Expedition Zoo to You

Expedition Zoo To You

Virtual Field Trips at UHZ

Looking for something “wild” to add to your classroom curriculum? Learning from home and looking for a way to connect with wildlife? Wish you could take a field trip, but current circumstances prevent it? Utah’s Hogle Zoo offers virtual field trips, where we bring the Zoo to you! Spend time with our seasoned and energetic educators as we meet animals, participate in interactive activities, and learn about nature in a fun and engaging way. Perfect for classrooms, families, scouts, youth groups, daycares, or anyone else interested in taking a field trip to the Zoo using the magic of the internet. Our variety of programs feature different animals and life science concepts geared towards specific age groups and addressing Utah’s core standards. However, our programs are adaptable for any age group.

Let us know the details of your group when you book, and we’ll tailor a program to meet your group’s interests! No two field trips are ever the same! Have something specific in mind but don’t see it listed? We may even be able to develop a new program just for you – just let us know what your group is studying and talk with our educators about potential program options. We love sharing our knowledge about our Zoo animals, so we’re able to cover a wide variety of animals and biology concepts.

Each field trip program is 30-45 minutes long and includes insider Zoo information from our knowledgeable Zoo staff, interactive activities, and dedicated Q&A time.

Pricing: $75 for a 30-45 minute program.

  • We offer a $25 discount for multiple classes booked at once. When you book more than one class, the price is $50 per class. (1 for $75, 2 for $100, 3 for $150, etc.)
  • 60-minute versions of most classes are available. In this additional time, we cover additional topics, explore the topics at further depths, include live animal presentations, and offer more time for questions/discussion. Every program is different, so ask on booking for the exact differences between 30-and 60-minute programs.
    • 60-minute classes are $100 for a single class, with the same discount on booking multiple classes. ($75 for each program when booking numerous courses.)

Times available:

  • Wednesday-Saturday between 9 am and 6 pm.

Please include your desired time in the booking email. Times are first come, first serve and depend on animal, equipment, and educator availability. We will attempt to accommodate your top choice for the time, but please include alternative dates/times in your booking email.

Technology Requirements:

We will be connecting with your group virtually. The most straightforward system for us to use is through the UEN-approved video conferencing software WebEx. However, we can also book a program through Zoom or join an already-existing virtual classroom of your choice. Because of the virtual nature of this interactive lesson:

  • You will need to be able to connect to a meeting
  • Show the screen somewhere visible to your students,
  • Run audio through a speaker that they can hear, as well as
  • Have a camera and microphone in the classroom so our educator can see and interact with your students.

If connecting across multiple devices, each student should have access to a camera and microphone and understand how to join the meeting and mute/unmute themselves.

Group Sizes: Program cost covers up to 30 participants across up to 20 connected devices.

  • Please note: These programs are designed to be highly interactive. However, interaction is more difficult the larger the group gets. If your large group can split into smaller groups (for example, presenting by class rather than by grade), we highly recommend it. Doing this will provide for a more interactive, student-driven, and inquiry-based interaction with your group.

Booking instructions:

Email Hayley ([email protected]) to book a program for your group.

Please include:

  • Your group size
  • Program selection
  • Desired date and time of the program (please include a second choice if your first option is unavailable), any special requests/accommodations, and
  • Any questions you may have

Programs Available:

Cookin’ for Critters

**This class is filmed on location, is behind the scenes, requires much more prep time, and has a special price, timing, and group size adjustments. Please see notes for full details**

Join us in the Zoo kitchen to learn about how we prepare food for the Zoo animals. Each animal has a specific diet chosen for them by our head vet and nutritionist, Dr. Nancy, and then it’s up to keepers, diet techs, and volunteers (aka Zoo chefs) to prepare each diet to perfection. Follow along for a tour of the commissary as we “bake” a batch of bat skewers. Plus, we’ll even get to watch the bats enjoy their dinner. Along the way, we talk about animal diets, carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores, and why food is such an essential part of health – for you and animals!

Topics covered: Herbivore/Carnivore/Omnivore, Zoo Jobs, Animal nutrition

Core Standards Tie-in: 5.3.1 (animals obtain energy and matter from food)

Recommended Ages: Any

Notes: This program runs a full hour, can accommodate up to 150 participants and includes a behind-the-scenes view of a rarely seen area. Therefore, this class starts at $125 instead of $75

Ele-Fact or Fiction

Get ready to break out your trunks of truth and ears of doubt as you weigh in on some true or false elephant trivia to learn more about the world’s largest land animal. We’ll look at pictures, videos, biofacts (animal “artifacts” like bones, etc.) Depending on conditions, we may even take a trip through the Zoo to visit our elephants Christie and Zuri.

Topics Covered: Elephants

Recommended Ages: 2nd -6th Grade

Bug Jobs

You may think bugs are gross, but they have important jobs to do! Learn all about them as you train to be a bug guidance counselor. We’ll meet with four career representatives through live bugs and biofacts. You’ll learn about the critical jobs bugs do in their ecosystems; pollinator, decomposer, predator, and food source. They’ll tell us all about what it takes to work in their field. Then we’ll review the resumes of other buggy hopefuls, learning about their skills so that we can help sort them into their jobs. The play-along sorting game is excellent for kids Grade 2-6 (age 7-11), fans of creepy-crawlies, or anyone who enjoys taking a closer look at the tiny natural world all around us.

Topics Covered: Animal Adaptations, Ecosystem Roles, Decomposers, Pollinators, Predator, Prey

Recommended Ages: 7-11

Possible Core Standards Tie-in: K.2.4 (survival solutions), K.2.3 (Living things change their surroundings to survive) 2.2.2 (structure and function of adaptations for survival), 2.2.3 (animals as pollinators and seed dispersers), 4.1.1 (structures support survival), 5.3.3 (Food chains and energy flow), 6.4.3 (modeling energy flow)

Draw your Attention The Polar Bear Stare

In this follow-along drawing activity, we’ll learn how careful observation helps us draw and learn about the natural world. Scientists and artists use very similar skills when observing animals. Participants will watch footage of polar bears in action. They will learn more about their bone structure and fur by observing biofacts and explore polar bear form and function. Students will discover how observing animals help us to protect them in the wild. By the end of the program, you’ll have a better understanding of polar bears, along with a beautiful drawing of one!

Topics Covered: Adaptations for survival, Form, and Function, Polar Bears, Conservation

Recommended Ages: 7-15

Possible Core Standards Tie-in: K.2.2 (relationships between animals and their habitats), 1.2.2 (Patterns of shared adaptations), 2.2.1 (patterns of living things in habitats), 2.2.2 (structure and function of adaptations), 3.3.5 (adaptations are specific to habitats), 4.1.1 (structures support survival),

Draw and Meet

In this simple follow-along drawing activity for younger audiences, we’ll learn how careful observation helps us draw and learn about the natural world. Observation is an excellent skill for both scientists and artists to develop. For this class, we select several simple animal drawings suitable for Kindergarten through 3rd-grade. They are also appropriate for older audiences who would like to create a simple illustration. This class will look at photos, biofacts (animal artifacts like bones or snake sheds), and live animals as we complete our drawings. Animals available include; tortoise, snake, millipede, and tarantula. For a 30-minute class, select two or three animals for a 60-minute class.

Topics Covered: Observation, form and function of animal adaptations, wildlife safety, habitats

Recommended Ages: K-3rd

Possible Core Standards Tie-in: K.2.2 (relationships between animals and their habitats), 1.2.2 (Patterns of shared adaptations), 2.2.1 (patterns of living things in habitats), 2.2.2 (structure and function of adaptations), 2.2.4 (mimicking adaptations), 3.3.5 (adaptations are specific to habitats), 4.1.1 (structures support survival),

Who wants to be a Pinniped?

Which animals seem like they are designed to be dogs for mermaids? Is that your final answer? Gear up your brains for this game-show-style program featuring everyone’s favorite mermaid puppies, the seals and sea lions! Learn about the adaptations that make them ideally suited for living on rocky coastlines. Plus, learn about how humans mimic animal adaptations, even when caring for our pinnipeds here at the Zoo!

Topics Covered: Animal adaptations, seals and sea lions, animals and their habitats, form and function of adaptations

Recommended Age: 5-10

Possible Core Standards Tie-in: K.2.2 (relationships between animals and their habitats), 1.2.2 (patterns of adaptations, similar habitats =similar adaptations), 2.2.1 (patterns of living things in given habitats), 2.2.2 (Structure and function of animal adaptations), 2.2.4 (Design a solution to a human problem by mimicking animal adaptations), 3.3.5 (adaptations are specific to habitats), 4.1.1 (structures support survival)

Herp Heroes

Recommended for fans of Reptiles and Amphibians, this class is all about the unique adaptations of our scaly and squishy friends.  Meet some live animal ambassadors, go on a scavenger hunt, and follow along as we play a scaly Simon says to discover how reptile and amphibian adaptations mirror some super-human traits of our favorite action heroes.

Topics Covered: Reptiles/Amphibians, animal adaptation

Recommended Ages: K-4

Possible Core Standards Tie-in: K.2.2 (animals live in places that meet their needs), 1.2.2 (Patterns of shared adaptations), 2.2.1 (Patterns of shared adaptations), 2.2.2 (structure and function of adaptations for survival), 3.3.5 (adaptations are specific to habitats), 4.1.1 (structures support survival)

Right on Target

Have you ever wondered how we train animals here at the Zoo? In this class geared towards little learners, we talk about how important it is for animals to listen to their keepers, just like students need to listen to their teachers. We’ll also talk about how animals find their spots (or targets) for training- just like you might find your desk or cubby, and how we teach animals new things. We’ll play games, tell stories, and see the training of all sorts of Zoo animals.

Topics Covered: Training, Life skills: Following instructions

Recommended Ages: Pre K -2nd Grade

Mob Mentality

Learn all about the meerkats and the remarkable social structure they have as they take turns building their home, keeping watch for their predators, and hunting their venomous and poisonous prey. We’ll get into the spirit of meerkat mob learning and cooperation by playing Simon Says and talking about how humans divide up chores. We may even get to take a walk through the Zoo to go and visit the meerkats themselves.

Topics Covered: Meerkats, Life skills: Cooperation

Recommended Ages: Pre K – 2nd Grade

Meet the Animals

Get an up-close encounter with some of UHZ’s smallest residents as we meet three of our Ambassador Animals in our most versatile program. Our small animals include invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, and some mammals. Because our Ambassador Animals choose whether or not to participate in programming, we can’t promise specific animals, but we will try to fit your desired topic as closely as possible.

Topics Covered: Any

Recommended Age: Any

Possible Core Standards Tie-in: Any

Animals in Jeopardy

This game show-style program covers all sorts of Zoo trivia. It can be altered to fit any topic or grade level. It includes vocalizations, fun facts, visits from animal ambassadors, and information about animal conservation and how participants can protect wild things and places. Perfect for high school and adult groups who are looking to get a little competitive.

Topics Covered: Animal conservation, fun facts, animal sounds, family trees (taxonomy), and animal distributions are pre-included, but any of these topics can be swapped for a topic of your choice

Recommended Age: 7th Grade to Adult. Information can be changed to make it grade-appropriate; this program is more engaging for audiences aged middle school and older

Possible Core Standards Tie-in: Any

Nature Journals

Great for scout groups, families of avid hikers, or adults looking to develop their artistic side while enjoying nature, this class introduces participants to the concept of nature journaling — spending time to observe nature and write and draw your observations. Together, you’ll craft your very own nature journal and talk about the different kinds of entries you can make, discuss some general sketching techniques, and head out into the Zoo to make our first entry.

Topics Covered: Nature play, Naturalists, Back yard conservation, local ecology, wildlife research and study

Recommended Age: 4th Grade to adult

Materials Needed: Cardstock, 4 sheets computer paper, scissors, glue stick (optional), pencil, rubber band, and stick from a nature walk about the size of a pencil (a chopstick also works if not available)

Calligraphy, Culture, and Conservation

In this class, we will journey to the highlands of Asia to meet the people and animals that call the Himalayas home. Using watercolors, we will learn some techniques of Chinese paintings and calligraphy as we discuss how learning about foreign cultures is an integral part of conservation efforts. You’ll also discover how came hair yarn and goat insurance are helping to save snow leopards by solving people’s problems first, in the new wave of conservation where humans are the heroes of the story.

Topics Covered: Conservation, Coexistence, Human-wildlife conflict, Zoos as conservation organizations. Chinese painting

Recommended Age: High School to Adult

Materials Needed: Paper, watercolor paints, a cup of rising water, watercolor brush

Zoo Careers

In this class, we’ll talk about what it takes to become a Zookeeper and what you should know if you are considering a career in the Zoo field. We’ll also talk about other jobs around the Zoo. People tend to think about Zookeepers and veterinarians but did you know you could be a Zoo artist? Or an accountant? It takes a village to run a Zoo, and there are lots of fun jobs to consider if you want to work around animals.

Topics Covered: ZooKeeper Pros and Cons, Job stats, Zoo jobs, how to get started

Recommended age: 14+

The Timeline Tour (Zoo History)

Take a trip down memory lane as we explore the long and wild history of Utah’s Hogle Zoo. We have learned a lot over the past 100 years. Test your memory with some trivia, meet some of the Zoo’s oldest animals, and learn why we’ve made some of the changes that we have over the years. What is the oldest statue on Zoo grounds? What did the Zoo do when the city threatened to turn off the water? How did we survive the Great Depression? Why are bows and arrows no longer allowed on Zoo grounds? Learn this and more in this tea time class on Zoo history.

Topics Covered: Zoo history, AZA accreditation, Zoos as Conservation Organizations

Recommended Age: Adult