Enhance Your Trip to the Zoo with Educator's Resources
Lincoln Park Zoo educators have developed research-based curriculum materials to help support your visit to the zoo and extend the experience back into the classroom. We hope you find them helpful!
Zoo Links Curriculum Guides
Field trips are a great way for students to experience science beyond the classroom walls. These free zoo curriculum guides contain information about the zoo and our animals, detailed lesson plans and helpful hints to make your field trip the best it can be. Don’t feel you need to do all the activities for a field trip to be a success. Even one activity can enhance your experience! Click the covers below to see "Observe to Learn," "The Zoo And You," "Early Childhood Learning," "Creating Young Researchers" or "Urban Ecology."
Lincoln Park Zoo Accessibility Kits
Lincoln Park Zoo has partnered with The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP) and Have Dreams to develop social guides designed to help children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and other special needs smoothly navigate the zoo. These guides describe a situation, skill, or concept in terms of relevant social cues, perspectives, and common responses.
Lincoln Park Zoo Accessibility Binder Level 1 (2.6MB .PDF)
Lincoln Park Zoo Accessibility Binder Level 2 (2.6MB .PDF)
Lincoln Park Zoo Accessibility Binder Level 3 (2.4MB .PDF)
There’s a lot to see at Lincoln Park Zoo! To help guide your visit, we’ve created a number of thematic self-guided tours, Zoo Tracks, that are tied to the classroom curriculum and state science standards. Each Zoo Track highlights five animals at the zoo, providing background thematic information and suggesting questions to prompt active student discussion during your visit. Though designed for grades K–5, Zoo Tracks topics and questions are easily adaptable for other grade levels.
Everybody Eats (Click here for Spanish version)
Meet the Family (Click here for Spanish version)
Animals Alike and Different (Click here for Spanish version)
Built to Survive (Click here for Spanish version)
Sharing Space (Click here for Spanish version)
Urban Wildlife Watching (Click here for Spanish version)
Animal Care at the Zoo (Click here for Spanish version)
Researchers at Work (Click here for Spanish version)
Check back periodically for new installments of Zoo Tracks!
Let us know what you think! After using Zoo Tracks, please take this survey... we’d love to hear your thoughts!
Sometimes teachers are looking for a simple activity to use within a single exhibit space. Younger students can use the colorful Species Safari field guides to guide their experience as they match the animals they encounter with the colorful photos on their guide. Older students will enjoy sharing their answers to the open-ended questions with their peers.
Species Safari: Regenstein African Journey
This safari focuses on animals that are a little easier to find.
Species Safari: Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House
This safari will require more-careful observation in order to spot highlighted animals.
We’ve learned that technology can be a great tool to engage students. The zoo offers two specially created iPad applications that can be used by students to collect data on animals during zoo field trips, classroom visits and ongoing research at school. This technology allows students to share their work with peers and compare collected data in ways similar to those of professional field researchers.
Observe to Learn iPad App
Zoo educators from the created the Observe to Learn iPad application to facilitate animal behavior studies. This free app is specially designed to let learners of any age participate in independent research at a nearby park or their own backyard. The app provides descriptions and videos of common behaviors to help with data collection. When data collection is finished, the app produces a summary that can be sent to a provided email for use in the classroom or at home. The app’s design was based on tools and technology used by researchers at Lincoln Park Zoo.
Learn More About Observe to Learn and Download the App
Creating Young Researchers iPad App
Zoo educators created the Creating Young Researchers iPad application to facilitate ecological data collection and analysis. Available for free, the app provides animal descriptions and audio samples of vocalizations to help students identify species throughout the Chicago area. When data collection is finished, the app produces a summary that can be sent to a provided email for use in the classroom or at home. The app’s design was based on tools and technology used by researchers at Lincoln Park Zoo.
Creating Young Researchers iPad App
The zoo’s Creating Young Researchers iPad app is available as a free download through Apple’s iTunes Store. Learn more and download here.
EthoSearch is a website offering a wide range of scientifically vetted ethograms—tools to help study animal behavior. These ethograms can be used in a variety of educational programming in a classroom or on zoo grounds. Zoo staff developed these tools to align with both student and researcher needs.
Serving students from preK–eighth grade, this facilitated field trip program will introduce students to data-collection methods used by zoo scientists! Learn more about Zoo Explorers.