Celebrating the Wonders of our Natural World...

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School Groups

Make learning come alive for your students with John Ball Zoo and our education programs. Our educational programs are designed to address Michigan’s grade level content expectations using fun, hands-on and flexible teaching methods that meet the needs of any age group. We offer programs at the zoo or we can bring the zoo to you. Education programs at the zoo include Wild Encounter animal presentations and Zoo Explorer Tours. If you would rather learn at your own pace, you can pre-register for discounted school group admission and use online teaching resources. Please read through the following options to decide which might be best for your group.

If you would like to download and view or print a copy of the school programs brochure, please click here.

You can learn more about our programs in the following video


Visit the Zoo on Your Own

School Group Pre-Registration Discount for March 1 - June 11, 2015

If you are interested in learning at your own pace, we offer the following discounted admission rates to school groups* that pre-register at least three weeks in advance and pre-pay at least two weeks in advance:

• $3.00 per student
• Teachers and bus drivers are free
• One chaperone per 5 paid students is free. Additional chaperones above the 5:1 ratio are subject to the adult general admission fee.

*These rates do not apply to daycare or day camps

Pre-registration and pre-payment is required. A separate reservation must be made for each visit. All students, teachers, and adult chaperones will be issued wristbands for admission into the zoo once payment is received.  Wristbands serve as your tickets for zoo admission.  Everyone is required to wear their wristband, upon entering the zoo. Once payment is received, wristbands will be mailed to your school. Click here for more information.

School Group Pre-Registration is now entirely online!

Click here to register!

Questions should be directed to Rachael Perretta 616-336-4301 ext 1001 or to education@jbzoo.org

Programs at the Zoo

Wild Encounters

Come visit the zoo and learn about wildlife in a hands-on learning experience with our zoo education staff or our trained docents in a presentation. Our 30-45 minute Wild Encounter presentations are designed to teach students about one of our core education topics through a hands-on animal encounter in a classroom setting. These classes are for students of all ages in groups of up to 30 students and up to 6 adults (classes for pre-K through Kindergarten students are limited to 20 students). Click here for the Wild Encounters registration form. Questions should be directed to Rachael Perretta 616-336-4301 ext. 1001 or education@jbzoo.org

Zoo Explorer Tours

Join us for a guided exploration of the zoo. Students explore four areas of the zoo with assistance from our experienced docents. The lessons in these areas include a hands-on animal encounter, guided indoor exploration, and outdoor tours. Each program is designed to teach students about one of the topics listed in the registration form below. This program is 2 hours in length and can accommodate up to 2 classes of students. 

Click here for a Zoo Explorer tour request form. Questions should be directed to Rachael Perretta 616-336-4301 ext. 1001 or education@jbzoo.org

Overnight Adventures

Spend the night at the zoo with your class and have a fun filled learning adventure! Pick the date that your class would be able to experience the zoo in a whole new light. Reserve your date now, dates are filling fast! For more information click here.

Twilight Tours

Experience the zoo in a new 'light'. Bring your class, flashlights and a sense of adventure for this guided tour of the zoo as the sun goes down. Learn how to use your senses at night and how animals are adapted to life in the dark. For more information click here.

Group Lunches

We also offer pre-ordered lunch options for groups of 10 or more. Click here to visit the Food Services page for details.

Self-Guided Tours and Scavenger Hunts

Click here to create a fun, interactive experience for your students by utilizing our self-guided tours and scavenger hunts.

Programs at Your School

Traveling Zoo

Let the Zoo come to you and learn about wildlife in a hands-on learning experience with our zoo education staff or our trained docents in the comfort of your own classroom or facility.

Click here for more information on our standard Traveling Zoo program.

Still don't know which program is for your group?

Contact us at education@jbzoo.org!