportunity for children and teens who are interested in the environment to meet and share ideas and interests on how to positively impact the planet. We will meet live animals, talk conservation, and develop projects to help our community and our world!

We have two different clubs that are broken down by grade level. Middle School EcoClub (grades 5-8) meets on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month. High School EcoClub (grades 9-12) meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month. Please click the orange boxes below for exact dates for each club.

General Information:

Time: 5:15-6:45 pm on the above dates

Location: Gary K. Clarke Education Center at the zoo, enter through the front zoo admission gate

Cost: $100/child for the entire school year (cost includes a t-shirt)

Age: Middle School EcoClub: Grades 5-8; High School EcoClub: Grades 9-12

For questions, contact the education department:

Phone: 785-368-9137

Please R.S.V.P. before attending. You may join at any time during the year.


Teen EcoTourism Trip to Yucatán Peninsula

Join the Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center on the trip of a lifetime! For the second year in a row, we are offering an eco-tourism trip for teenagers!

Location: Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico

Dates: July 27-August 5, 2021

Grades: Open to students currently in 7th-11th grade (for 2019-2020 school year)


-          Swim with whale sharks

-          Snorkel beautiful coral reefs

-          Participate in jaguar and sea turtle research

-          Explore archaeological Mayan site of Chichén Itzá

-          Meet a local Mayan family and learn how to cook with them

-          Swim in cavernous sinkholes called cenotes

-          Learn about environmental impact of urban development


This trip is booked through Holbrook Travel, a premier travel agency.

Contact the Education Department at 785-368-9137 with questions.


Topeka Zoo Youth Council

As a Topeka Zoo Youth Council member, you are a role model to other youth who want to be leaders in their communities.

Topeka Zoo Youth Council:

  • Are ambassadors of service
  • Are required to attend regular meetings, as outlined in the Topeka Zoo Youth Advisory Council Agreement
  • Are encouraged to keep in touch with each other and to provide encouragement and support
  • Communicate with the Council Supervisor and other appropriate parties on a regular basis

We are now accepting applications for the 2018 Youth Council. Shawnee County residents in grade 8 (second semester) through grade 12 are eligible. Download an application here.