Education Programs

Children attending education programs at the Topeka Zoo

The Topeka Zoo offered a variety of educational programs both virtually and in-person. Bring the excitement of the Zoo into your class, with so many hands on activities and animal guests there is always something new and engaging to learn during our classes.

Scroll through the variety of programs offered to see what best fits you and your class and students.

ZOO EDUCATION PROGRAMS

IN-PERSON PROGRAMS

Topeka Zoo offers a variety of educational programs to complement your classroom curriculum. Programs are offered in one- or two-hour blocks.

COVID-19 Update: The zoo is still offering classes in-person, with a few restrictions:

  • Class size must stay within the Shawnee County Group Guidelines indoors.
  • Zoo staff will stay within 6 feet of all guests.
  • Individuals 6 and older are required to wear a mask for the duration of the program.
  • No touching of animals or biofacts.

IN-PERSON CLASS PRICING

  • One-Hour Programs hosted at the Zoo - $75
  • Two-Hour Programs (zoo only) - $145 flat fee for groups of 29 or less; $5/person for groups of 30 or more.
  • Any additional consecutive programs after the first hour are $35 for a half hour and $75 for an hour. You may not book a program for less than an hour.
  • There is an additional $35 fee for weekend and evening (after 5:00pm) programs.

VIRTUAL PROGRAMS

Join the Topeka Zoo for virtual learning opportunities! Scroll down this page to "Available Programs" and pick out a theme you'd like. We can modify it to your classroom, time limits, and needs. Don't see a theme you're looking for? We can create something new for you too! All lessons will be filmed live with audiences.

VIRTUAL CLASS OPTIONS & PRICING

  • 30-minute class: Meet three Topeka Zoo education animals for a 25-minute lesson and 5 minutes for audience questions. Class can be NGSS curriculum-focused. Cost: $70
  • 60-minute class filmed LIVE: Meet five Topeka Zoo education animals for a 50-minute live lesson and 10 minutes for audience questions. Class can be NGSS curriculum-focused. Cost: $95
  • 60-minute class PRE-RECORDED: Meet six Topeka Zoo education animals for a 60-minute, pre-recorded lesson. Can break into smaller videos (like 6 10-minute videos or 3 20-minute videos). Since this class is pre-recorded, there is no opportunity for zoo staff engagement with audiences to answer questions. Class can be NGSS curriculum-focused. Cost: $115
  • 30-minute behind-the-scenes tour: Choose one larger Topeka Zoo animal, see their enclosure, and learn all about them! Cost: $70
  • 60-minute behind-the-scenes tour: Choose two different, larger Topeka Zoo animals, see their enclosures, and learn all about them! Cost: $95

Maximum participation is 100 participants. All virtual programs must be scheduled between 8:00am-5:00pm Monday-Friday.


BRING THE ZOO TO YOU

Let us transform your classroom, library, retirement center, or organization meeting into an exotic encounter with our Zoo2U program. Zoo2U programs include a presentation, educational games, interaction with a live animal, and discussions related to a specific animal or zoo topic.

COVID-19 Update: The zoo is still offering Zoo2U classes, with a few restrictions:

  • Class size must stay within the Shawnee County Group Guidelines indoors.
  • Zoo staff will stay within 6 feet of all guests.
  • Individuals 6 and older are required to wear a mask for the duration of the program.
  • No touching of animals or biofacts

Our animal visitors can include:

  • A variety of invertebrates–including tarantulas, scorpions, millipedes, and more!
  • A variety of reptiles and amphibians–including several frogs, lizards, snakes, turtles, tortoises, and an alligator!
  • Several small mammals–such as a skunk, an opossum, an armadillo, and a hedgehog! 
  • Birds of prey–including a screech owl, turkey vulture, and hawk!

PRICING:

Zoo2U is $115 for an hour-long program. Any additional consecutive programs after the first hour are $35 for a half hour and $75 for an hour. You may not book a program for less than an hour. Travel outside of the Topeka City limits will incur an additional charge for gas.

There is an additional $35 fee for weekend and evening (after 5:00pm) programs.

To schedule a Zoo2U visit, contact our Education Department at 785-368-9137 or RRost@Topeka.org!

EVENING EDUCATIONAL CLASSES

Join the Topeka Zoo as we launch evening educational classes that are fun for the whole family! Each class will feature a Powerpoint presentation, live animals, and an activity or craft.  Classes are for all ages and open to the general public.

TIME & CAPACITY: 6:00-7:30pm; 24 person maximum/class.

2021 DATES:

January 13th: Overwintering

February 10th: Animals We Love

March 3rd: Animal Babies

April 14th: Amazing Invertebrates

May 12th: In Your Own Backyard

LOCATION: Kay McFarland Japanese Garden Venue inside the Topeka Zoo; Some activities may be outside so please dress appropriately. 

REGISTRATION: Online here: https://store.topekazoo.org/#/Education

Registration and payment are required for all individuals attending the class, regardless of age. At least one adult is required to attend with their student(s).

COST: FOTZ Members: $6.00*/person/class; Non-members: $8.00*/person/class (*Admission to the zoo not required.)

REFUND POLICY: For a full refund, class registration must be cancelled 48 hours in advance of your class time.  Any cancellation within 48 hours or less will not receive a refund. Email RRost@Topeka.org to cancel.

DISCOVERY HOMESCHOOL PROGRAM

This program is designed to provide an in-depth and personal encounter with science concepts, vocabulary, and interactions with the zoo. The first hour will feature a PowerPoint presentation and live animal encounter, while the second hour will be highlighted by an activity or craft.  These classes are adapted to all grade levels and open to the general public.

DATES: Every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month*, see below for exact dates and themes. (*exception of March & October: will be 4th Wed.)

SESSIONS: Please choose one: Morning from 9am-11am; Afternoon from 1pm-3pm; Same class each session, with 24 person max/class.

LOCATION: Gary K. Clarke Education Classroom; Activity may be outside so please dress appropriately.

REGISTRATION: Online here: https://store.topekazoo.org/#/Education

Registration and payment are required for all individuals attending the class, regardless of age. At least one adult is required to attend with their student(s).

COST: FOTZ Members: $6.00*/person/class; Non-members: $8.00*/person/class (*Admission to the zoo not included in class price.)

REFUND POLICY: For a full refund, class registration must be cancelled 48 hours in advance of your class time.  Any cancellation within 48 hours or less will not receive a refund. Email RRost@Topeka.org to cancel.

 

Yearly Theme: Endangered Places & Spaces

  • September 2nd- Congo Basin: Gorillas & Technology
  • September 16th- American Prairie: Bison, Prairies, & Agriculture
  • October 7th- Great Barrier Reef: Corals & Ocean Acidification
  • October 28th*- Island of Borneo: Orangutans & Palm Oil Plantations
  • November 4th- The Everglades: Alligators, Tegus, & Pythons
  • November 18th- Himalayas: Clouded Leopards & Human Encroachment
  • December 2nd- Mediterranean Basin: Monk Seals & Overfishing
  • December 16th- Antarctica: Penguins, Orcas, & Field Expeditions
  • January 6th- Alaskan Kelp Forest: Sea Otters & Keystone Species
  • January 20th- Arctic Tundra: Caribou & Melting Permafrost
  • February 3rd- Hawai'ian Islands: Birds & Disease
  • February 17th- The Amazon: Macaws & Human Food Production
  • March 3rd- The Great Lakes: The Beginning of the Zebra Mussel Invasion
  • March 24th*- Redwood Forests: Spotted Owls & Deforestation
  • April 7th- Island of Madagascar: Lemurs & Island Endemism
  • April 21st- Kansas Endangered Places: Ferrets, Box Turtles, & Species Survival
  • May 5th- African Sahel: African Painted Dogs & Desertification
  • May 19th- Madrean Sky Islands: Bats, Jaguars, & Mountains

*Denotes the 4th Wednesday of the month

FIELD TRIPS

Bring your crew to the zoo!

Enjoy a day of education and fun at the Topeka Zoo & Conservation Center. The zoo is easily walkable and accessible to groups of all ages. We offer plenty of spaces to meet and classroom experience.

  • Groups of 15 or more are eligible for group rates.
  • Must register 48 hours in advance of your trip.
  • Full admission must be paid before entering.
  • No outside food or drinks.
  • Box lunches are available with advance notice.

Fill out a group discount form here or call 785-368-9161 to schedule your trip.  To schedule an education program please call 785-368-9137.

Available programs

1 Hour

2 Hour

Don't see what you are looking for? No problem! Our Education Department can adapt your desired curriculum into a program.

Monarch Butterfly Virtual Education Class

Monarch butterfly populations have declined by close to 90% in the last few decades. These beautiful insects migrate through Kansas during the last two weeks of September and we are waiting for them! Join to Topeka Zoo as we offer virtual education classes on the monarchs, as well as free, public tagging opportunities.

Scout Workshops

Earn a badge at the Topeka Zoo! Join in one of our workshops to receive your scout badge, available for both girl and boy scouts, you can learn a variety of skills while having fun at the Zoo!

Teacher Professional Development Opportunity

National Geographic Education Certification: Phase 1 Workshop

Join the Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center as they offer a unique professional development opportunity partnering with National Geographic! The Topeka Zoo is hosting a workshop for area educators to complete Phase 1 of National Geographic's Educator Certification Program. Upon completion of the Phase 1 in-person, educators are then invited to complete Phases 2 and 3 online.

By completing this Educator Certification Program, you gain access to National Geographic's online educator community to network and share resources with thousands of educators around the world! Only through certification do you have the opportunity to apply to the Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship, a life-changing professional development opportunity involving a 10-14 day expedition. Finally, you will be part of the National Geographic network and may be asked to partner with them for other opportunities! Your administrators will be notified of your completion of the Educator Certification Program.

The workshop will be led by the Topeka Zoo's Education Specialist, Rachael Rost. Rachael is a 2017 Grosvenor Teacher Fellow, a certified National Geographic facilitator, and a member of National Geographic's Kansas Advisory Council. She has been teaching at the zoo for six years.

Date and Time: Winter 2020 at the Topeka Zoo (We are doing the exact same workshop twice this day--once in the morning and again in the afternoon. You can sign up for either session.) DATE TBD.
Cost: Free! Includes admission into the zoo as well.
Who is this for: PreK-12 formal and informal educators, pre-service teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, and more!
Questions? Contact Rachael at 785-368-9137 or rrost@topeka.org. Also visit the National Geographic Educator Certification Program website for Frequently Asked Questions. Pre-registration is required. 

Preschool Zoo Time

A special program designed for preschool age children ages 2-5. The program includes a story, live animal encounter, and craft.

DATES: First Friday of the month, March-November

TIME: 10:30-11:00 a.m.

LOCATION: Gary K. Clarke Education Center

COST: $2 per child. Requires paid Zoo admission

Parents are admitted free to Preschool Zoo Time with paid Zoo admission.

Registration is not required.

The Preschool Classes are cancelled for the time being. Please contact 785-368-9137 with questions.

March 6; April 3 (cancelled); May 1 (cancelled); June 5 (cancelled); July 3 (cancelled); August 7 (cancelled); September 4; October 2; November 6