Zoo hours for 2024: The zoo is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The last entry is at 4 p.m. The zoo is closed on Mondays, except for Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Indigenous Peoples Day. Please note that some exhibits are closed due to construction. For more information, visit 'Plan Your Visit' - 'Hours & Pricing'. (dismiss)
Outreach Programs

Programs for all ages

To learn more about what the Niabi Zoo2U program has to offer, check out our programs for all ages list below.

Zoo Chats

These programs feature a wide array of biological artifacts from animals presented in a larger group setting such as festivals, community events, and anywhere a passive interaction program is desired. While less formal than our presentation style programs, the table/tent based Zoo Chats can reach a wide audience over longer periods of time from a single to multiple hours. The service fee is based on the length of time for the Chat (1 hour, 2 hours, or longer) and can accommodate a large flowing audience.

Have No Fear Animal Program

A.K.A.  Halloween Spooktacular

Creepy, crawly, slimy, slithering, flapping, hissing, scary animals! Many people have fears of certain types of animals that are often the result of misinformation from movies, stories, and legends. Niabi Zoo2U presents images and artifacts to show these animals in a different light as we debunk the myths surrounding these spooky critters in a fun and enlightening way that help people overcome their fears.

Interactive Nature Hikes

Get in to Nature, literally! These hikes take participants in groups of up to 25 into the woods, led by a Zoologist/Naturalist, to explore nature first hand and along the way, learning about the creatures of the forest.  Learn how Nature can be used as therapy as participants are connected to animals and Nature. The service fee is based on the number of participants. Embrace Nature
and get in to it!

Niabi Art Programs

A wildlife artist will teach how to recreate the beauty of nature through art. (Pricing based on number of participants and materials needed).


Meet and interact with animals while learning how to draw them! This program can be modified for the skill level of participants. For a little extra, participants can go
home with their own animal sketch book!

The Art of Nature

Nature provides the palette as you learn to create beautiful arrangements that are more than centerpieces, they are works of art.

Seasonal Programs

Whether it is a community festival, organizational event, or just a celebration of the season, Niabi Zoo2U customizes its seasonal programs to focus on how animals survive during the different times of the year.

Seasonal programs include:

Spring Awakening

As the land awakens from its winter slumber, plants begin to bloom and animals become more active as they search for food, shelter and mates. Wake up and find a friend to join you at this eye opening experience.

Surviving Summer

In the heat of the summer, survival can be challenging for many animals as they deal with difficult conditions such as increased temperatures and protected resources such as water and territory. Find out how animals stay cool and see if they have what it takes to be a survivor.

Fall Frenzy

With winter coming, animals go into a frenzy to stock up on food by hiding it or eating it to build a layer of fat. They begin to prepare shelters to stay warm in winter or prepare to leave for greener pastures where it is less likely to be cold and more likely to have more resources to survive the coming winter. Join the frenzy to make preparations for this wild program!

Winter Wonders

Have you ever wondered how animals survive the harsh weather of winter? Food is scarce as plants have gone dormant. Water is frozen as snow and ice. Warm shelter is limited or occupied by other animals. Explore the many unique ways animals have developed to survive from hibernation, migration, or just toughing it out through the chilling cold of winter.

Special Needs Programs

These programs are geared toward children and special needs of all ages and cognitive ability in a classroom, camp, or any other group setting. Each is modified depending on the level of need.

Age-specific programs

To learn more about what the Niabi Zoo2U program has to offer, check out our extensive age specific program list below.

Animal Tales — Ages: 3-5

A children’s literacy program with a variety of animal stories to choose from, these 30 min. programs feature animals represented in or related to a story that is read to the children. This includes a storybook reading, learning from images and artifacts of the featured animal, and a coloring page. See our book-list for a complete listing of Animal Tales.

Coat of Many Colors — Ages: 3-5

Animals wear many different coats with many different colors, those that help some blend in, those that help some stand out, and those that tell others to stay away. Learn the animal stories and how important a coat of many colors can be..

Zoo Time! — Ages: 3-5

In this highly interactive program, children will get to bend like a ferret during ferret flexibility, slither like a lizard, open their mouth as wide as a snake, and climb a tree like a parrot. This 30 minute program is geared toward younger ages with shorter attention spans. While shorter in length, it is still long enough to learn and have a heap of fun!

Creatures of the Night — Ages: 3-9

Ages: 3-5 6-9

What is a nocturnal animal? Why would an animal want to come out at night instead of during the day? How do animals get around, hunt, or protect themselves at night? Learn the answers to these questions while learning about the creatures of the night.

Animal Superpowers — Ages: 6-13

Ages: 6-9 | 10-13

Superheroes often have powers that originated with animals: flight, speed, flexibility, heat vision and more. See the strange, amazing ways that animals have physically adapted to their environment to find food, protect themselves, hunt, and to attract a mate. After this program, you are sure to know that superpowers do exist!

Ocean Adventures — Ages: 3-13

Ages 3-5 | 6-9 | 10-13

The creatures of the sea have bizarre shapes and forms. Through the use of preserved specimens, participants can interact with sea horses, coral, sea stars, shark teeth, a squid beak, an eel skull and more! We are directly connected to the oceans by the Mississippi River. Learn about our impact on the oceans and how we can help protect the world’s most precious natural resource.

Night Crawlers — Ages: 6-13

Ages 6-9 | 10-13

These crawling critters have been around for 500 million years, more than twice as long as dinosaurs! With their armored exoskeleton, insects and arachnids have unique ways to protect themselves, hunt for prey, and break down dead things!

Offense vs. Defense — Ages: 6-13

Ages 6-9 | 10-13

Sports teams have squads for both offense and defense. Some animals are equipped for offensive attack while others are equipped to make a defensive stand. Find out the fascinating physical and behavioral ways animals survive in this epic game.

What's for Dinner — Ages: 6-13

Ages 6-9 10-13

Eat or be eaten, that is the question. Find out what our Zoo animals eat, how they eat it, and who eats who by looking at a variety of teeth, food, and the mouths they go in.

Where the Wild Things Are — Ages: 6-13

Ages: 6-9 | 10-13

Just by seeing how an animal looks will tell much about the wild environment where it lives. Learn how and where animals make their homes and the adaptations that help them survive in their natural habitats.

Dinosaurs Alive — Ages: 6-18

Ages 6-9 | 10-13 | 14-18

Look at the change in dinosaurs through time resulting in today’s modern birds. Learn about reptiles from the age of dinosaurs (turtles and crocodilians) that survived the mass extinction 65 million years ago. Examine dinosaur fossils, bird and reptile artifacts to see that dinosaurs are still with us today!

Going Native — Ages: 6-18

Ages 6-9 | 10-13 14-18

Learn about the wild animals in your own back yard! The changing face of the landscape by humans has reduced population sizes and species diversity. Find out what you can do to help and how to live in harmony with native species. Explore animal artifacts and discover our amazing native species.

Nature's Soundtrack — Ages: 6-18

Ages 6-9 | 10-13 | 14-18

What kind of sounds do animals make? Why do they make them? Nature’s Soundtrack helps to answer these questions by bringing recorded sounds of the animals that people are not likely to hear. The sounds of the animal kingdom mean many things and hearing them broadcasts a whole new level of understanding about the musical side of nature.

Spineless Wonders — Ages: 6-18

Ages 6-9 | 10-13 | 14-18

Are BUGS really animals? What about animals in the ocean without a backbone or spine? While many people typically only think of vertebrates as animals, invertebrates represent 97% of all animal life. Next time you think of an animal, consider that nearly all of the animals on Earth are spineless wonders.

The Race is On! — Ages: 6-18

Ages 6-9 | 10-13 | 14-18

How fast can animals move? Which is fastest? Which is slowest? Is faster better? What’s the benefit to speed? What is the downside? Find out the answers to these questions and more as we discover how active an animal needs to be to get food or escape predators.

Biomes — Ages: 10-18

Ages 10-13 14-18

Discover how our planet is a living system in which the biomes are all connected. Explore Oceans, Mountains, Rainforests, Deserts, Grasslands and Temperate Forests. Learn about the different regions of the world and what types of animals live there.

Careers with Animals — Ages: 10-18

Ages 10-13 | 14-18

So, you want to work with animals? Find out how about the wide variety of careers available and how to get there. Learn about education requirements (from high school to college and beyond), experience needed and how to get it, the pay scale, as well as the time, commitment, and dedication needed to have a career with animals.

Endangered Spaces — Ages: 10-18

Ages 10-13 14-18

Learn how animals that are threatened with extinction often have the most change to their natural environment, from meteors to motor vehicles. Learn what the zoo is doing and how you can help save animals from extinction.

The Domestication Story — Ages: 10-18

Ages 10-13 14-18

How is it that predators such as wolves and wildcats came to live in our houses? How did we get animals off of the mountains and out of the jungle to live in our backyard pens so we can milk them, use their eggs, and even eat them? Thousands of years of selective breeding have brought humans great companionship (dogs, cats, ferrets, etc.) nourishment (cows, goats, chickens, etc.), and literally the clothes on our backs (sheep, cattle, etc.). Find out the rest of the story in this eye opening, historically accurate tale spanning 40,000 years.

Saving our Oceans — Ages: 14-Adult

Age 14-18 | Adult

The world’s oceans are in peril. Climate change, acidification, oil spills, plastic garbage patches, algal blooms, dead zones, over-fishing, and the death of the coral reefs are the greatest threats to the oceans. What can be done to save our oceans? Can you help the oceans from your own home and school? The answer is YES! Find out how in this eye opening program.

Species Conservation — Ages: 14-Adult

Age 14-18 | Adult

See how it takes the collaboration of many people from zoos/conservation organizations, government agencies, and the general public to save a species from extinction. The success story of the Bald Eagle and the current work on the Black-footed Ferret Recovery Programs will be featured.

Zoo Vet — Ages: 14-Adult

Age 14-18 | Adult

A human doctor cares for just 1 species. Most veterinarians care for 2-4 species at the most. A Zoo Vet has to care for over 100 species of different animals! Our educators will share the ups and downs of being a Zoo Vet and the many challenges of providing medical care for endangered leopards, uncooperative eagles, and more! *Note – images of animal medical conditions may be used and can be graphic in nature.

Comparative Behavior | Anatomy — Age: Adult

See the relation between animal behavior and anatomical structures in pets vs. their wild counterparts to better understand why pets behave the way they do.

Connecting with Nature — Age: Adult

In this age of technology and electronic devices (called the e-generation), children are spending less and less time outside. With diagnoses of ADHD on the rise, children (and adults) are suffering from Biophobia and Nature Deficit Disorder. Learn how to deal with these issues at school and at home in this lively developmental workshop.

Zoo2U Outreach Program request form

When you are ready to request a date for your program, fill out the program request form below. Once we receive your request and confirm availability, we will use the information from your request to prepare a Program Agreement to secure your preferred date and time. We look forward to bringing the Zoo2U!

  • (where the program will be held)
  • A travel fee may be assessed for distances over 20 miles from the Zoo at the rate of $1/mile.
    Please enter a number from 1 to 150.
  • (if different from program site address)
  • Choose from the Program List at the top of the page
  • Please select all that apply
  • For an additional $15, we can provide a set of activity sheets for participants. Sheets contain an animal coloring design on the front and activity on the back. One set contains 25 activity sheets. Please list the number of sets.