The San Francisco Zoo offers educational programs for all grade levels, from pre-K through 12th grade. Our programs support common core standards and take an interdisciplinary approach to exploring life sciences.

ZooMobile and Close Encounters

For many Bay Area students, meeting a tortoise, snake, or chinchilla in their classroom can be the highlight of their school year! ZooMobile offers an up-close, hands-on experience with animals in the classroom. These programs, designed to complement your science curriculum, draw students into the wonders of nature while educating them about the animals who share their world. For those who prefer to come to the Zoo, Close Encounters offer the same lessons in our Zoo classrooms.

ZooMobile runs from September through mid-June each year. Each lesson can accommodate up to 35 students, and up to four presentations can be offered on a single day. All ZooMobile curriculum has recently been updated to align with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).


Lesson Topics:

Zig, Zag, Zoom! - Grades PreK and TK

Home Sweet Habitat - Grades K, 2, 3, 4, 5

How Animals Grow - Grades 1, 3, 4

Backbone Bingo - Grades 2, 3, 4, Middle School, High School

Climate Change Conundrum - Grades 3, 4, 5, Middle School, High School

Shifting the Balance - Grades 5, Middle School, High School

To view our ZooMobile program brochure with lesson descriptions, click here

Have a Question?
e-mail or call (415) 753-8123


To book a visit, e-mail or call (415) 753-8123.

SFUSD Schools: 

$140 (1 presentation)

$190 (2 presentations)

$250 (3 presentations)

$280 (4 presentations)

All other San Francisco Schools: 

$160, $210, $270, $300

**Schools outside of San Francisco are priced by distance. Please check the ZooMobile brochure or contact us to confirm pricing.

Close Encounters (at the Zoo): 

$90, $120, $170, $200

Biodiversity Basics

Enhance your middle school science curriculum with this three-part program, which brings biodiversity to life through a combination of classroom visits and a field trip to the Zoo.

Students explore the inter-connectedness of the natural world in three sessions. Zoo staff will introduce the concept of biodiversity in an interactive lesson in your classroom, take you on a tour of the Zoo after a Close Encounter with live animal ambassadors, and return to your classroom one last time to highlight illegal wildlife trade and engage your students in a discussion on how we all can work to preserve wild species.

Have a Question?
e-mail or call (415) 753-8123

Biodiversity Basics programs are available throughout the school year and include two visits to your science classroom with a third lesson at the San Francisco Zoo and Gardens.

Contact to book your Biodiversity Basics session today!

$300 per class

Docent-Guided Tours

Our docent guides lead educational walking tours for grades 1 and up for groups of 15 to 40 students plus chaperones. Tours are available during the months of September through March. If you are interested in adding a Docent Tour to your visit, please book the Tour at least 4 weeks in advance of your planned visit.

Tour topics include:
Amazing Adaptations (1.5 hours, best for grades 1-4, and 6)
African Animals (1.5 hours, best for grades 1,3,4, and 6)
Environments and Habitats (1.5 hours, best for grades 1-4, 6, and 7)
Primates (1 hour, best for grades 3,4,6,7, and 9-12)
Shifting the Balance (1.5 hours, best for grades 3,4,6,7, and 9-12)

Have a Question?
e-mail or call (415) 753-7122

E-mail or call (415) 753-7122 to schedule a docent-guided tour.

Free with $20 deposit.

Wild About Art and Science

Each fall, the San Francisco Zoo hosts a "Wild About Art and Science" contest for San Francisco Unified School District K-5 students. It is one of the many wonderful programs that the Zoo's Education Department provides for teachers which includes all the resources and materials. The goal of this program is to connect public school children to wild places and wild things through curriculum that combines art and science. The winners will have an all-expense-paid field trip to the Zoo that includes lunch, bus transportation, tours, admission and rides.

2015-16 Informational Flier

Have a Question? Send an e-mail to

Wild About Art and Science Resources:

Kindergarten Lesson and Fact Sheet

1st Grade Lesson and Fact Sheet

2nd Grade Lesson and Fact Sheet

3rd Grade Lesson and Fact Sheet

4th Grade Lesson and Fact Sheet

5th Grade Lesson and Fact Sheet

After School Programs Lesson and Fact Sheet

Annual Contest Information
Click here to view past winners.

Click here for color photos of the animals featured in the WAAS curriculum.

The lessons were created with the help of the California Department of Fish and Game's Atlas of the Biodiversity of California. For information on ordering a copy: 

Teacher Resources 

Making the most of your Zoo field trip, classroom biology lesson, or home-school project is easy with a variety of helpful in-class, pre-visit, visit, and post-visit educator guides and activities. View our teacher resources page here.