Field Trips
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Field Trips at The Zoo

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Field Trips at the Zoo

Field Trips Are Available for the 2021-2022 School Year!

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 2021-2022 school year those dates will be August 16 through June 3.

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 for the fastest response.

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

Register for a Field Trip

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.

For field trip registration assistance or questions, please email us at for the fastest response.

New! Zoo Experience Package

This special package deal includes admission, lunch, 1 ride/feed ticket and a 10:30am dolphin presentation ticket for $20 per student and chaperone and $13 per teacher.  Due to food orders, field trip experience packages need to be paid in full at the time of reservation.  If the group size changes, please contact at least two weeks before the field trip date.  Food and feed/ride tickets cannot be refunded after that point.

If you are interested in this package please email


Field Trip Costs

Student Admission


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


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


Bus parking on visit date


All other vehicles

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 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 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.

  • Lunch

    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.

  • 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.


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.


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.


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 through 4th 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.

K through 4th 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.

1st-5th grade

Students will explore the world of elephants by examining elephant artifacts and playing a game.  Learn about elephant conservation and how you can protect Africa’s elephants

pre-K through 5th grade

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.

pre-K through 5th grade

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.

3rd through 6th grade

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.

1st through 4th 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.

pre-K through 2nd grade

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.

4th through 7th grade

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.

2nd through 4th grade

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 guided visit to see some of the plants growing on Zoo grounds.

3rd through 6th 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.


For pre-K students to explore and learn more about the natural world around them.  Limited to 20 students per session.

5th though 9th grade

Students will discover the wide range of zoo careers and discover how a zoo works.

9th through 12th grade

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.

1st through 3rd grade with a 4th through 6th grade extension.

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.