Opportunities for learning while having fun never stop at the zoo! Year-round the education team heads out into the community to do educational programs we call zoomobiles.

These programs include a presentation with live animals so that various groups, including schools and assisted living facilities and more, can experience the zoo right where they are. On top of our zoomobiles we also schedule education programs at the Finnup Center as well as zoo tours.

These programs are popular as field trips for schools including homeschool, but we also present them to a variety of audiences. All we ask is that your group has 10 or more participants for the program. Story Time, which takes place every Monday at 10:30 a.m., is an excellent opportunity for pre-K children and their caregivers to experience hands-on zoo activities centered on a fun storybook.

Another educational opportunity presents itself in the form of a party at the zoo! Why not have us host your next birthday party? Each birthday package includes a program with live animals and an indoor party room for two hours for $125 (discounts available for Friends of Lee Richardson Zoo members).

When school is out, the zoo’s education division is ready to share lots of interesting nature adventures. We offer Zoo Edventures during winter, spring and summer breaks for students in first through eighth grade. Edventures are half-day camps that include a variety of fun activities as well as inside looks at the zoo.

This week our first Winter Edventure is focused on “Frozen Science.” Participants will learn all about the science of winter through the scientific method. Activities include creating crystal snowflakes, learning about thermometers and meeting animals that are well adapted to freezing temperatures.

Winter Edventures are two half-day programs that run from 8 a.m. to noon. There are still spots available for next week’s Edventure “Hibernation Station” on Jan. 4 and 5 for first- through fifth-grade students. The cost is $40 ($35 for Friends of Lee Richardson Zoo members) and includes snacks for each day as well as an Edventure scarf or hat.

Hibernation Station will look at the major adaptations that plants and animals rely upon to survive. Participants will have the opportunity to meet both native and exotic species to learn the unique ways that their body or behaviors change in order to make it through the coldest time of year. Activities include crafting dens for hibernating animals, a rousing game of “Squirrel Brain” that will keep bodies moving as the kids have to remember where they buried their acorns, and creating a winter adaptation diorama to take home.

Keep an eye out for additional information about our spring break and summer Edventures taking place in 2018. Zoo Edventures are a great way to keep your child’s brain and body active during a school break. If an Edventure isn’t the right fit for you, keep in mind the other fun learning opportunities at the zoo such as our Zoomobile or Education Center programs.

If your family or group is interested in any of these services, please visit our website at www.leerichardsonzoo.org or call (620) 276-1250 for additional information.