Zoo Science Series

Denver Zoo now offers programming designed for the unique needs of the afterschool or extended-day audience. We offer a series of 5-8 lessons (typically taught once/week over a 5-8 week period) which all connect to a common theme, scaffold on one another, and culminate in a project where participants apply their learning from previous weeks. Lessons integrate NGSS practices, games, live animals, and problem-based learning!
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Dates & Times

Dates and start times vary according to your scheduling needs and our availability. Offered year round, seven days a week. Each lesson is 75 minutes in length, though program times can be flexed to be 60-90 minutes in length depending on site needs.

Programs are not offered outside of SCFD.


Program cost varies by site according to number of students enrolled, availability of a site instructor to remain in the classroom with the students, number of lessons requested, amount of scholarship awarded, program type, and other factors that may affect program cost. Please contact kmanning@denverzoo.org or 720-337-1634 to request a quote.

  • Maximum of 23 participants per lesson/minimum of 10 participants per lesson.
*A site instructor is an adult employed by your site who remains with your students for the duration of zoo programming and plays an active role in assisting Denver Zoo instructors with teaching and behavior management.


Scholarships available, apply during registration. More information on Access to Awe Scholarships can be found here.

Program Information

Wild Scientists

Nature Scientists (Grades PreK - 2nd)

Participants conquer fears, build confidence, and learn to empathize with animals as they become nature scientists who use their senses and science tools to explore zoo animals and wildlife in their own communities. Denver Zoo instructors will come prepared with various science tools that will help students discover nature in their own neighborhoods, animal costumes to encourage role play, and outdoor weather gear to take kids outside in any season!

Field Scientists (Grades 2nd – 5th)

Participants become Junior Field Scientists-in-Training and travel across the world to learn and practice field science skills to discover new information about animals, just like Denver Zoo field researchers. Learning extends into everyday life, as participants are challenged to use science tools to make discoveries at home.

Animal Scientists (Grades 3rd – 6th)

In this series, youth engage with every fourth and fifth grader's favorite topic, animal poop! Youth drive the direction of their learning while investigating the phenomenon "Even though all animals - including me - poop, my neighborhood isn't covered in poop!" Using authentic learning materials, science tools, and science practices, they will explore nutrient cycles and waste's effect on animals in their local watershed. Throughout their investigations, youth will be asked to reflect on their resilience in the face of challenges, and commit to focusing on traits that scientists use every day (collaboration, curiosity, careful observations, etc.). Each week, investigations will involve a different live animal ambassador that connects to the question of the day.


  • To register, please call 720-337-1634 or email kmanning@denverzoo.org.
  • Access to Awe scholarships may be available for groups that qualify.
  • Requested dates are not guaranteed until confirmed by Denver Zoo.
  • Please register at least THREE weeks in advance of first desired program date.
  • Payment is required at least THREE weeks in advance of first program date.
  • When registering, please register for the first lesson date, and put additional lesson dates in the NOTES section within this registration.
  • Maximum of 23 participants per lesson, with a minimum of 10 participants per lesson.
  • Consecutive classes should take place in the same location.
  • Lessons canceled or rescheduled with less than three weeks notice before the scheduled program date will be charged 50% of the per lesson cost and/or charged a $75 Change Fee. Access to Awe scholarship funds do not apply to any cancellation fees.

Additional Information

At least one site instructor is required to be present in the room at all times to help students engage with their learning and assist with group management and student behavior. In the event that a site instructor cannot be obtained, Denver Zoo reserves the right to cancel the program and return to the zoo. 

Due to the nature of live animals, Denver Zoo Outreach cannot guarantee which animals are at any program. Animals in programs may eat nuts. Be aware of allergies.

Denver Zoo Outreach space requirements:

  • Ground level or elevator access.
  • An unloading and parking area close to the program location, with access for a rolling cart.
  • At least one large table (6-8 feet preferred).
  • Access to an empty (no students) indoor, lockable space/room for safe keeping of program resources when students are outside during zoo programming.
  • Some classes have additional requirements, such as extra tables or space.
  • No other activities in room during both setup and presentation.
  • No food or drink.
  • No other animals.
  • Presenter will arrive 15-30 minutes prior to program start time to set up.
  • Programs should take place indoors unless otherwise arranged with Denver Zoo during registration.

Cancellations and Rescheduling

  • If you need to make changes or cancellations to your registration, please email kmanning@denverzoo.org explaining your requested changes/cancellations.
  • Cancellation:  Lessons cancelled more than 3 weeks in advance will receive a full refund.  Lessons cancelled less than 3 weeks in advance will receive a 50% refund.  Lessons cancelled within 24 hours receive no refund.
  • Changes to your Reservation:  Any changes to your reservation (dates, times, ages, etc.) will result in a $75 Change Fee.
  • If a cancellation results in changes to the rest of the lessons in a series, you will also be charged a Change Fee.
  • Denver Zoo Scholarship funds may NOT be used to pay any of the above fees.
  • You will not be charged for cancellations or changes made due to unavoidable circumstances (such as last-minute school closures due to snow).  Denver Zoo also reserves the right to cancel or reschedule a lesson due to unavoidable events.