Celebrating the Wonders of our Natural World...

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Core Education Topics

John Ball Zoo's Wild Encounter and Traveling Zoo programs are designed to teach the
following science topics to your students. Other, more customized programs are also
available upon request.

Preschool – Kindergarten

Animal Essentials

Students learn the basic needs of animals and how they satisfy these needs to survive.

Michigan Wildlife

Students get the chance to explore the wild side of Michigan and learn more about the
animals that might be right in your backyard.

Animal Senses

Students explore their own senses as well as those that animals use to survive.

Body Coverings

Experience the furry, feathery and scaly side of the animal world and learn why the animals are covered the way they are.

Grades 1st – 3rd

Animal Classification

Grouping animals by their common characteristics is important for better understanding animals. Students learn about the basic animal groups through up-close identification of their similarities and differences.

Growing up Wild

All animals are not raised the same and not all babies look like their parents. We'll explore parents, their young and how they each grow up differently.


Every animal needs a home and is adapted to survival in this environment. We'll explore a variety of habitats around the world and how some animals find the food, water, shelter and space they need in them.

Grades 4th and Above

Animal Adaptations

Students get an up-close look at the amazing physical and behavioral adaptations animals have adapted to survive in the environments where they live.


It is eat and avoid being eaten in nature. Students learn about the adaptations that help predators find their prey and those that help potential prey avoid being eaten while exploring the connections these animals have with each other.


Everything's connected in nature. Students learn about trophic levels and how energy flows through an ecosystem. We'll help them recognize the connections animals and plants have and why each one is important for the ecosystem.

Endangered Species and Wildlife Conservation

Some species need a little help in nature and recognizing which ones are endangered is just the first step. Students will learn what they can do as well as what others are doing to help protect wildlife and their habitats around the world.

Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations

To learn about how our core education topics address Michigan grade level content
expectations for science and social studies, click here.
1300 W. Fulton St Grand Rapids, MI 49504 Phone: 616.336.4301 Email: