School Discovery Programs

School’s in Session – at the Zoo!

Learning comes to life in Norfolk’s most exciting classroom. Zoo school programs provide a hands-on, brains-on opportunity for students in all grade levels to learn about animals and conservation. Zoo school programs are more than just a field trip; they are a memorable, fun and highly educational way to explore science.

Each program includes:
• Up close animal encounters
• Interactive science lessons aligned to Virginia’s Standards of Learning
• Admission to the Zoo for the day for students and chaperones

Zoo school programs fit curriculum requirements in North Carolina and private schools, too. We can even create a custom program just for your students or modify a current program to meet your needs. We present programs for home school groups to share a Zoo experience.

Or – go beyond the classroom walls, and book a guided tour for your school group to explore the Zoo with an animal expert.

If you can’t come to the Zoo, we’ll come to you. Most school programs can be brought to your site.

To arrange a program:

  • Choose the program you want for your students (see below)
  • Decide on (preferably 3 or 4) possible dates
  • Print and fill out the registration form
  • Submit your form according to the instructions on the form
  • When your program is scheduled you will receive a confirmation by email

Learn more about these age specific programs:

Please fill out a registration form and mail or fax it to us.

For more information about school programs, contact the Education Department at 757.441.2374 (229) or email.

Planning Your Day at the Zoo

Teacher Preparation

  • Reservations for programs or guided school tours are required and can be made by submitting a printed registration form by fax or mail.  If necessary you may call 757.441.2374 (229) with clarifying questions related to the form.
  • After scheduling your program or guided school tour, you will receive a confirmation.
  • To avoid the busy season, March through June, schedule your visit between September and February.
  • If you do not wish to include an education program or guided school tour in your Zoo visit, you do not need to make prior reservations with the Education Department, but please follow the procedures for scheduling a Self-Guided Field Trip.


  • If you need to cancel a program, please contact the Education Department as soon as possible at 757.441.2374 (229).
  • Our programs are held rain or shine and will only be canceled by the Zoo in cases of extreme weather.

Visit Length

  • Allow at least two hours for your Zoo visit.
  • Students may need additional time to complete educational activities.

Inform Your Chaperones

  • Please bring one chaperone for every 10 students. This chaperone will be admitted free to the Zoo.
  • Chaperones should remain with students at all times to ensure an enjoyable visit for all Zoo patrons.

Bus Parking

  • During the busier months, March through June, a greeter will meet you at the entrance and instruct your bus driver where to unload your students and park the bus.


  • Outside food is not permitted in the Zoo.  Please plan to store your lunches on your bus and eat lunch in Lafayette Park after your Zoo visit.
  • For information regarding table reservations and fees in Lafayette Park, call Norfolk City Recreation, Parks, and General Services at 757.441.5834.
  • If you would like to re-enter the Zoo, please notify the attendant at the ticket booth as you exit.

More Information: Hours and Ticketing | Directions | Zoo Map