Bring the Zoo to You - Outreach STEM Multi-contact Enrichment and Afterschool Programs

Denver Zoo now offers programming designed for the unique needs of the afterschool or extended-day audience.  We offer a series of 6-8 lessons (typically taught once/week over a 6-8 week period) which all connect to a common theme and scaffold on one another.  Lessons integrate NGSS practices, games, live animals, and problem-based learning!

Program Information


K-1st grade

Participants take on the role of an animal detective agency to help animals solve daily problems in their environment related to food, water, shelter, and space. 

2nd-3rd grade

Participants take on the role of scientific researchers who are researching different areas around the world that the zoo is considering for potential Conservation Focal areas, and are asked to put a presentation/proposal together to present to our Conservation and Research Department about which area they believe the zoo should focus on, and argue why the Zoo should hire their team to work in that area.

4th-5th grade

Participants develop observation skills, participate in a Citizen Science project, help the zoo analyze wildlife that crosses over the I-70 corridor, and develop a solution for how to safely get animals across I-70. 

Adaptations & Classification

K-1st grade

Participants explore biofacts, live animals, and books to classify animals into different groups.  They will use what they have learned to become detectives and determine which animals has recently visited their classroom! 

2nd-3rd grade

Participants learn how to be scientists by identifying adaptations, and exploring how these adaptations help animals survive. They will experiment with eyesight to learn how animals see differently from us, create camouflage for an animal, differentiate between learned and inherited characteristics, use an ethogram to record animal behavior, and use all of this information to design an exhibit for an animal at the zoo.  

4th-5th grade

Participants learn how to be scientists by observing animals and sorting them into different groups based on their physical characteristics.  Through hands-on activities, experiments, and problem-solving, participants will compare and contrast animal characteristics, and learn what truly makes each animal class unique. 


Additional Information

At least one adult chaperone is required to monitor and assist with group management and student behavioral issues, especially when live animals are out. In the event that this second adult cannot be obtained, Denver Zoo reserves the right to cancel the program and return to the zoo.  Due to the nature of live animals, Denver Zoo Outreach cannot guarantee which animals are at any program.
Animals in programs may eat nuts.  Be aware of allergies.

Denver Zoo Outreach space requirements:

  • Ground level or elevator access.
  • An unloading and parking area close to the program location, with access for a rolling cart.
  • At least 1 large table (6-8 feet preferred).
  • An adult representative in the room during the program.
  • Some classes have additional requirements, such as extra tables or space.
  • No other activities during both setup and presentation.
  • No food or drink.
  • No other animals.
  • Presenter will arrive 15-30 minutes prior to setup.
  • Programs should take place indoors unless otherwise discussed with the Logistics Specialist.

Cancellations and Rescheduling

  • If you need to make changes or cancellations to your registration, please email explaining your requested changes/cancellations.
  • Cancellation:  Lessons cancelled more than 3 weeks in advance will receive a full refund.  Lessons cancelled less than 3 weeks in advance will receive a 50% refund.  Lessons cancelled within 24 hours receive no refund.
  • Changes to your Reservation:  Any changes to your reservation (dates, times, ages, etc.) will result in a $75 Change Fee. 
  • If a cancellation results in changes to the rest of the lessons in a series, you will also be charged a Change Fee.
  • Denver Zoo Scholarship funds may NOT be used to pay any of the above fees.
  • You will not be charged for cancellations or changes made due to unavoidable circumstances (such as last-minute school closures due to snow).  Denver Zoo also reserves the right to cancel or reschedule a lesson due to unavoidable events.