Schools on Safari Field Trip Packages

Registration for the 2020 Field Trip Season will begin on WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 22, 2020

Take your class on a field trip they are sure to love! Schools on Safari field trip packages are available late April through the month of May.

Your Schools on Safari package includes:

• A 30-minute live animal presentation on your choice of standards-based themes 

• Self-guided, self-paced tour of the Zoo’s educational exhibits, including the Wallaby Walkabout and Otter Creek ​​

• Specially designed resource materials to turn your field trip into an educational experience like none other ​

• Admission to the Zoo for all students, teachers and chaperones (up to 35 persons) is free

Other Details:

Duration: 30-minute presentation + as much time as you need for your self-guided tour

Available: Weekdays, April 21 - May 20, 2020 

2020 Program Fee: $4 per person (teacher + one additional adult per group are free) 

Your live animal presentation will feature up to 3 of the Zoo’s amazing Animal Ambassadors. Participants are encouraged, but never required, to touch the animals whenever it is safe and appropriate. Due to the volume of presentations that take place during this busy season, special requests for animal appearances are not permitted. Each presentation group may see a different set of animals. 

We require 2 adults per presentation group, which are free. All others are subject to the program fee of $4 per person.   **Per fire code, we can accommodate up to 30 students and 2 adults in our Savannah Classroom (or alternate combination to adhere to this occupancy maximum). Smaller groups may have additional scheduling options utilizing our Ocean Classroom, which can accommodate 23 students, plus 2 adults (or alternate combination to adhere to this occupancy maximum). The Zoo will schedule your group for the appropriate sized room based on the group size information you provide at the time of reservation. If more individuals report for a presentation than the occupancy maximum permits, those additional individuals will not be allowed to participate in the presentation and must wait outside of the classroom. 

Registration for the 2020 Schools on Safari program will begin January 22, 2020.

First-come, first-served for choice of dates. For fairness, no reservations will be taken prior to this date.

To reserve your date, contact the Zoo Education Department at on or after January 22 and provide the following information:

  • Your school or facility name
  • Name of Coordinating teacher
  • Grade level
  • Number of classes/sections you are bringing
  • Number of students per class
  • Your preferred field trip dates
  • Time frame you can be on site (earliest arrival and latest departure)

A field trip coordinator will respond to each inquiry in the order in which they are received...please be patient! Due to the volume of inquiries received, EMAIL INQUIRIES will be given priority on January 22nd. Phone inquiries will be accepted as staff becomes available, and voice messages returned as soon as possible. Capacity is limited, although we will do our best to accommodate as many groups as possible on their preferred dates.


2020 Presentation Themes:


Animals Up Close - PreK and Kindergarten

Students will meet a variety of live animals, exploring their special qualities, such as size, shape, color, body covering, and movement style.  The focus is on the emerging science skills of making observations, comparing/contrasting, and asking questions. (Sci K.3.2)

Animal Wrappers - Kindergarten and 1st Grade

Students will meet animals with different body coverings and structures, discussing how these features are advantageous in many ways, such as temperature regulation, camouflage, defense and display. (Sci K.3.2) (Sci 1.3.1)

A Habitat is Where It's At! - 1st grade

This program focuses on the concept of habitats and how animals' basic needs for food, water, shelter, and space are met within their natural environment.  (Sci 1.3.3, 1.3.4)

Growing Up Wild - 2nd and 3rd grade

This survey of life cycles in the animal and plant kingdoms features live animals and plant artifacts to explore topics such as animal and plant "babies", metamorphosis, juvenile adaptations, and parental care. (Sci 2.3.2) (Sci 3.3.1)

Survive and Thrive - 4th grade

This program focuses on animal adaptations as they relate to their natural environment.  By comparing closely-related species from very different habitats, we'll explore how variation in traits can allow an animal to thrive under specific environmental conditions, and how changes to the environment can affect animal survival.  Concepts such as sustainable use of resources and human impact on wildlife are also incorporated. (Sci 4.2.5, 4.2.6, 4.3.2, 4.3.4)

Web of Life - 5th grade

Students will explore the relationship between living things in an ecosystem, with a focus on energy transfer from producers to consumers and finally decomposers.  This program includes at least one Indiana native species. (Sci 5.3.1, 5.3.2)


Big changes are in store for Columbian Park in 2020! Please be aware of the following as you plan your spring field trip with us:

Construction on several big projects are happening throughout 2020, including the Loeb Stadium renovation, Memorial Island enhancement project, a new penguin exhibit, and the installation of a new Zoo carousel!  These projects may intermittently disrupt access to parking and/or footpaths and may limit or eliminate certain services for a portion of the year.  

At this time we anticipate the Columbian Park Express train ride will not operate for the duration of the 2020 Schools on Safari season.  Therefore this option has been removed from reservations for this year.  We hope to reinstate it in 2021! 

The penguin exhibit is anticipated to open in late spring/summer 2020, but a definitive debut date has not yet been determined.

Please be diligent in supervising children when near construction areas.  Adhere to designated paths and never cross construction barriers. 

We appreciate your patience as we grow!