Up Close



Up CLOSE is Woodland Park Zoo’s ambassador animal outreach program. Designed for various age groups, Up Close offers programming to schools or community organizations. These engaging indoor programs are designed to bring the zoo to you, get participants excited about the natural world, and build empathy towards animals.


Early Childhood Classes- Walkin' and Rollin'

Little Critters

Ages: Preschool - Kindergarten
Time: 30 minutes per program

All around the world, stories and fables of animals have helped us learn and grow. Designed to offer a simple introduction into biology as well as a lesson about life, Little Critters offers a puppet story about some of the amazing animal characters that populate our world. In addition to the story, participants will get to meet one of the zoo’s ambassador animals up close and learn about how they live.


Ocelot Paw

Wilderness Sleuths

Ages: Preschool - Kindergarten
Time: 30 minutes per program

This program focuses on the basics of scientific inquiry, questioning, and discovery. Presented with an unknown animal, participants must work together to learn the traits that help us classify and group animals.  Using our senses, we’ll observe naturalistic behaviors before comparing and contrasting our observations against other animals we may be more familiar with. The program concludes with a close look at some of our ambassador animals while learning about how scientists are still discovering new species of plants and animals almost daily! 


Early Childhood Classes- Walkin' and Rollin'

Animal Body Coverings: Do Snakes Wear Sweaters Too?

Ages: Preschool - 4th 
Time: 30 - 45 minutes per program

Why do animals look so different from one another and how do those differences help them survive? During this program we learn how animals have adapted to their environments to protect themselves. You will get the chance to touch and see interesting animal artifacts as well as meet a zoo ambassador animal to see their adaptations in action.


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Legend of Dragons

Ages: Preschool - 6th 
Time: 30 - 45 minutes per program

When you imagine a dragon, what do you see? This program provides context for the dragons we read about in fantasy stories and allows us to learn about the animals alive today who inspired those stories. We will explore the lives of reptiles, and then meet a zoo ambassador animal who knows firsthand what’s like to be a dragon.


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Reptiles Up CLOSE

Ages: Kindergarten - 3rd
Time: 45 minutes per program

From the array of colors in a chameleon to the indeterminate lifespan of a tortoise, reptiles have truly amazing adaptations. Built with the Next Generation Science Standards in mind, we learn about what makes a reptile a reptile, how they use the environment they live in to meet their needs, and how those very same environments have shaped their lives. A pair of zoo ambassador animals will help illustrate the vast array of tools reptiles use to survive and thrive.


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Arthropods Up CLOSE

Ages: Kindergarten - 3rd
Time: 45 minutes per program

From deep oceans, to freezing waters of the arctic, to the highest mountain peaks, and even our own homes, there is no environment on earth where arthropods can’t be found. Crustaceans, insects, and arachnids: these animals make up the majority of species on our planet but still we know so very little about their lives. Built with the Next Generation Science Standards in mind, this program examines the modifications and tools used by arthropods to survive within the varied environments of our planet. Two arthropod ambassador species from the zoo will help us show that no matter where or what they are, arthropods have tools to help them survive and thrive.


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Ecosystem Explorers

Ages: 3rd - 5th 
Time: 60 minutes per program

Wetland ecosystems are some of the most diverse places on the planet. Locally and globally, people are working hard to protect and maintain these habitats. In this program, students will study the challenges facing wildlife and the solutions scientists are using, and through their own investigation come up with a few solutions of their own! Participants will get a chance to meet an animal that zoos around the world are working hard to protect. 


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The Wild City: Urban Wildlife

Ages: Elementary - High School
Time: 30 - 45 minutes per program

Pigeons, Crows, and Squirrels Oh My! Sometimes all it takes to see a wild animal is a little bit of patience and a keen eye. Urban wildlife is all around, and this program encourages you to appreciate the wildness of the city. Woodland Park Zoo will help you refine your ability to detect a critter’s presence, theorize what they might have been doing, and record your observations in your very own field journal. You’ll get to practice your observational skills with a zoo ambassador animal too!


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Take Action for Wildlife

Ages: Middle - High School
Time: 45-60 minutes per program

Wish helping wildlife was as easy as walking outdoors or looking at pictures? It is! Participatory science is a great way for everyone to get involved in research and the conservation of wild animals and their ecosystems. Woodland Park Zoo will share what everyday people are doing and how easy it is to help. You will also get a chance to meet a zoo ambassador animal who might inspire you to become a participatory scientist, too!


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Pollinators: Little Animals, Big Job

Ages: All Ages
Time: 30 - 45 minutes per program

What do almonds, mangoes, and apples have in common? Pollinators! These mighty animals are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat. Woodland park Zoo and a special animal guest will show you the inside world of some of the planet’s most amazing animals.


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Ambassador Animals at Education Events

Up CLOSE can also bring ambassador animals to your community’s educational events or science nights.  If you are interested in having zoo staff participate in your event by bringing an ambassador animal, as well as other zoo artifacts, please contact us.




Up CLOSE programs are $170 for the first program, and $115 for each additional program per day. A $30 non-refundable deposit is required to book an Up CLOSE program.  Remaining balance (full payment) must be received by the zoo a minimum of three (3) weeks in advance of the confirmed program date.

Please click on the blue register button below for the Up CLOSE registration form. 



Subsidized Programming

We are happy to offer subsidized funding for these programs to organizations and schools that serve a low-income population. 

Eligible Groups

  • Schools (PreK-12) with 30% or more of thier students receiving free or reduced-rate lunches, or a comparable level of scholarship per OSPI
  • Seattle Preschool Programs, Headstart and ECEAP groups
  • Non-profit organizations that serve low-income population

If your group is elegible for our subsidized funding, please click here to download our registration form.

Cancellation Policy

For Up CLOSE programs three (3) weeks notice of cancellation is required for a credit or refund. Three (3) weeks notice is also required for change of program date. Final payment for your group must be received by the zoo a minimum of three (3) weeks prior to your Up CLOSE date.



If you cannot find the answers to your questions or need additional help please contact the School Registrar at 206.548.2424 x2 or send an email.

Our Mission

Woodland Park Zoo saves animals and their habitats through conservation leadership and engaging experiences, inspiring people to learn, care and act.


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Association of Zoos & Aquariums

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5500 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98103   |  206.548.2500  |   zooinfo@zoo.org