Field trip rates are available to public, private, and home school groups visiting the Zoo during the school year – Starting in the fall on the third Monday in August and available through the spring until the first Friday in June. For the 2019-2020 school year those dates will be August 19 through June 5. A reservation is required at least two weeks in advance.
A separate reservation is required for each visit. To qualify for the field trip rate, groups must have at least 15 people and be part of a school that is currently in session. The field trip rate does not apply to weekend visits, day cares or summer camps, or special zoo events such as Zoo Boo and Christmas at the Zoo.
Please keep in mind that spring is our busiest season. Thursday and Friday dates are the most requested days at this time of the year and may sell out. For smaller crowd sizes, please consider visiting earlier in the week or in the fall or winter.
Adult Chaperone Admission
School Staff (including bus drivers)
Bus parking on visit date
All other vehicles
Spring is always our busiest season. Thursday and Friday dates are the most requested days at this time of the year and frequently sell out. For smaller crowd sizes in the spring please consider visiting earlier in the week. Or consider a visit in the fall or winter – fall is a great time to visit the zoo!
Explore the Zoo and White River Gardens with your school group to learn more about plants and animals from around the world. Exhibits at the Indianapolis Zoo highlight various habitats, including Plains, Deserts, Forests, Oceans and the new Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center. You can also explore a variety of plants in the Hilbert Conservatory and outdoor gardens.
Enjoy a dolphin presentation, which runs daily at 10:30am and 2pm (On busier days additional times may be available. Check with the guest services staff when you check in for that day’s availability.). Presentations are included with admission, though tickets are required and are issued first-come, first-served at the admissions windows. The doors open 30 minutes prior to the presentation and will close five minutes before the presentation starts.
In the Oceans exhibit, your students will have the opportunity to touch smooth dog sharks. Please share these shark petting rules with your students and chaperones prior to your field trip:
• Touch the sharks on the side only, using two fingers.
• Do not grab the shark’s fins.
• Splashing scares the sharks.
The Indianapolis Zoo requires one adult at least 19 years of age to accompany every 10 students. Adult chaperones, including school staff, are expected to accompany students (through Grade 12) at all times. An adult must accompany students in the restrooms and the gift shops. Security staff will escort undisciplined or un-chaperoned groups from the Zoo. Include your chaperones in planning and conducting the field trip.
You may bring lunches to the Zoo, however, for the safety of our animals, food may not be carried into the Zoo. Groups can eat lunch in the picnic areas available near the bus parking or along the river behind White River Gardens. Please check with Guest Services for additional picnic areas. The Zoo is not able to store or refrigerate lunches.
Arrangements for box lunches may be made through the Zoo’s exclusive caterer, Centerplate Catering. For prices, menu selections, or to order, please view options here or call (317) 275-5606.
Show us your school pride! To help keep track of your class, students and adult chaperones should wear adhesive nametags, or hats or T-shirts with your school name or logo on them. Nametags featuring pins or strings are not allowed on Zoo grounds as they can be hazardous to our animals.
No payment is required to make a reservation, but online reservations are required to hold your spot. Your payment will be collected when you arrive at the Zoo.
Enhance your students’ trip to the Indianapolis Zoo with one of our science learning opportunities! Offered throughout the school year, students will enjoy a variety of guided activities as they discover and investigate the science behind our natural world. All Science Investigator programs align to Indiana State Science Standards.
Running throughout the week, programs begin on the hour and last for 45 minutes, include instruction, activities and a guided trip to a Zoo exhibit.
Need help finding the best program topic for your class? Contact the Education Staff for suggestions.
Please note that Zoo admission must be purchased separately.
Students will investigate butterflies and their life cycle through a variety of activities including a story, game and science investigation. The lesson will end with a visit to the White River Gardens to look for butterflies. Only available April-May.
Students will explore the adaptations of polar animals through a variety of activities including a story, game and science investigation. The lesson will finish with a guided trip to see some of our polar animals.
Students will discover the importance of habitats and ecosystems while participating in our giant Tropical Topple game! The activity will help explain the interconnectivity of the natural world. This program also includes a guided trip out to one of our Zoo exhibits.
Students will explore what is important in a habitat and how the Zoo creates animal exhibits through a variety of activities as well as a trip out to see an exhibit.
Students will compare their own physical adaptations to that of the orangutans. The program will finish with a guided visit to see our orangutans in the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center.
Students will explore their own memory and problem solving abilities while learning more about the cognitive abilities of orangutans. The program will finish with a guided visit to see our orangutans in the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center.
Students will investigate the nature of plants in how they grow, survive, and reproduce through a science investigation and a game. The lesson will end with a visit to the White River Gardens to look at the various flowers and plants living there.
Students will develop a connection to endangered species through activities that will explore why animals become endangered and what we can do to help. The lesson will end with a visit to one of our exhibits with an endangered species.
For pre-K students to explore and learn more about the natural world around them. This experience will include a special visit to the Family Nature Center.
Students will discover the wide range of zoo careers and discover how a zoo works.
Students will explore the wide range of primates from lemurs to orangutans. They will discover the amazing adaptations and cognitive abilities of these primates. The lesson will end with a visit to observe primate behaviors and collect data using an ethogram.
Students will explore the biodiversity of the tropical rain forest by examining animal artifacts and rain forest products. Students will play a conservation game ‘Tropical Topple’ and visit a rain forest animal exhibit.