For classrooms, organized groups and organizations
Offered to schools in King County (Grades 4-7)
Available: September through May - Monday through Friday
The Wild Wise program includes a high-impact multimedia indoor presentation and a hands-on inquiry based outdoor exploration. Students learn to hone their observation and investigation skills as they study and spend time in Washington habitats, including their own!
The Wild Wise indoor presentation showcases the amazing habitats of Washington and the animals which call them home. The program also focuses on skills used by professional biologists and naturalists. Students will receive a waterproof field journal and embark on a virtual field trip across Washington, learning how to identify and recognize native flora and fauna. In addition they’ll see what people are doing to protect our environment right here in Washington, and what they can do to help.
Although we strongly encourage groups to participate in an Outdoor Exploration as well, the indoor presentation can be booked alone.
Outdoor Explorations are intended to follow the indoor program and serve as an extension of the topics covered inside. Many of our Outdoor Explorations have been designed to give your students hands on experience with the topics in the new Washington Science Standards. Select one of the Outdoor Exploration opportunities below when booking your program.
One hour minimum is required for each outdoor exploration.
Group size per outdoor exploration is limited to one class per hour. Outdoor Explorations can take place at your schoolyard, a state park or any nearby open space. Wild Wise Outdoor Explorations are custom designed to meet your available time and transportation resources. Whatever works to get your students outside, exploring and learning!
Still have questions? Click here for Outdoor Exploration FAQs.
Outdoor Exploration Opportunities
Our Nature Explorations category contains activities that help your students explore the wonders of nature. This program will be custom created for you and your students. An instructor will contact you in advance of your date to help you select your activity choices.
Site Requirements: Dependent upon activity.
Group Size: 1 class, split in 2 groups.
Research Based Field Exploration
Wild Wise Naturalists will help your students investigate a testable question that they have asked about their local natural space. Students will be able to choose from scientific equipment such as thermometers, densiometers, and quadrats to help them investigate their questions. The Wild Wise Naturalists will demonstrate appropriate use of the equipment, and help guide the students through their investigations.
Site Requirements: An area with a variable natural landscape, i.e. shaded with trees vs. an open field.
Group Size: 1 class, split into 7 groups
Wild Wise Naturalists will guide your students in a pond study to test the properties of the water and hypothesize what invertebrates may be present within these conditions. Students will then use dip nets to collect aquatic invertebrates for investigation. Careful collecting guidelines will be covered, and all life found will be returned to the water at the end of the program.
Site Requirements: Pond/Wetland
Group Size: one class, split into 7 groups
Compass and GPS Use
Wild Wise Naturalists will teach your students how to define their physical location using compasses and GPS units, and discuss how these skills are important in the field of wildlife conservation. Students will learn basic compass skills and then use their new skills to compete against each other in a compass relay activity. During the GPS activity the students will learn basic use guidelines, and then use their GPS units during a treasure hunt.
Site Requirements: Schoolyard
Group Size: 1 class, split into 2 groups
Wild Wise Naturalists guide your students through beginning drawing exercises, as well as group and individual nature journaling activities. Nature journaling is a great way to improve your students’ observational skills, and inspire them to spend more time outside!
Site Requirements: An introduction can be done in any outdoor space. The full activity is best done in an area with abundant flora.
Group Size: 1 class
Native Legends and Ethnobotany
Wild Wise Naturalists will share native legends about the plants and the animals of our region with your students. Following the legends, Wild Wise Naturalists will point out some of the local plants used by these native cultures and discuss how the use of our resources has changed over time.
Site Requirements: A natural space on school grounds or nearby park.
Group Size: 1 class
Up CLOSE (Includes the former SOAR programs)
Offered to schools in King County (PreK-12)
Available: September through May - Tuesday Through Friday
Our newly expanded live animal outreach program, Up CLOSE, provides exciting and educational encounters with a wider variety of species right in your classroom! Choose from our longstanding bird of prey programs, or from our new reptile or arthropod programs. All programs are geared toward the specific age groups to which they are offered, and designed to support the science EALRs for those grades.
Up CLOSE programs always include a visit from a live animal to your classroom. To help you prepare your students for the classroom visit, you may choose to view or print portions of the teacher packet appropriate to your program (Raptors, Reptiles & Amphibians, or Amazing Arthropods).
Up CLOSE programs are approximately 45-55 minutes in length (shortened to match the attention span of very young audiences). Programs outside the regular days/dates or for evening or weekend events are available on a very limited basis.
(Grades PreK-12) Kits must be picked up and dropped off at the zoo’s Guest Services inside the South Entrance. $27.00 loan fee.
Teachers participating in an Up CLOSE program may also rent an Arthropod, Raptor, Owl or Reptile Discovery Kit for two weeks. Biological specimens may include: bones, skulls, feathers, skins, and mounted displays. Videos, books and current news articles are just a few of the additional items you will find in one of these kits.
Maximum 60 students per program
What Makes a “Bug?” (Grades PreK-1)
Every young child knows the word “bug,” but what sorts of animals might we include in that category? This program explores the world of arthropods – insects, spiders, millipedes, and more -- examining the characteristics that all species in the phylum share. Supports new science standards K-1 SYSA, LS1B, LS1D, and LS3C.
This Is Their Life: Arthropods (Grades 2-3)
Arthropods lead very different lives than our own, and in many cases, very different lives from one another. This program compares and contrasts the fascinating life cycles of different arthropod species. Supports new science standards 2-3 SYSE, and LS1B.
(Formerly called SOAR programs.)
Maximum 80 students per program (we strongly recommend no more than 60 for preschool and Kindergarten groups)
Owls: Who Are They? (Grades PreK-5/mixed-age groups)
Silent hunters of the night, owls loom large in the human imagination. But the reality of owls and their adaptations for nocturnal life are even more amazing! This program is unforgettable for its intended age group, but also easily adapted for mixed ages and general audiences. Supports new science standards K-1 SYSA, LS1B and LS1D; 2-3 SYSC and SYSE; 4-5 LS1B, and LS1C.
Raptor Ecology (Grades 4-12)
This program focuses on food webs, ecology, and the varied and important roles raptors play in ecological systems. Also discussed are threats to raptors, and how raptors are often key indicators of environmental health. Supports new science standards 4-5 LS2C through F; 6-8 LS2B, LS2D and LS2E.
Maximum 60 students per program
What Makes a Reptile? (Grades PreK-1)
Reptiles hold great fascination for people of all ages. This program uses that fascination to explore what all reptiles have in common, and what characteristics are used to divide them into their separate orders. Supports new science standards K-1 SYSA, LS1B, LS1D, and LS3C.
This Is Their Life: Reptiles (Grades 2-3)
Eating plants or eating animals, laying eggs or not laying eggs, growing up fast or growing up slowly, reptiles run the gamut of different ways of life. Engage your students’ interest in life cycles by introducing them to the astounding world of reptiles! Supports new science standards 2-3 SYSE, and LS1B.