If you don’t want to be the tour guide, a Zoo Educator can guide your students through the Zoo while enthralling them with inside information. All tours include a bus tour, behind-the-scenes visits, and up-close animal encounters. Our programs align with Next Generation Science and Common Core State Standards, and are complemented by our world-class curriculum that you can implement in your own classroom!
Grade 2 Adaptation Connections Program — FREE!
Second grade classes in San Diego County are invited to participate in a FREE guided visit at the San Diego Zoo. Dr. Harry Wegeforth, the founder of the San Diego Zoo, dedicated the Zoo to the children of San Diego. In honor of this dedication, our free second grade program has been a long-standing tradition at the Zoo. The program is complemented by the zoo’s NGSS-aligned Adaptation Connection Curriculum, which teachers can implement in their classrooms before and after their zoo visit to augment their students’ science education. At the Zoo, the program includes a bus tour and an animal presentation. This special program is very popular among teachers who are "in the know," so advance reservations are required and must be made early in the school year!
- Program length: 1.5 hours
- Maximum: 130 participants
- Fee: FREE for schools in San Diego County only.
- Suggested pre-visit curriculum: Adaptation Connections
We have a variety of grade-appropriate tours that you can reserve to enhance your visit. Choose the one that best fits your educational objectives.
Inside Story Tour (Grades K–12): A Zoo educator leads you and your students through the Zoo with inside information about endangered species, caring for wildlife, and becoming partners in conservation. The two-hour program includes a bus tour, behind-the-scenes visits, and animal encounters.
- Program length: 2 hours
- Audience size (students and chaperones): Minimum of 20 per group, maximum of 40 per group
- Fee: $10 per person. Add discounted group admission rates if you are a qualified youth group (such as scouts, YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, etc.) or a school not in San Diego County.
- Suggested pre-visit curriculum: Africa Rocks (Grades K-5), Elephant Odyssey (all grades), Wild Cats (Grades K-5), Polar Bear Plunge (all grades), Koala Pouch Pack (multiple grades available), Rhinoceros (grades K-5)
Wildlife Conservancy Tour - (Grades 4–12): The San Diego Zoo has been saving species for almost 100 years! Get an in-depth look at how we help conserve endangered species and habitats around the world and in beautiful San Diego! Students will learn about native species and discover how they can be heroes for wildlife in their communities. This program includes two animal encounters, a bus tour, and an interactive, hands-on activity.
- Program length: 3 hours
- Audience size (students and chaperones): Minimum of 20 per group, maximum of 70 per group
- Fee: $15 per person. Add discounted group admission rates if you are a qualified youth group (such as scouts, YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, etc.) or a school not in San Diego County.
- Suggested pre-visit curriciulum: Watershed Heroes (Grades 3-5), Radical Researchers (Grades 3-6), Eco-Pressure: Conserve Biodiversity of Wildlife (Grades 6-9), Andros Iguana (Grades 5-7), Conserving San Diego’s Habitats (Grades 6-12)
At-the-Zoo Small Group Program
Critter Coverings - (Grades Preschool–K): Fur, feathers, scales…oh my! Your younger students will have a blast learning all about what covers the critters here at the zoo and will practice identifying these coverings on real live animals! This program is hosted in our Australian Outback Classroom by an experienced and enthusiastic Zoo educator and features up-close animal presentations and a guided walking tour of several zoo exhibits.
- Program length: 45–55 minutes
- Maximum: 40 participants (students and chaperones)
- Fee: $200 per group. Add discounted group admission rates if you are a qualified youth group (such as scouts, YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, etc.) or a school not in San Diego County.
- Suggested pre-visit curriculum: Koala Pouch Pack for pre-K and Kindergarten
You can receive these discounts with advance reservations only:
- Bus Tour tickets: $5 per person
- Skyfari tickets: $3 each way
- 4-D Theater Experience: $3 each show