Zoo Troop

Please note that all January programs are virtual. All February programs are currently in-person.

For January, we are not offering any Toddler programs (in-person or virtual).

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zootrooptoddlersFor Toddlers (18-36 months old)

Cost: Members: $65 / Non-Members: $80 (An adult must accompany child. No charge for accompanying adult.)

In-Person capacity limited to 5 children (5 adults)

IMPORTANT: Please plan for one adult to stay with your child during these classes. We require adults accompanying their children to classes to wear masks at all times.


What Shape Is Your Home?

Does a robin’s nest look like a circle? Does a tree trunk look like a rectangle? What better way to learn shapes than by learning with animals! Bring them to this four-week series to learn how we can discover shapes while we learn about animals! Join us to learn about animal homes while we move around the Zoo, meet animals
in the classroom and act like an animal with our friends.

Steps
1. Discover our shapes.
2. Meet animals up-close and use our fingers to touch them.
3. Gain confidence based on the knowledge you gain.

Purpose
When I’ve finished this Zoo Troop adventure, I will have mastered learning shapes and will be able to identify animal homes!

Dates
Choose a day for every week for 4 weeks.

Virtual

  • No Virtual programming for toddlers.

In-Person

  • Tuesdays, February 16, 23, March 2, and 9: 9:30-10:15am or 11:00-11:45am
  • Wednesdays, February 17, 24, March 3, and 10: 9:30-10:15am or 11:00-11:45am
  • Saturdays, February 20, 27, March 6, and 13: 9:30-10:15am or 11:00-11:45am

zootroppprekFor Pre-Kindergarteners (ages 3-4 years old)

Cost: Members: $65 / Non-Members: $80

In-Person capacity limited to 9 children (9 adults).

IMPORTANT: Please plan for one adult to stay with your child during in-person and virtual classes. We require children and adults attending class to wear masks at all times.


At Home in the Cold

Do you like to play outside when it’s cold or snowy? So do some of our Zoo animals! Join us as we identify our cold weather warriors, the animals with the best adaptations to keep warm, even through the harshest cold temperatures.

Steps
1. Discover how animals can live in cold temperatures.
2. Meet animals up-close and observe their adaptations.
3. Make new friends and learn how to communicate with others.
4. Gain confidence based on the knowledge you gain.

Purpose
When I’ve finished this Zoo Troop adventure, I will have learned that animals have adaptations that allow them to live in cold climates.

Dates
Choose a day for every week for 4 weeks.

Virtual

  • Fridays, January 8, 15, 22, and 29: 11:00am-12:00pm
  • Fridays, January 8, 15, 22, and 29: 3:30-4:30pm

In-Person

  • No In-Person programming for January
Feelin’ Hot, Hot, Hot

Scorching sun, dry heat, no shade – wait, what?! We might run the opposite way, but some animals can take the heat! Join us as we discover how some animals can survive the hottest temperatures on the planet!

Steps
1. Discover how animals survive extremely hot temperatures.
2. Meet animals up-close and observe their physical adaptations.
3. Make new friends and learn how to communicate with others.
4. Gain confidence based on the knowledge you gain.

Purpose
When I’ve finished this Zoo Troop adventure, I will have learned that animals have special adaptations that allow them to stay cool, even in the most extreme temperatures.

Dates
Choose a day for every week for 4 weeks.

Virtual

  • No Virtual programming for February

In-Person

  • Fridays, February 19, 26 March 5, and 12: 11:00am-12:00pm

zootroopkindFor Kindergartners

Cost: Members: $70 / Non-Members: $85

In-Person capacity limited to 9 children.

IMPORTANT: Parents are encouraged to allow their children to experience these classes independently. We require children attending class to wear masks at all times.


At Home in the Cold

Do you like to play outside when it’s cold or snowy? So do some of our Zoo animals! Join us as we identify our cold weather warriors, the animals with the best adaptations to keep warm, even though the harshest cold temperatures.

Steps
1. Discover how animals can live in cold temperatures.
2. Meet animals up-close and observe their adaptations.
3. Make new friends and learn how to communicate with others.
4. Gain confidence based on the knowledge you gain.

Purpose
When I’ve finished this Zoo Troop adventure, I will have learned that animals have adaptations that allow them to live in cold climates.

Dates
Choose a day for every week for 4 weeks.

Virtual

  • Fridays, January 8, 15, 22, and 29: 11:00am-12:00pm
  • Fridays, January 8, 15, 22, and 29: 3:30-4:30pm

In-Person

  • No In-Person programming for January
I Sleep In A…

Do you sleep in a nest like a cockatoo or do you burrow down in the dirt like an armadillo to stay safe and warm? Many animals sleep in unique places! We’ll play games, hike through the Zoo, and meet some new animal friends as we discover where different animals like to sleep and what sorts of material they use for shelter.

Steps
1. Discover that there are many different types of shelter.
2. Learn how an animal’s body and behavior can give us clues about where it likes to sleep.
3. Investigate how some animals build their own homes and see if we can too.
4. Make new friends and have fun together.

Purpose
When I have finished this Zoo Troop adventure, I will understand that different animals like to sleep in different places to meet their unique needs.

Dates
Choose a day for every week for 4 weeks.

Virtual

  • No Virtual programming for February

In-Person

  • Tuesdays, February 16, 23, March 2, and 9: 10:00-11:30am
  • Wednesdays, February 17, 24, March 3, and 10: 10:00-11:30am
  • Saturdays, February 20, 27, March 6, and 13: 10:00-11:30am

zootrop1or3For 1st-2nd Graders

Cost: Members: $70 / Non-Members: $85

In-Person capacity limited to 9 children.

IMPORTANT: Parents are encouraged to allow their children to experience these classes independently. We require children attending class to wear masks at all times.


Living Off the Land

Can you picture an elephant climbing a tree? Some animals are made for life on the ground. Together, we will figure out which animals are best suited for terrestrial life! Discover these ground dwelling critters by meeting some animals “in the classroom” and out in the Zoo!

Steps
1. Discover that some animals are adapted to live on land.
2. Meet animals up-close and study the body parts that allow them to live on land.
3. Make new friends and work on activities with other classmates.
4. Gain confidence based on the knowledge you gain.

Purpose
When I’ve finished this Zoo Troop adventure, I will have learned that some animals are suited to live life on the ground.

Dates
Choose a day for every week for 4 weeks. Choose a day for every week for 4 weeks.

Virtual

  • Tuesdays, January 5, 12, 19, 26: 3:30-4:30pm

In-Person

  • No In-Person programming for January.
Who Lives In the Water?

Who has flippers, fins, tails, or webbed feet? All of these body parts seem perfect for moving through water. Join us as we investigate how some animals live the aquatic life! In each class, we will explore aquatic animals around the Zoo, challenge ourselves with classroom activities and experience up close animal encounters.

Steps
1. Discover that some animals have physical adaptations that allow them to move in water.
2. Meet animals up-close and get a chance to see their body parts that assist in locomotion.
3. Make new friends and work with others in the classroom.
4. Gain confidence based on the knowledge you gain.

Purpose
When I’ve finished this Zoo Troop adventure, I will have learned that some animals have physical adaptations that allow them to move in water.

Dates
Choose a day for every week for 4 weeks.

Virtual

  • No Virtual programming for February.

In-Person

  • Tuesdays, February 16, 23, March 2, and 9: 10:00-11:30am
  • Wednesdays February 17, 24, March 3, and 10: 10:00-11:30am
  • Saturdays, February 20, 27, March 6, and 13: 2:00-3:30pm

zootropfirstFor 3rd-4th Graders

Cost: Members: $75 / Non-Members: $90

In-Person capacity limited to 9 children.

IMPORTANT: We require children attending class to wear masks at all times.


Globetrotting

From the giraffes of Africa to the Komodo dragons of Asia, and the leaf-cutter ants of Central and South America to the river otters of North America, this intercontinental journey will take us all over the globe. Together, we will travel north and south, and east and west to explore the wildlife that calls each continent home.

Steps

1. Investigate the diversity of wildlife that is found on different continents.
2. Discover the important role that animals play in their habitat.
3. Make new friends and discover our voices as we learn together.
4. Discover what role humans around the world play in their environment.

Purpose
When I’ve finished this Zoo Troop adventure, I will have developed cooperative and team working skills and have more knowledge about the diversity of animals and ecosystems worldwide.

Dates
Choose a day for every week for 4 weeks.

Virtual

  • Wednesdays, January 6, 12, 20, and 27: 3:30-4:30pm

In-Person

  • No In-Person Zoo Troop for January.
Island Inhabitants

Islands are very special places. Split from the mainland by water, over time they become home to some unique animals and habitats. Come island-hop with us as we travel from the Galapagos to Madagascar to Komodo and more to uncover the animals that are found only in these special ecosystems and the ways scientists are working to protect them.

Steps
1. Investigate the reasons for the uniqueness of species found in island ecosystems.
2. Discover the ways animals are adapted to fill niches within different habitats.
3. Make new friends and discover our voices as we learn together.
4. Discover the ways we can influence and change our environment.

Purpose
When I’ve finished this Zoo Troop adventure, I will have worked on my cooperative and critical thinking skills and have more knowledge about island ecosystems and the adaptations of the species of animals that call them home.

Dates
Choose a day for every week for 4 weeks.

Virtual

  • No Virtual programming for February.

In person

  • Tuesdays, February 16, 23, March 2, and 9: 10:00am-12:00pm
  • Wednesdays, February 17, 24, March 3, and 10: 10:00-12:00pm
  • Saturdays, February 20, 27, March 6, and 13: 1:30-3:30pm

six8For 5th-6th Graders

Cost: Members: $75/ Non-Members: $90

In-Person capacity limited to 9 children.

IMPORTANT: We require children attending class to wear masks at all times.


Most Extreme Habitats

Polar, arid, harsh, and extreme are words that can describe some of the most seemingly inhospitable places, yet nature finds a way! From the tops of treacherous mountains to the middle of scorching deserts, some animals are adapted to not just survive, but thrive in some of the most extreme habitats on earth. We will investigate these extreme habitats and discover the lengths that animals will go to make them home.

Steps
1. Discover the specialized adaptations that animals can have to deal with extreme conditions.
2. Investigate the differences between extreme animals and their “normal” relatives.
3. Make new friends and discover how to work together.
4. Discover if humans have what it takes to live in these extreme habitats.

Purpose
When I have finished the Zoo Troop adventure, I will have developed critical thinking, observation, and inquiry skills and will build confidence in my own voice and ideas as I discover how I can positively impact my world.

Dates
Choose a day for every week for 4 weeks.

Virtual

  • Thursdays, January 7, 14, 21, 28: 3:30-4:30pm

In-Person

  • No In-Person Zoo Troop for January.
Animal Architects

From tree-eating elephants to mound-building insects, animals change, mold, and shape their world with the homes they build and the food they eat. We will learn about the original architects of this world and how the things they build or destroy help them survive and impact their habitat.

Steps
1. Discover the important role animals play in shaping their environment.
2. Investigate what it means to be a keystone species.
3. Make new friends and discover our voices as we learn together.
4. Discover the ways we can influence and change our environment.

Purpose
When I have finished this Zoo Troop adventure, I will have developed cooperative and team working skills and have more knowledge about the way that animals (including humans) can shape their environment.

Dates
Choose a day for every week for 4 weeks.

Virtual

  • No Virtual programming for February.

In-Person

  • Tuesdays, February 16, 23, March 2, and 9: 10:00am-12:00pm
  • Wednesdays, February 17, 24, March 3, and 10: 10:00-12:00pm
  • Saturdays, February 20, 27, March 6, and 13: 1:30-3:30pm

3For 7th-8th Graders

Cost: Members: $75 / Non-Members: $90

In-Person capacity limited to 9 children.

IMPORTANT: We require children attending class to wear masks at all times.


Most Extreme Habitats

Polar, arid, harsh, and extreme are words that can describe some of the most seemingly inhospitable places, yet nature finds a way! From the tops of treacherous mountains to the middle of scorching deserts, some animals are adapted to not just survive, but thrive in some of the most extreme habitats on earth. We will investigate these extreme habitats and discover the lengths that animals will go to make them home.

Steps
1. Discover the specialized adaptations that animals can have to deal with extreme conditions.
2. Investigate the differences between extreme animals and their “normal” relatives.
3. Make new friends and discover how to work together.
4. Discover if humans have what it takes to live in these extreme habitats.

Purpose
When I have finished the Zoo Troop adventure, I will have developed critical thinking, observation, and inquiry skills and will build confidence in my own voice and ideas as I discover how I can positively impact my world.

Dates
Choose a day for every week for 4 weeks.

Virtual

  • Thursdays, January 7, 14, 21, 28: 3:30-4:30pm

In-Person

  • No In-Person Zoo Troop for January.
Sharing Spaces and Common Places

Humans and animals share habitat in places as close as our backyard and as far away as the savannahs of Kenya. With such close proximity, conflict can arise, but so can coexistence. We will explore the ways people have found a balance and the wildlife and cultures that have benefited from these successes.

Steps
1. Learn about successful examples of coexistence between humans and their local wildlife.
2. Investigate how our choices and actions can affect nature both globally and locally.
3. Discover the ways our Zoo is helping facilitate conservation efforts worldwide.
4. Make new friends and discover how to work together to solve problems with critical thinking.

Purpose
When I have finished the Zoo Troop adventure, I will have developed critical thinking, observation, and problem-solving skills and will build confidence in my own voice and ideas as I discover the positive role I can play in sharing space with wildlife.

Dates
Choose a day for every week for 4 weeks.

Virtual

  • No Virtual programming for February.

In-Person

  • Tuesdays, February 16, 23, March 2, and 9: 10:00am-12:00pm
  • Wednesdays, February 17, 24, March 3, and 10: 10:00-12:00pm
  • Saturdays, February 20, 27, March 6, and 13: 1:30-3:30pm

FAQs & Policies

Virtual Zoo Troop

How long is Virtual Zoo Troop?

Every Virtual Zoo Troop program is jam packed with interactive activities to keep your child engaged and learning about wildlife from the comfort of your home!

  • Pre-K Virtual Zoo Troop programs are 45 minutes long each week, for 4 weeks.
  • Kindergarten-8th Grade Virtual Zoo Troop programs are 1-hour long each week, for 4 weeks.

What happens during Virtual Zoo Troop?

Each week will follow the same general schedule to provide you and your child a predictable routine for the month. Each week includes an introduction with an activity or game, 1-2 animal encounters in the classroom, virtual hikes through the zoo and ends with a suggested craft or project. During each program, you will have 2-3 Zoo Educators interacting with Zoo Troopers. Zoo Troopers will be able to ask questions and interact with the Educators and other Zoo Troopers.

What platform is used for Virtual Zoo Troop?

We will be using Zoom as our platform for class each week. Check your Zoo Troop Ticket for the link to the Virtual Zoo Troop Portal and password.  The portal will contain links to the Zoom meetings, recordings of past Zoo Troop weeks, and resources, including a PDF that explains the basic features Zoo Troopers will need to know how to use during Virtual Zoo Troop.

More about the Virtual Zoo Troop Portal.

All registered Virtual Zoo Troopers have access to the Virtual Zoo Troop Portal one week before the start of the series, during the series, and one week after the series. The link and password is provided on your ticket. Each series will have a separate password to access the Virtual Zoo Troop Portal. The Virtual Zoo Troop Portal contains links to the Zoom meeting, recordings of the live Virtual Zoo Troop, and resources for Zoo Troopers, such as an instructional PDF on Zoom features that will be used.

If the Virtual Zoo Troop Portal information is not located on your ticket, please contact [email protected] to have a new ticket sent to you.

Will my child need supplies for virtual Zoo Troop?

Your child may need a few simple supplies for their class such as paper and a writing utensil. At the end of PreK and Kindergarten classes, the instructor will show you an optional craft that you and your child can work on after class! We will let you know if any other supplies are needed.

I’m worried about screen time.

We totally understand and respect parents’ concern about increased screen time for children of all ages. We are an environmental education organization that wants to see children spend more time outdoors and less time in front of screens. Our goal is to provide content and activities that leaves your kids begging to go outside and collect things and observations they can share with us and their peers in the following weeks’ Virtual Zoo Troop online classroom.

Can my child see their friends in a virtual zoo troop class?

Yes! If participants allow their camera to be turned on during the program, they will be able to see and be seen by other friends in class. We encourage cameras to be turned on to help create an interactive experience during our zoo troop sessions.

In-Person Zoo Troop

What will be required to attend Zoo Troop?

Prior to entering the building, a Zoo employee will conduct a temperature check using a touchless thermometer, on all children and adults.
Children in PreK and above will be required to wear masks during Zoo Troop. See more information below.
Adults will be required to wear masks at all times.
Zoo employees are required to wear masks at all times.

Are Zoo Troopers required to wear a mask?

Masks are now required for Zoo Guests 3 years and older at all times.

  • Toddler classes will be limited to 5 children (and 5 adults). One adult is required to attend with each child.
    • Adults are required to wear a mask at all times.
  • PreK classes will be limited to 9 children (and 9 adults). One adult is required to attend with each child.
    • PreK Zoo Troopers and Adults are required to wear a mask at all times.
  • Kindergarten-8th Grade classes will be limited to 9 children. No adults attend these programs.
    • Zoo Troopers are required wear masks at all times.
  • Adults are required to wear a mask at all times.
  • All Zoo employees are required to wear a mask at all times.

Zoo Educators will remind participants when it is time to put masks on and when masks can be taken off. We know this is an adjustment for young children and we will do everything we can to make them feel comfortable throughout the program.

Are there any exceptions to adults wearing masks ?

Any adults accompanying their child in the Toddler or PreK class must wear a mask. Due to the nature of the Zoo Troop experience, it is our priority to keep all attendees, animals and staff safe. Live animal encounters allow attendees to be up close and personal with a variety of animals, including mammals that may be susceptible to the disease. If the intended adult accompanying the child in class is unable to wear a mask, we ask that a different adult that is able to wear a mask attends with the child. If that is not an option, we kindly ask that the adult and child refrain from attending classes for the time being. If your child is in PreK, you may consider registering for virtual Zoo Troop.

Can a younger sibling come with us to the Toddler or PreK class?

Due to the guidelines issued by the State of Ohio, we must adhere to the child/adult ratio and minimum square footage per child in the class. Therefore, we cannot have additional siblings attend class without being registered. The exception is young children who are not yet mobile and therefore will be in a carrier or be held for the entire class. If your registered child has a sibling that is mobile, we ask that you leave the sibling with another caregiver or register them for their age-appropriate Zoo Troop class. We offer Zoo Troop classes for children 18 months – 8th grade. We also ask that each child in the Toddler and PreK class only has one adult attend the program with them.

How many participants will be in a group?

  • Toddler classes will be limited to 5 children and 5 adults. PreK classes will be limited to 9 children and 9 adults.
    • Since we require one adult with each child, this class will be held in a large indoor space.
  • Kindergarten-8th Grade classes will be limited to 9 children. No adults attend these programs.

Will Zoo Educators be wearing masks during class?

Zoo staff are required to wear a mask at all times. Educators may take their masks off to drink water but will stay distanced during these moments.

What is your cleaning protocol for Zoo Troop?

The Cincinnati Zoo staff will be cleaning shared spaces (like bathrooms) at least once an hour with approved COVID-19 cleaning supplies following CDC guidelines. Staff will take Zoo Troopers to private bathrooms for hand washing throughout the program and/or utilizing hand sanitizer.

Will Zoo Troopers be socially distanced?

It is not currently a guideline for children to maintain 6’ distance within their group for an entire program. All Zoo Troop groups will remain a safe distance apart at all times, and shared spaces will be disinfected between use.

While in the Zoo, visitors will not be allowed to come in contact with any Zoo Troopers. A safe distance will be maintained between groups and others. The Zoo currently limits the number of guests allowed entry to limit crowd size.

Zoo Troopers will be using private restrooms not accessible to the general public.

Will my child be around members of the public?

The Zoo will be open to the public during Zoo Troop. Currently, the Zoo is carefully managing the number of guests allowed in the park to keep crowd size small. As part of Zoo Troop we will be leaving our private classrooms and taking hikes around the Zoo to visit animal habitats. During these hikes, there will be members of the public also visiting these same indoor and outdoor spaces. Zoo educators will do their best to maintain a safe distance between children and the visiting public. Children will be using private restrooms not accessible to the general public. When children are in their classrooms visiting with animals, playing games, etc. they will be in their own space away from the general public.

Will the class spend time indoors?

All classes will have dedicated classroom space for drop-of/pick-up, animal encounters, and occasional project/craft work.
As before, Zoo Troop spends the majority of the program outdoors for activities, hikes, and games.

Zoo Troop Drop-Off and Pick-Up Changes

  • All participants will park in the Education parking lot and be temperature checked using a touchless thermometer upon arrival.
  • Toddler and Pre-K Zoo Troopers and their adult will head into their classroom.
  • Children who attend class independently will now be escorted by their adult to their classroom.
  • Adults dropping off will not be able to remain in the Education building. They may leave Zoo grounds, wait in the lot, or make an online reservation and visit the Zoo. See more information about visiting the Zoo below.

Can I visit the Zoo while my child is at Zoo Troop?

Adults and families of Zoo Troopers may visit the Zoo while their child is in class. To visit the Zoo, you must make an online reservation. Members will receive free admission. Online reservations should be booked early as capacity is limited and your preferred time slot is not guaranteed. Without a reservation, you cannot visit the Zoo.

Guests visiting the Zoo will need to move their car from the Education parking lot and may park in the Vine Street parking lot and enter through Vine Street Village or the Erkenbrecher Entrance.

CALL OR EMAIL: 513-559-7767 OR [email protected]

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