Blank Park Zoo
Blank Park Zoo

Open Daily, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
$14 adults, $8 children

View All Rates ›

Open Daily, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
$14 adults, $8 children

View All Rates ›

Wild Classroom School Programs

Grade Levels: K-12School Programs
Cost: Varies depending on program
Advance booking: Required 3 weeks in advance

Bring Blank Park Zoo to your school for fun, educational experiences for students of all ages. In these interactive programs, students will engage with Zoo staff to learn about the relationships of nature and actions they can take to help protect it.

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

Wild Classroom School Programs

Classroom Programs - K-12 programming aligned with Iowa Core Science. These interactive classroom programs are designed to enhance your curriculum using artifacts, games, and sometimes live animals. They are designed to meet the needs of all students at all levels. Programs may be adjusted to integrate standards in social studies or language arts as well.

  • Cost: $75 per program, max. 2 programs per day
  • Group Size: Individual classrooms (25 students)
  • Length: 30-45 minutes
  • Standards connections: These programs are aligned with Iowa Core Science, click here to see more.

Assemblies – Combine classrooms for an educational enrichment experience for students. These engaging assemblies are designed to foster empathy, build connections and inspire action for nature in students.

  • Cost: $300 per assembly, max. 2 assemblies per day
  • Group Size: 5 classrooms (up to 125 students)
  • Length: 60 minutes
  • Themes:
    • Who’s Who at the Zoo? – Explore the variety of careers at a zoo. Learn why every job is important, how they all work together to help save wildlife and how students can start their own journey towards a career with animals.
    • Habitat Heroes – Let's jump in and learn about how we can take action for wildlife. We'll explore different habitats and learn about the endangered animals that live there. Discover how small actions can make big impacts on the wild.
    • Creatures of North America – Discover the diversity of life found right here in North America. Let's explore the habitats of our continent and the animals that call it home.

After School – Students engage in fun, hands-on/minds-on learning with Zoo Club at your After School program. Programs can be booked for one time visits or for multi-week sessions.

  • Cost: $100 per program
  • Group Size: Up to 10 students (1 school staff member required)
  • Length: 60 minutes

Virtual School 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. Students are encouraged to engage and ask questions about Blank Park Zoo’s animal residents.

  • Cost: $65 per program
  • Length: 30 minutes
  • Connection requirements: 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.

Mileage fees: Flat rate mileage fees apply for schools depending on their distance away from the Zoo. Mileage is calculated by round trip distance from the Zoo to your school building. Additional fees may apply.

  • 0-50 miles: $0
  • 51-100 miles: $50
  • 101+ miles: $100 

Click here to fill out a Wild Classroom School Program request form.

Booking and Cancellations

Programs must be booked at least 3 weeks in advance. Facility leaders are required to submit a program agreement form and photo of program space at least 2 weeks before the program date.

Space requirements: Zoo staff and animals must be able to maintain a minimum of 10 feet space from audience members

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. Programs cancelled by Blank Park Zoo will not be charged.

Click here to fill out a Wild Classroom School Program request form.

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


Iowa Core Connections:


  • KLS1-1 - Use observations to describe the patterns of what plants and animals need to survive (light; food, water, shelter, space); and
    KESS3-1 - Use a model to represent relationships between needs of plants and animals (including humans) and the places they live; and Patterns of what plants and animals need to survive (light; food, water, shelter, space).  

Students compare different kinds of plants and animals, their habitats, and their needs – what they eat, where they live, etc.

  • KESS2-2 - Construct an argument supported by evidence for how plants and animals (including humans) can change the environment to meet their needs; and 
  • KESS3-3 Communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on land, water, air, and/or other living things in the local environment.

Students compare how humans, plants and animals use resources in their local environments and how they may change their environments.

Grade 1

  • 1LS1-1 - Design a solution to a human problem by mimicking how plants and/or animals use external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs.
  • Students play a biomimicry matching game, and explore structures of different plants and animals, their advantages, and how they might inspire designs useful to humans.
  • 1LS1-3 - Make observations to construct an evidence-based account that young plants and animals are like, but not exactly like, their parents.

Students play a game matching parents and offspring and observe animal or plant structures that help the organisms survive (scales, spikes, antennae, etc.) 

Grade 2

  • 2LS2-2 - Develop a simple model that mimics the function of an animal in dispersing seeds or pollinating plants.
  • Students observe and describe the characteristics of animals that pollinate plants or disperse seeds.
  • 2LS4-1 - Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.

Students explore boxes representing various habitats and learn about animals that live in them.

Grade 3

  • 3LS3-1 Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence that plants and animals have traits inherited from parents and that variation in these traits exist in a group of similar organisms; 
  • 3LS4-2 Use evidence to construct an explanation for how the variations in characteristics among individuals of the same species provide advantages in surviving, finding mates, and reproducing; and 
  • 3LS4-3 Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.

Students play a game and observe animals and artifacts with different characteristics and describe how these characteristics may help them survive (or not!) in their environments.

Grade 4

  • 4LS1-1 - Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction; and
  • 4LS1-2 - Use a model to describe that animals receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways.

Students observe animals and artifacts to determine their role in their habitats, and how their internal and external structures allow them to process information and survive. 

Grade 5

  • 5LS2-1 - Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.

Students develop food webs and observe animals that play different roles in their ecosystems.

Grade 6

  • MSLS1-8 - Gather and synthesize information that sensory receptors respond to stimuli by sending messages to the brain for immediate behavior or storage as memories.

Students participate in “training games” and observe and discuss animals’ responses to stimuli.

Grade 7

  • MSLS1-4 Use argument based on empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support an explanation for how characteristic animal behaviors and specialized plant structures affect the probability of successful reproduction of animals and plants, respectively.

Students examine different animals or plants and the behaviors that may contribute to their abilities to survive and reproduce, and interactions among plants and animals in an ecosystem that contribute to species’ survival.

  • MSLS2-1 - Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.

Students experience an activity mimicking carrying capacity in an ecosystem and discuss how changes in the ecosystem affect the organisms that live there. Animals from different ecosystems and their needs will be presented.

  • MSLS2-2 - Construct an explanation that explains patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems; and
  • MSLS2-3 - Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter among living and non-living parts of an ecosystem.

Students experience examples of symbiosis in ecosystems.

Grade 8

  • MSLS2-5 - Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Students explore how disruptions to any component of an ecosystem can lead to changes in populations within the system and the importance of biodiversity to the health of the ecosystem through an activity on succession in an ecosystem and interacting with animals that may be vulnerable to changes. 

  • MSLS4-4 - Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increase some individuals’ probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment;
  • MSLS4-4 - Gather and synthesize information about technologies that have changed the way humans influence the inheritance of desired traits in organisms; and
  • MSLS4-6 - Use mathematical representations to support explanations of how natural selection may lead to increases and decreases of specific traits in populations over time.

Students compare examples of natural and artificial selection in species and how they may affect survival and ability to reproduce

© 2022 Blank Park Zoo. All rights reserved.