Blank Park Zoo
Blank Park Zoo

Open Daily, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

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Open Daily, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

View All Rates ›
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Zoo to You

Availability: Year-roundlions
Advance booking: Required 3 weeks in advance
Cost: Varies depending on program

Blank Park Zoo offers a variety of programs for community groups and organizations at the Zoo including homeschool classes, scout troops and Overnight Adventures.

Can't come to the Zoo? Have the Zoo come to you! Blank Park Zoo offers both in person and virtual programs for libraries, daycares, preschools, senior centers, community engagements and company functions. We offer engaging and memorable educational experiences for children and adults.

In person Zoo to You programs are on hold until April 12, 2021. Programs scheduled for after that date can be booked now. See information below regarding our COVID-19 protocols. 

Our interactive programs include zoo artifacts and sometimes even live Ambassador Animals! View our program options below.


Zoo to You Programs*

Daycares and Preschools – Enjoy stories, songs and other movement activities with our Zoo educators and reading mascot, Ruby the Reading Red Panda.

  • Ages: 2-5 years
  • Group Size: Up to 25 children
  • Program Length: 30 minutes
  • Cost: $75
  • Program Themes:
    • Rockin’ in the Rainforest - Let's take a trip to the rainforest and use our senses to discover the many different sights, sounds, tastes and smells!
    • Slimy, Scaly, Smooth or Soft? - Fur, scales, slime, spines, feathers...children will discover why different coverings are so special for animals.
    • Moovin’ and Groovin’ - Slither like a snake, fly like a bird, let's move the way the animals do! Children will discover why animals crawl, hop, climb or dig..moving in so many different ways!

Community & Library Programs – Encourage people’s imaginations to come alive by inviting the Zoo to your event this summer.

  • Ages: All ages
  • Recommended Group Size: Up to 150 people
  • Program Length: 45 minutes
  • Cost: $100
  • Program Themes:
    • Rockin’ in the Rainforest - Let's take a trip to the rainforests and discover what is a rainforest and what makes them so special!
    • What’s a Reptile? - Learn about the characteristics of a reptile! Do they lay eggs? Do they have legs? Do they make noise? Where do they live? We'll answer all these questions and more!
    • Tales of Tails - Animals have tails! This is true, but why? Learn about the different purposes animals have for their tails and what some of those tails look like.
    • Colorful Creatures -  Animals come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Learn about the uses of these animals coloring and camouflage that help them thrive in their environment.

Adult Programs – Learn something new or check-in for an update about Blank Park Zoo with our Zoo educators.  

  • Ages: Recommended for ages 18+
  • Recommended Group Size: Up to 50 people
  • Program Length: 45 minutes
  • Cost: $100
  • Program Themes:
    • They Still Roam Among Us - Many people think the dinosaurs went extinct millions of years ago but there are still thousands of dinosaur species that still roam the earth today! During this program, we'll discuss exactly what a dinosaur is and which animals today are the closest living relatives to the giants of the past.
    • What’s New at the Zoo? - Catch up on the latest developments at Blank Park Zoo and learn how you can get involved in Blank Park Zoo's efforts to save animals in the wild.

Booth ProgramsHave a special event coming up? Invite the Zoo! From games and activities to artifacts, our educators can bring a program that suits your audience.

  • Ages: All ages
  • Cost: $100 per hour

Additional fees may apply for Zoo to You programs including but not limited to mileage fees, evening/weekend fees and idle time.


Virtual Zoo to You Programs

Live Virtual Programs – Choose between a live animal program, keeper chat or Zoo tour and enjoy fun education and personal stories about the animals we all love. Guests of all ages are welcome to engage and ask questions about Blank Park Zoo’s animal residents.

  • Ages: All ages
  • Program Length: 30 minutes
  • Cost: $80
  • Connection Requirements: Live programs are offered over your choice of Zoom, Google Hangouts or Microsoft Teams

While we will make every effort to honor requests to learn about any animal at Blank Park Zoo, please note that some restrictions apply.

Pre-recorded Programs – Take your pick from a list of pre-recorded programs to watch on your own time. After booking a pre-recorded program, you will have access for as many people to view as many times as they wish for 2 weeks.

  • Ages: All ages
  • Program Length: 30 minutes
  • Cost: $80
  • Connection Requirements: Pre-recorded programs are offered via a Google Drive link.
  • Program Themes:
    • African Animals
    • Rainforests
    • Oceans
    • Aquatic Mammals & Birds
    • Animal Movements (PreK-Gr 2)

*Live Animals at Zoo to You Programs

Blank Park Zoo is committed to maintaining a high professional standard of animal care and wellness through continuous improvement of best practices. The COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity for us to evaluate our outreach programs, “Zoo to You,” to ensure we are providing our Ambassador Animals with the best possible care.

Best practices in animal wellness provides animals with the five opportunities to thrive:

  • Opportunity for a well-balanced diet (clean water and species specific diet presented in an appropriate manner)
  • Opportunity to self-maintain (access to appropriate shelter and substrate)
  • Opportunity for optimal health (supportive environment, rapid diagnosis and treatment)
  • Opportunity to express species specific behavior (access to appropriate space and social groupings)
  • Opportunity for Choice and Control (conditions in which animals exercises control and choice to avoid distress)

To ensure we are allowing our traveling animals the five opportunities to thrive, including on the road, we will be implementing the following policies effective immediately:

  • To allow animals with the opportunity to self-maintain, express species specific behavior and choice and control - Ambassador Animals will be limited to 8 hours (round trip) of out of enclosure time.
    • This means animals will only be able to travel to programs that allow them to be back within 8 hours of their departure from Blank Park Zoo
  • To ensure animals have the opportunity for optimal health - only 2 Ambassador Animals will be visiting each program.
    • Program lengths will still be 45-60 minutes. Reducing the number of animals visiting locations will increase the amount of time each animal is able to spend outside of their crates and allow audiences more time to observe and learn about each animal. Blank Park Zoo will also increase the amount of props and artifacts that we bring to programs to improve the quality of each program and increase audience’s participation and retention of information.
    • Reducing the number of animals traveling on programs also allows the Zoo to provide the appropriate amount of “time off” or amount of time that animals are not leaving their enclosures which we have found reduces animal stress levels.
  • To ensure animals have the opportunity for choice and control - Ambassador Animal visitors will not be touched by audience members.
    • We have found that animals experience higher levels of stress when they are touched by large groups of people. With this change, we will be bringing artifacts and biofacts that audience members can explore and touch during or immediately following programs.

How does this affect your organization?

These animal wellness changes may impact the number of programs at each facility and split mileage fees. Facilities will still be able to split mileage with other facilities as long as the amount of time round trip for the Zoo is under 8 hours.

  • For example: Cedar Falls Public Library, Waterloo Public Library and Norma Anders Public Library (Dysart, IA) could book programs together and split mileage fees if each facility just books 1 program (3 hours of programming + 4.5 hours of travel).

If your organization is farther away from the Zoo than an 8 hour round trip would allow, we will still offer programming at your facility, however, live animal visitors will not be included in the program. We are able to arrange to have a virtual animal visit and we will also bring program props and artifacts as we would to any other program.

  • Blank Park Zoo will supply the necessary technology for virtual animal visits if your facility does not already have the equipment.
  • Virtual animal visits include visits with any of our Ambassador Animals or any of our exhibit animals. Virtual animal visits finally give us the opportunity to “bring” a rhino, giraffe or tiger to your facility!

COVID-19 Precautions and Restrictions

Blank Park Zoo is taking precautions to ensure the health and safety of our animals, staff and guests while bringing back interactive Zoo to You experiences.

  • Zoo to You programs are required to be outdoors in a shaded area or in a gymnasium or similar sized space and setting. (Photo of space must be sent in advance for approval)
    • There must be some type of barrier behind Zoo educators to prevent audience members to approach from the back.
    • For outdoor spaces, Zoo educators must be able to park Zoo vehicle next to program area.
  • Blank Park Zoo staff and animals must be able to maintain a 10-foot distance away from all audience members at all times.
  • There will be NO touching of animals or artifacts brought to programs by anyone other than Blank Park Zoo staff.
  • Face coverings will be worn by Blank Park Zoo staff at all times.
  • Blank Park Zoo staff will sanitize tables and/or surfaces used before and after programs.
  • Facility leaders are responsible for ensuring that audience members are following the above guidelines.
  • Blank Park Zoo staff will terminate programs immediately if above guidelines are not followed.
  • Facilities are responsible for full payment if program is terminated due to facility failure to comply to above guidelines.
  • Facility leaders are required to sign a statement that they have read and agree to above guidelines.
  • Blank Park Zoo animals have temperature restrictions and may be cancelled due to weather or heat.
    • Programs cancelled by the Zoo due to weather or heat will not be charged

Booking and Cancellations

Programs must be booked at least 3 weeks in advance. If you need to cancel or reschedule a program, please contact us as soon as possible. Cancellations of in person and live virtual programs made within 1 week of the program will still be charged 50% of the program cost. Rescheduling fees may apply.


For more information, help or to book a program please call the Education office at 515-974-2550 or email education@blankparkzoo.org.

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