Field Trips
Let the Zoo be your Classroom!

Field Trips at The Zoo

Field Trips at the Zoo

Field Trip Registration will open on August 15

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.

To qualify for the field trip rate, groups must be part of a school that is currently in session. Groups must have at least 15 people, including teachers and adult chaperones. The field trip rate does not apply to weekend visits, day cares or summer camps, dates outside of our field trip season, or special zoo events such as Zoo Boo and Christmas at the Zoo.

Field Trip capacity is limited. Thursday and Friday dates are the most requested days and may sell out. For smaller crowd sizes, please consider visiting earlier in the week or in the fall or winter. A separate reservation is required for each visit.  A reservation is required at least two weeks in advance.

For field trip questions, please email us at edustaff@indyzoo.com for the fastest response.

Check out our School Planning Guide for more information on our field trips!

Sign Up for Fall Field Trip Dates on August 15!

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. Payment can be made with credit/debit card, check, or cash if in large bills. Checks may be made out to the Indianapolis Zoo.

Sign Up for Spring Field Trip Dates on August 15!

Starting in January and going through the end of the school year, groups will need to reserve a lunch time if you plan on bringing and eating lunches at the Zoo. This is free of charge.

Field Trip Costs

Student Admission

$7

Adult Chaperone Admission (Including parents and volunteers and home school parents)

$7

School Employees (including teachers, aids, and bus drivers)

Free

Bus parking on visit date

Free

All other vehicles

$10
Important Field Trip Information
  • Best Times to Visit

    Thursday and Friday dates are the most requested days and frequently sell out. For smaller crowd sizes 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!

  • What to Do at The Zoo

    Explore the Zoo 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 Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center.

    Enjoy a dolphin presentation, which runs daily at 10:30am and 2:30pm (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 limited and tickets are issued first-come, first-served at the admissions windows. Tickets cannot be reserved in advance. 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 and rays. Please share these shark petting rules with your students and chaperones prior to your field trip:

    • Touch the sharks and rays on the side only, using two fingers.
    • Do not grab the shark’s fins.

  • Chaperone Requirements

    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.

  • Zoo Memberships

    Parent chaperones that are Zoo members may use their membership card for entrance for themselves and their child. They will enter on their own and meet you inside the gates. The adult whose name is on the card must be present with proper ID to use the card. Children cannot use memberships without their parents.

  • What to Wear

    Show us your school pride! To help keep track of your class, students and adult chaperones are encouraged to wear 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.

     

  • Dolphin Presentation

    Dolphin presentation seating is now on a first-come, first-serve basis.  The doors open 30 minutes before each presentation begins.

  • What if group numbers change?

    If group numbers change slightly from the field trip reservation, that is okay.  Groups will only be charged for the number that visit. If totals change significantly (by more than 20), please email edustaff@indyzoo.com.

  • Lunches

    We do not allow groups to bring their lunches inside the Zoo, but lunches may be enjoyed at the picnic tables outside of Zoo grounds near the Gift Shop. These tables are available on a first come, first serve basis and we do not schedule lunch times for school groups. Groups may bring water bottles into the Zoo. To order box lunches from Centerplate Catering, please fill out the order form.

Additional School Programs

New! Animal Encounters

Cost: $100 for a class of up to 30 students

These programs will allow students to learn about one of the Zoo’s animal ambassadors while seeing the animal up close.  Students will learn what the animal needs and how we care for it.  These programs can help connect students to social-emotional learning.  Programs last about 20 minutes with time for students to ask questions. Sign up here starting August 15.

 

Live Video Chats

Looking for a pre-visit activity, or not able to visit us in person? Visit our Teacher Resources page for more information.

 

Science Investigator Series

Offered By Request • Cost: $100 for a class of up to 30 students.

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.

Programs begin on the hour and last for 45 minutes, include instruction, activities and a guided trip to a Zoo exhibit. Please note that Zoo admission must be purchased separately. Sign up here starting August 15.

 

If you plan to visit the Zoo before and\or after an Animal Encounter or Science Investigation be sure you register for a Field Trip.

 

Science Investigator Program Topics

Pre-K - 2nd grade

Students will examine animal life cycles and determine their basic needs.  They will also determine what is alive and whether it is a plant or animal.

Pre-K - 2nd grade

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.

3rd-5th grade

Students will explore animal adaptations and compare their own adaptations to those of animals.

3rd-5th grade

Learning math in school is one thing, but how is it used in the real world?  Discover many of the ways math is used at the Zoo with our animals.

3rd-5th grade

Students will discover the importance of habitats and ecosystems while participating in activities will help explain the interconnectivity of the natural world.

6th-8th grade

In this game-like activity, students will observe how greenhouse gases affect our planet’s climate and what that means for life on Earth. 

6th-8th grade

Students will explore their own memory and problem solving abilities while learning more about the cognitive abilities of orangutans.

9th-12th grade

Students will explore preserved biological materials and participate in an activity to learn about three levels of biodiversity: species-level biodiversity, genetic biodiversity, and ecosystem-level biodiversity.  

9th-12th grade

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.