girl pets chicken held by zookeeper

Take your students on an educational field trip they are sure to enjoy.

School & Group Programs

Let the area’s best zoo provide an unforgettable learning experience for you.

Cosley Zoo education programs support many Illinois State Learning Standards for children ages 3 and over. Cosley Zoo staff is experienced in working with a wide variety of ages and groups with special needs. Program material is adjusted to be age-appropriate for your group. We look forward to being part of a memorable learning experience.

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Cosley Zoo is home to more than 50 species of animals, each with a unique story to tell! Zoo-m with a zoo instructor and one of our animal ambassadors to learn more about the animal’s natural history, fun facts, and more! Zoo-m Animal Chat species include a Hahn’s macaw, Madagascar hissing cockroach, walking stick, tarantula, rabbit, chicken, hedgehog, snake, turtle, skink, or millipede.*

Audience: Grades K -adult

Participants: Maximum of 30 participants/30 individual logins

Length: 15 minutes

Fee: $85 per presentation or $225 for a series of 3 presentations (must make all reservations at the same time)

*We are happy to take requests for specific animals; however, we cannot guarantee the availability of a particular animal on the day of the presentation, and occasionally substitutions may be necessary.

Looking to add a little adventure to your classroom curriculum? Invite a zoo instructor and three of Cosley Zoo’s animal residents to your classroom (virtually!) for a wildly educational program. Choose from a wide range of topics or ask us to customize a topic to suit your curriculum needs or interests.

Audience: Grades K -adult

Participants: Maximum of 30 participants/30 individual logins

Length: 30 minutes

Fee: $175

Program Topics:

  • Fur and Feathers
  • Critter Class
  • Gone Buggy
  • No Bones About It
  • Home Sweet Habitat
  • Who’s Who
  • Reptiles

Other program topics can be custom created to meet the needs of your group.

Allow a zoo instructor and one of our animal ambassadors to introduce your students to the practice of biomimicry or habitat design. To wrap up the program, the zoo instructor presents students with a PBL project* that challenges them to design a real-world solution to a problem related to either biomimicry or habitat design.

*Project to be completed outside of the zoo’s virtual presentation.

Audience: Grades K & up

Participants: Maximum of 30 participants/30 individual logins

Length: 30 minutes

Fee: $175

Want extra time for questions or the opportunity for students to present their projects to an expert?
Our education department is happy to help! Fee: $100 per hour

Program Topics:

  • Biomimicry (2nd grade and up)
  • Habitat Design (K and up)

Bring Cosley Zoo to your audience with a prerecorded Zoo to You presentation. Our professional zoo educator will record a program on a topic of your choosing which includes up-close encounters with three of our ambassador animals. Virtual Zoo to You programs are great for large audiences or evening presentations. You will have access to the video link for 48 hours to distribute or show as you choose.

Audience: Early childhood-adult

Length: 20 minutes

Fee: $225.00 for custom introduction and prerecorded video; $300.00 for custom introduction and Q&A

Program Topics:

  • Fur and Feathers
  • Critter Class
  • Gone Buggy
  • No Bones About It
  • Home Sweet Habitat
  • Who’s Who
  • Reptiles

Other program topics can be custom created to meet the needs of your group.

A trip to Cosley Zoo will offer an unequaled experience as your group participates in an educational, fun, and interactive program featuring several live animal ambassadors. Programs cover a variety of topics and are available year-round.

Audience: Ages 3-adult

Participants: Maximum of 20 individuals

Length: 30 minutes

Fee: $5.95/participant (a minimum of 12 participants per program or $71.40); 1 adult for every 10 children is free.  Additional adults are $9.35 each (includes processing fee).

Program Topics:

  • Fur and Feathers
  • Critter Class
  • Gone Buggy
  • No Bones About It
  • Home Sweet Habitat
  • Who’s Who
  • Reptiles

Other program topics can be custom-created to meet the needs of your group.

Can’t come to the zoo? Let us come to you! A Cosley Zoo educator and live animal ambassadors will present a dynamic, one-of-a-kind program right in your classroom or multi-purpose room with our Zoo to You program.

Audience: Ages 3-adult

Participants: Maximum of 30 individuals

Length: 45 minutes

Fee: $175.00 plus travel fee; multiple programs scheduled to take place on the same day may be eligible for a discount.

Travel Fee

  • 0-5 miles = no additional fee
  • 6-10 miles = $20 additional fee
  • 11-20 miles = $40 additional fee
  • 20+ miles = fee determined on a case-by-case basis

Program Topic Descriptions

Introduce your students to the different body coverings found on animals. In this class, they’ll see examples of feathers, fur, and scales and identify their functions.

What makes a mammal a mammal, a bird a bird, or a reptile a reptile? Students learn the criteria that help us place animals in their proper classification or group.

What has three body parts, six legs, two antennae and sometimes wings? Insects! Learn basic insect characteristics and much more.

Which animals have bones and which do not? This program focuses on the differences between invertebrates and vertebrates.

Why do some birds have webbed feet? How can some animals live in the mountains? Learn about animals’ special features, their habitats, and their conservation.

Is the animal a predator, scavenger, decomposer, or prey? Find out about the important role animals play in their environments and in each other’s lives.

Learn more about the characteristics of these scaly creatures.

Reservations

A minimum two-week advance notice is required for scheduling a program. Earlier registration is recommended. Scheduling is on a first-come, first-served basis. Live virtual programs can be scheduled to begin between 9A-3P, seven days a week.

When making your group reservation, please have the following information available:

  • Group contact information
  • Type of program you would like to reserve
  • Date(s) of program. Please have an alternate date in case your first choice is not available.
  • Time(s) of program
  • Number of individuals (children and adults)
  • Age/grade of participants
  • Any special needs or accommodations
  • The program topic you would like for your group

For more information or to make reservations, please call 630.665.5534 or e-mail education@cosleyzoo.org. Once you have made your reservation, confirmation material will be sent to you. Review it carefully and verify that all the information is correct. Call us as soon as possible with any corrections or changes to your reservation.

Payment & Cancellation

  • Payment is due two weeks prior to your program date. To pay by credit card (Visa, Discover, or MasterCard) please call 630.665.5534. Please make checks payable to Cosley Zoo and mail to Cosley Zoo, 1356 N. Gary Ave., Wheaton, IL 60187, Attn: Education.
  • Final headcount (children and adults) must be provided two weeks prior to your program. Refunds for on-site programs will not be given for a decrease in group size made less than two weeks before your scheduled program. Due to capacity limits, an increase in the number of participants may not be able to be accommodated. It is not recommended that siblings attend the program. Any siblings ages three and over need to be included in the final participant count and will be charged the program fee.
  • Cancellations made with at least a two-week notice will receive a full refund less a $20 processing fee. Cancellations made between two weeks and 24 hours prior to the program will receive a 50% refund. Cancellations made less than 24 hours prior to the program will not receive a refund.
  • In-person programs are held rain or shine. Refunds will not be given for weather-related cancellations. In the case of extreme weather, where participant safety is a concern, staff will work with you to schedule another date. If your group is unable to reschedule, the normal cancellation policy applies.

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